Many churches highlight feeding ministries and fighting hunger as one of their most important and holy missions, taking very seriously the call of Jesus to feed his sheep, as he commands Peter in John’s Gospel. We also know that Jesus said when we clothe, feed, visit and welcome the least of these we are doing it unto him. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, we have to make a difficult choice — do we feed more people or do we provide higher quality food? Often when we donate to food pantries, it is a last minute grab from the back of our own cupboard, maybe something that is almost expired or we don’t want to eat anyway. Is this how we give to the least of these? Is this how we would give if we were really giving unto Christ?
If you are interested in talking more about these tensions in giving and issues around access to healthy food, please join Partners in Health and Wholeness and the Partnership for Community Care for “Healthy Food Pantries: How to Donate to and Create Healthy Food Pantries to Build a Healthy Community” at 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 22 at Starmount Presbyterian Church in Greensboro. Lunch will be provided.
Food insecurity (limited access to nutritionally adequate foods) and chronic disease are strongly related. In North Carolina, almost one in five residents were food insecure last year and one in six Guilford County residents seeks food assistance weekly. Many food-pantry users are at-risk for or have been diagnosed with a chronic disease. In addition, they are often deficient in many disease-fighting nutrients. Research indicates that there is a need and desire for healthier foods and nutrition education in food assistance programs. Partnership for Community Care dietitian Sheri Vettel MPH, RD, LDN will be discussing this troubling combination of food insecurity and chronic disease in North Carolina and how the Partnership (P4CC) is working to address the problem through its Partnership Pantry Healthy Food Bank Program. In addition, she will be providing information on how community members may assist Partnership Pantry efforts and how current food pantries can develop their own healthy food packages for individuals with a chronic disease in need. When we give, let’s give our best, even while we work to establish a food system that promotes equal access to healthy food for all.
Please register online to attend and contact Shannon Axtell Martin 336-912-0976 with any questions.
–Shannon Axtell Martin, PHW Regional Consultant
Partners in Health and Wholeness is an initiative of the North Carolina Council of Churches. PHW aims to connect health as a faith issue. Please visit our website to sign your personal pledge to be healthier, and to find out about grant opportunities for places of worship in NC.