Feeding the Hungry

Page updated 21 October 2020

October 16 is World Food Day. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) has designated the week of October 11-18 as a Food Week of Action. See below for ways to be involved in feeding the hungry.

We are a Matthew 25 church. Matthew 25:31–46 calls us to engage actively in the world, so our faith comes alive and we wake up to new possibilities. The 2016 and 2018 General Assemblies exhorted the PC(USA) to act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned, or poor. Learn more about the Matthew 25 initiative by clicking on the logo.

Matthew 25 logo - stylized people joined in circle

Bread for the World is a Christian organization urging our nation’s decision-makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Churches and charities alone can’t end hunger; our government must also do its part. By clicking on the Bread for the World logo, you can send a personalized email to your representatives and senators urging them, in response to Covid-19 economic disruptions, to boost Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) benefits by 15% to ensure that vulnerable populations in the US have access to the food they need. A template with specific wording is provided which you can edit to personalize. Filling in your name and address in the form automatically addresses the letter to your representatives; you don’t have to fill in their names. You’ll need to have your full 9-digit ZIP code (e.g., 01803-2345) because zip codes can be split between more than one congressional district. You can look up your 9-digit ZIP code here.

Stylized fish and bread logo for the Bread for the World organization

Our congregation is a strong supporter of People Helping People (PHP), which sponsors the Burlington Food Pantry operated out of St. Mark’s Church. The pantry serves between 150 to 200 Burlington families per month, or around 550 people, there has been a 30% increase in food requests due to COVID-19. Of those served, 40 percent are children and 15 percent are seniors. You can learn more about the Food Pantry and donate to PHP by clicking on the logo

Burlington People Helping People Logo - helping Burlington MA residents in need.

In this video, Jane McIninch, Burlington Food Pantry Co-coordinator and a member of our congregation, discusses the Pantry, and efforts to keep everyone safe, program modifications, and fundraising efforts in response to COVID-19.

Thanksgiving Food Drive
Image with information on the Thanksgiving food drive; details provided in text below

We support the Burlington Food Pantry, with a monthly, contact-free, drive-by food collection in our parking lot the first Saturday of each month from 9-11 am. The next collection will be Saturday, November 7. The November collection is specifically for items to stock Thanksgiving meal baskets for distribution the week before Thanksgiving Day. We’ll have a future update on what’s most needed but here are some of the usual staple items:

  • Stuffing bags or boxes
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Cornbread Mix
  • Gravy
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chicken Broth
  • Canned Corn

Please only donate NON-PERISHABLE items that are not expired or opened. Fresh produce and turkeys will be provided by People Helping People.

Other Local, Regional & International Opportunities

The Dwelling Place is a soup kitchen in Woburn center at the United Methodist Church, 523 Main Street. Free hot dinners are prepared by members of local churches and organizations for individuals and families in need. Dinner is served three nights a week and everyone is welcome. If you have a PayPal account, you can donate by clicking on the Dwelling Place logo.

Steaming bowl of soup; logo for the Dwelling Place in Woburn; link directs to PayPal donation site

The Greater Boston Food Bank works passionately to end hunger across Eastern Massachusetts by providing neighbors in need healthy food and resources they need to thrive. Learn more about their work, with an opportunity to give, by clicking on their logo.

Stylized wheat logo for Greater Boston Food Bank

The Women’s Lunch Place, housed at Church of the Covenant in downtown Boston opened its doors in 1982 to serve women a hot lunch in a safe welcoming place. They’ve grown into a vibrant, supportive day community open six days a week serving breakfasts and lunches, and providing other basic necessities and services that help restore dignity and hope. Last year they prepared and served 104,715 meals to over 1,500 women. Learn more about their work, with an opportunity to give, by clicking on their logo.

The Boston Food Justice Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) Program is a host site for the national Presbyterian Mission Agency Young Adult Volunteer program. Young adults volunteer for a year of service, learning, and community living with opportunities to deepen their faith, reflect on their vocational journeys, and learn how to apply their faith to issues of injustice in the communities where they serve. The Boston site focuses on food justice, simple living, and environmental sustainability. Each YAV is matched with a Boston-area Presbyterian church and a partnering community organization (food pantry, day shelter, garden, farm, etc.) where they serve around the common goal of food justice for all. Over the past several years our congregation has sponsored three Young Adult Volunteers. You can learn more about the YAV program and donate your support by clicking on the link above.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is a humanitarian organization delivering emergency food assistance and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. For its efforts to combat hunger and preventing the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict, WFP was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2019, WFP assisted 97 million people in 88 countries. Two-thirds of their work is in conflict-affected countries where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict. Every year the WFP distributes more than 15 billion rations at a cost of about $0.61 per ration.

You can find 100 Bible verses about feeding the hungry at the Open Bible website.

Picture of an open Bible

In our commitment as a Presbyterian Hunger Action Congregation our congregation previously studied “Just Eating? Practicing Our Faith at the Table,” a 7-session curriculum exploring the way we eat and the way we live. The study (published by the Presbyterian Hunger Program) uses scripture, prayer, and stories from the local and global community to explore our relationship with food. You can download a copy of the study here.

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