United Methodist Men promote hunger awareness|
Members of United Methodist Men gather and sort through 38,000 pounds of potatoes for distribution to Indiana food banks. A UMNS photo by Matt Oates.
By J. Richard Peck*
Feb. 6, 2007 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)
United Methodist Men are asking families to fast one meal during the first week of June and donate the cost of the meal to feed the hungry.
The denominational men's organization also encourages all churches to use June 3 or June 10 as Hunger Awareness Sunday and to send donations to its hunger relief office in Nashville.
The activities are part of an initiative called "FAM1LY," which stands for "fast a meal in 1 year." The drive is sponsored jointly by the National Association of Conference Presidents of United Methodist Men and the Virginia-based Society of St. Andrew, an ecumenical hunger relief organization.
The presidents voted unanimously last year to sponsor the initiative this June and invite other United Methodist agencies and other faith communities to join in.
For Hunger Awareness Sunday, church leaders can find Sunday school lessons and worship materials at www.endhunger.org/nhad, and individuals may download a Fami1y brochure at nacpumm.org. Printed brochures are available through the denomination's Commission on United Methodist Men or through the annual conference hunger relief advocates.
National Hunger Awareness Day, designated for June 5, was created in 2002 when hunger relief organizations faced increased demand from Americans unable to feed their families at the same time that less surplus food and fewer charitable dollars were available.
The need to increase Americans' awareness of hunger issues is just as critical today. Six million children are expected to die in 2007 as the result of hunger and malnutrition, according to hunger relief advocates.
"Hunger is one of the most long-lived social problems facing the United States today," said the Rev. Kenneth Horne, executive director of the Society of St. Andrew. "It is also the greatest opportunity we will have to transform our world into the kind of place God wants it to be.
"Contrary to conventional wisdom, of all our social problems, hunger is the most easily remedied."
The Society of St. Andrew is an Advance special (#801600) of the United Methodist Church's second-mile giving program. It has distributed more than 500 million pounds of food since its founding in 1979. Last year, United Methodist men's organizations gave $211,000 to the cause - not counting a large number of gleaning projects and "potato drops" also sponsored by the men's groups. Each year, the society saves 25-40 million pounds of fresh produce that provides 75-120 million servings of nourishing food delivered to hungry people in the 48 contiguous states.
Donations for Hunger Awareness Sunday can be sent to the Hunger Relief Advocate, General Commission on United Methodist Men, P.O. Box 340006, Nashville, TN 37203-0006. Write "Fami1y" in the memo section of the check.
*Peck is the communications coordinator for the General Commission on United Methodist Men.
News media contact: Linda Green, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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