High rates of hunger and poverty are a persistent problem in the City of Philadelphia. Twenty-seven percent of Philadelphians live below the poverty line, and 1 out of every 3 children lives in poverty. In total, there are about 336,000 people in Philadelphia who regularly experience hunger and food insecurity.
As Christians, Jesus calls to feed the hungry, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. The problem just feels too big and too overwhelming. How can anyone even make a dent?
St. Peter’s responds to the hunger epidemic facing our city through the vital work of our Food Cupboard. As we undertake the week-to-week work of operating the Food Cupboard, it can become easy to forget that our ultimate goal is for the Cupboard to “go out of business.” Examining the root causes of hunger, as well as hunger’s profound impact both on individuals and on our society, can be a painful process. But if we seek not only to feed the hungry but also to understand why so many of our neighbors are struggling to feed themselves, we must look even more closely.
For several weeks in September and October, then, Faith Matters (our 10 AM Sunday Adult Education Forum) will be focused on an array of issues relating to the hunger crisis in our community. Come learn from some wonderful guest speakers and explore how you might get involved in making a difference. More information on each session can be found below.
In addition to opportunities to learn more about hunger, we’ll be seeking to raise awareness in other ways, too. Starting in early September, when you pass through the Pine Street gate, you’ll find yourself walking under a canopy of forks. There will be 774 forks overhead, each one representing 100 hungry children in Philadelphia. We’re installing this temporary installation to help all of us focus our minds and hearts on how we can act collectively to make a real impact on hunger in our community.
One way that we can all begin to make an impact is to take some time to serve at the St. Peter’s Food Cupboard. This year, we’re inviting every member of St. Peter’s to consider serving at the Cupboard on at least one Saturday morning (from 8-10 AM), and we’re calling this campaign EveryOne EveryYear. We think it’s important for each and every member of St. Peter’s to experience the work of the Cupboard first-hand and to get to know the diverse range of people that our Cupboard serves. There are tasks for every age group (children are most welcome when accompanied by parents) and physical ability, and no previous experience is required – training is provided on-the-job. There will be opportunities to sign-up to serve at the Cupboard through the EveryOne EveryYear campaign after worship throughout the month of September, or your can sign-up online, here.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to learn, serve, and pray. Working together, with God’s help, we can make a difference!
Faith Matters: A Series On Hunger
September 25 – Hunger in the Bible: The Rev. Dr. Bob Robinson, Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, will speak about the Old Testament’s notion of covenant and how it relates to our Christian calling to care for the needs of our hungry neighbors.
October 2 – Hunger in Philadelphia: Glenn Bergman, CEO of Philabundance (the agency that supplies much of the food we distribute through our Cupboard), will speak about hunger issues facing the greater Philadelphia region and how Philabundance is working to end hunger in our city.
October 9 – Hunger and Our Food System: The Rev. Nurya Love Parish, an Episcopal priest and founder of Plainsong Farm in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will speak about re-imagining our food systems, reinvigorating local farming, and discerning God’s call to shift how we grow and get our food toward a more sustainable model. We are grateful to be able to bring Nurya to St. Peter’s in collaboration with the Philadelphia Theological Institute. She will also be offering as session on Saturday Oct. 8. Place and time are TBD.
October 16 – 10 AM Worship Service, followed by Parish Meeting. No Faith Matters.
October 23 – Feeding the Hungry: St. Peter’s Food Cupboard and Broad Street Ministry: The Rev. Andy Greenhow, Minister of Stewardship, Congregational Partnership, and Belonging at Broad Street Ministry, and Kat Dunne, Manager of the St. Peter’s Food Cupboard, will speak about the opportunities and challenges facing their ministries. Broad Street Ministry serves 1,200 hot meals per week, and St. Peter’s Food Cupboard provides groceries for about 150 families each week. Come learn how it all works and how you can play a role in feeding our hungry neighbors!