Enough Food for All (EFFA) Updates
By The Working Groups of the EFFA Initiative
Enough Food for All (EFFA) is our Southeastern Minnesota Synod’s initiative to end food insecurity in Southeastern Minnesota by 2020. We believe Jesus is the bread of life, and we take seriously his invitation to provide food and drink for those in need. Our hope is to partner with other agencies, congregations, non-profits, and religious organizations to eradicate hunger in our region. Over the past year, four different working groups have been formed to address different aspects of food insecurity. Below are updates from each of these teams.
Healthy Food: Ending food insecurity in this synod will take more than a Lutheran effort! With a goal of ensuring that foods abound in nutrition, this task force is partnering with the State Health Improvement Program (SHIP). Every county has a SHIP coordinator (often affiliated with Public Health offices). Providing healthy foods is a cornerstone of that program! With spring coming, congregations are utilizing resources and expertise from SHIP to start community gardens on their property. Local food shelves will soon abound in fresh produce! To find the SHIP coordinator in your area, go to http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/oshii/ship/communities/.
Building Bridges – Making Connections through Food: Often when we think of hunger our minds think of starving children in Africa or people in the inner city of Minneapolis who struggle to put food on the table. This taskforce is working to help us see that hunger isn’t only an ‘over there’ issue. It’s right in our backyards. At the Synod Assembly posters will be provided showing the number of food insecure people (per county) in our synod. Be sure to pick one up and display it for your congregation, then pray about ways that you can reach out to your neighbors to provide a good meal.
Advocacy: The mission of the Advocacy working group is to educate members of congregations of our synod about hunger and its systemic causes, and to gather advocates to counter those systemic causes. Members of our working group recently attended the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition’s “Day on the Hill” in St. Paul, MN to bring concerns about poverty and working families to our state legislators. We are planning a future workshop for members of our synod to learn more about food insecurity and opportunities for action about this concern.
Hands On: The Hands-On working group has been busy focusing on being the conduit between the churches and the synod. We’ve established a need for churches to share ideas about ways to elimate hunger on a local level. With the the help of the synod’s weekly e-news, Facebook page, and the upcoming Synod Assembly, we are doing what we can to help congregations connect with one another. Over the past year we’ve received information and stories from 84 churches in the synod about their food ministries and how they’re working to alleviate hunger in their communities. Over a dozen churches have been contacted to share unique ideas they have implemented within their churches and communities.
Presently, these churches are developing videos to share at the 2015 Synod Assembly. We are looking forward to stemming other ideas off this in the future.
For more information on Enough Food for All, visit our website: http://www.semnsynod.org/effa