• Every day almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes—one child every five seconds.
• 854 million people are hungry.
• In developing nations, one person in six goes hungry and lacks safe drinking water.
• Nearly 36 million Americans—including more than 12 million children—live in households that experience hunger. This represents more than one in 10 households in the U.S.
• In 2006, 26.7 million people participated in the food stamp program each month (8.6 percent of the U.S. population).
• The wealthiest fifth of the world’s people consumes 86 percent of all goods and services, while the poorest fifth consumes 1 percent.
• Learn more about hunger through the ELCA World Hunger Program and Lutheran World Relief’s Virtual University (a monthly online class) and study visits.
• Take the ELCA World Hunger Appeal $5 Challenge. If every baptized ELCA member gave $5 to the appeal, a $25 million goal will be reached.
• Give to Stand With Africa to assist communities and churches in their work to overcome HIV/AIDS, banish hunger and build peace.
• Join the ELCA e-advocacy network to take action on social policy issues related to domestic and international hunger, poverty and the environment.
• Use the ELCA Good Gifts catalog for alternative gift suggestions related to water, agriculture, women and children, training and education, health care and other issues.
• Participate in Bread for the World’s Offering of Letters campaign, March through August 2008, to advocate for more funding for foreign aid programs and for passage of the Global Poverty Act (800-82-BREAD).
• Take the Food Stamp Challenge to better understand the challenge that millions of low-income Americans face in obtaining a healthy diet on the national average food stamp benefit of $1 per person, per meal.
• Join the One Campaign to fight global poverty, hunger and disease.
• Participate in a CROP walk to raise money for local and international hunger projects.
• Learn about the connection between lifestyle and hunger—how to simplify your lifestyle, “challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly” (Alternatives for Simple Living, 800-821-6153).
• Purchase fair-trade items, such as coffee, chocolate and handcrafts.
• Participate in the “Souper Bowl of Caring” on the same Sunday as the NFL’s Super Bowl (Feb. 3 this year). Collect money and/or cans of food to support local, national and international anti-hunger efforts.
• Consider holding a world hunger appeal emphasis on a Sunday close to World Food Day, Oct. 16.
In the past, Lutherans have proposed that the ELCA declare ending world hunger a "core conviction" or a status confessionis of the ELCA — stronger language than what was used in a 2005 memorial. Approved at the 2005 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the memorial included the statement: "By establishing the World Hunger Program, the ELCA made a core theological and ethical commitment to bringing the scandal of hunger to an end." In addition, the memorial resolved "to confront the scandal of hunger in this world as a core dimension of living out the Christian faith."
That language differed from a proposal made by 17 ELCA synods that year to declare ending world hunger a core conviction of the ELCA. "The feeling was there was no common understanding of the language ‘core conviction' and it could begin a process whereby any number of causes could be called a core conviction," said Leslie Weber Jr., associate executive director of ELCA Church in Society. "It also was felt that in the end, the declaration of a core conviction would not strengthen the ELCA's already strong commitment to hunger. Declaring a core conviction or status confessionis would be confusing and historically inaccurate for this case."
Status confessionis refers to a situation (status) in which the church declares that a particular reality threatens the truth of the gospel, meaning that people are denied hearing the word and receiving the sacraments, Weber said. "As terrible as hunger is to the person who is hungry, as repugnant to Christians as it is, and as counter to how Christ wishes us to care for the neighbor, hunger by itself does not prevent people from hearing or receiving the gospel," he said.
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© 2015 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers