Lutherans coast-to-coast are responding to Americans facing poverty at levels not seen since the Great Depression. We are bent over sinks at crowded meal sites and tugging out produce from once-fallow fields. We are hunched at computers helping with résumés, and slapping down more shelter mats.
Between 2000 and 2010, 15 million Americans tumbled from prosperity into poverty, pushing the total to 46 million people, or 15 percent of the population, says the U.S. Census. One in six (49 million people) went hungry in 2010.
|Rhiannon Merculief, 10, awaits dinner guests at Kids in the Kitchen, a ministry of Table of Grace Lutheran Church, Bethel, Alaska.|
Today, 12 million Americans still can't find work. Seven million homes are mired in foreclosures.
Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, said he is grateful for Lutherans' stepped-up response. He called for strengthened advocacy and ecumenical partnership in a historic time of need. "We have a greater capacity when we work together than when we work alone in our individual congregations," he said.
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