The COVID-19 pandemic intensified the urgency of addressing hunger. Food pantries in the U.S. reported an average increase of 40% in the number of people served as the economic impact of the pandemic caused more people to seek emergency food relief. While these numbers have declined recently as the economy “re-opened” and people received federal aid, many still struggle to put food on the table. Globally, the World Food Program is warning that the goal to end world hunger by 2030 has been set back by decades because of the pandemic, and millions are facing starvation. Along the ELCA World Hunger network, the MNYS Hunger Committee remains firm in our commitment to God’s call to share our bread with the hungry and to work for food justice until all are fed.
Like so many others during the pandemic, the committee entered the “Zoom Age.” We are grateful to our Synod for providing us with a Zoom account so that we could continue our work. One of our tasks is to review ELCA World Hunger Domestic Hunger Grant applications from our Synod. (The new grant process, implemented three years ago, offers more funding per grant than previous grants, which has also made this a much more competitive process. About 20% of applicants receive grants.) Synod review teams read each application, have a ministry conversation/visit with each applicant, and then send a report to the award table at Churchwide, which makes the final determination. The Domestic Hunger Grant recipients in MNYS are:
- Advent, Manhattan (2019-2021)
- Trinity Place Shelter, Trinity of Manhattan and Seafarers International House (2020-2022)
- Early LIFE Garden Initiative-LSSNY (2021-2023)
Congregational hunger ministries were also able to qualify for $500 in matching Daily Bread Grants through ELCA World Hunger. The MNYS congregations who received them in 2020-2021 are:
- Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Huntington Station
- Advent, Manhattan
- Atonement East Elmhurst
- St Luke’s, New Rochelle
- St Peter’s, Manhattan
- Trinity Lower Eastside
We ask God’s blessings on all of these ministries which address the root causes of hunger as well as meet immediate needs.
Via Zoom we were also able to participate in ELCA World Hunger events including participating a virtual ELCA World Hunger Leadership Gathering, which allowed more of us to attend from MNYS than if it had been on-site event.