Exploring Racial Equity, Food Justice to Fight Hunger

February 20, 2023 | | Racial Justice, Journey of Hope, GNJ News

While so many churches and agencies are striving to help feed their communities in this high-inflation economy, three GNJ churches will take the next step in learning to fight the injustice of hunger. They hope other churches will join them.

Kayann Foster of CUMAC ECHO.

Denville Community Church (UMC) will host a Social Principles Initiatives Workshop focused on advocating for “food justice” March 25, from 9:00 AM to 12 noon, in partnership with Sparta UMC and Trinity UMC in Hackettstown. Leaders of the three churches welcome all to come hear Kayann Foster, Community Engagement Coordinator of the Center of United Methodist Aid to the Community/ Ecumenically Concerned Helping Others. CUMAC/ECHO, in Paterson, runs Passaic County’s largest food pantry and other programs
dedicated to alleviating hunger and poverty.

With the theme “Visions of Abundance: Food Justice, Racial Equity and Liberative Mission,” the workshop will be the first in a series of events funded by a GNJ Congregational Development grant. The series will offer research and resources based on “a theology of  abundance and a common table.”

Can we do more than just food pantries?

“Our churches value food accessibility, and many of them host or support growing food pantries with compassion and love,” said organizers. “But hunger and the lack of affordability and availability of good food is a reality for so many. Is there something more we can
do together?”

One goal is for churches to learn together about food access and delivery, racial equity and how to pursue food justice for all. The March 25 workshop will address racial injustice and historical policies and practices related to the prevalence of widespread hunger. Participants will learn how to respond more effectively by extending their ministries of mercy to advocacy for justice.

The Congregational Development grant will also fund a related 6-8-week small-group study intended for the fall. Grant information will be available in May for churches to review.

In late November churches and individuals who complete the study and want to learn more about advocating for public policy will be offered a subsidized visit to the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society in Washington DC. There they can learn about laws and policies that they can affect, as they get a chance to speak with their leaders in Congress.