Session 3:

Download this week's toolkit [PDF]


  • To believe in God's Grand Design
  • To believe in "Love and good food for all"
  • To continue our journey to end hunger, no matter how powerless we feel
  • To choose hope over cynicism, to choose hope over fear
    • Consider the UN Millennium Goal: "Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty by 2015"
    • Consider the Obama Administration's Goal: "End Childhood hunger by 2015"
    • Consider the Strategic Focus for both Pennsylvania and Philadelphia:
      • Enhancing nutrition for all
      • Increasing access to local fresh food produce
      • Maximizing utilization and impact of federal nutrition programs
      • Strengthening public-private food assistance partnerships
    • Consider that Philadelphia does not yet have an Organized Plan in place to meet the Strategic Focus listed above! Goals, objectives and concrete tactics are needed to make hunger alleviation more than just a hope.

First Things First: Learning the Facts

It's hard to hope for a solution to hunger when there is so much evidence in our city that the problem is only getting worse. But if we don't hope, who will? And if we don't keep walking forward against the tides of hunger and poverty, nothing will change.

By far the most effective assists to hunger relief in Philadelphia are the federal government SNAP (food stamp) program and the school breakfast, lunch and after-school feeding programs. New federal government programs are aiming to increase nutritious content and "home cooked" value in these programs. Access to, education around, and increased consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products is essential for all.

As legislation is introduced on these important public policy issues, we will be encouraging you to write letters to government officials to support these critically important funding game-changers.

If you want to learn more about the history of our nation's food stamp program, watch "Making America Stronger, the US Food Stamp Program," a bipartisan evaluation. (14 minutes in length)

Wondering what you can DO to build your hope that we can do something about hunger in Philadelphia?

See what can be done when good public policy, concerned citizens and creativity come into play.

  • See Baltimore's recipe for fighting hunger in their city. Read how Tony Geraci, head of the Food and Nutrition Department at Baltimore City Schools, is partnering with local growers and planting a 33-acre farm to bring in fresh produce by the bushel. Geraci has launched Great Kids Farm in Catonsville, Maryland, which provides fresh fruits and vegetables for school cafeterias, allows the kids to farm, and introduces Meatless Mondays. In addition, a move is in the works to start a central kitchen facility which would provide nutritious meals to the many schools that do not have the cooking capabilities for anything other than heating up frozen meals. Watch the news clip.
  • See how The Food Trust is stirring up acclaimed collaboration with the The Reinvestment Fund and the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, to get supermarkets into underserved neighborhoods through their Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI). Just a decade ago, a national study showed that Philadelphia had the second lowest number of supermarkets per capita of major cities in the United States. Lack of food access in low-income neighborhoods is linked to high rates of diet-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes. FFFI is a prime example of the type of collaborative partnership and innovative thinking needed in urban and metropolitan communities across the nation. Watch the news clip.
  • See how City Harvest, a community-based network, is modeling hope and shalom in community in a beautifully pastoral and holistic way. Inmates of the Philadelphia Prison System, with guidance from Pennsylvania Horticultural Society staff, grow seeds into seedlings at a recently refurbished greenhouse at the prison in Northeast Philadelphia. These seedlings are transplanted into the prison's Roots-to-Reentry garden or brought to one of 42 participating community gardens. The resulting produce is distributed to food cupboards throughout the city. See the PDF version.
  • Know that City Soup Philadelphia organized the Orange Card Postcard campaign during late 2011. The Orange Card Campaign was an advocacy effort created to demand improved city-wide planning for hunger alleviation. Campaigners distributed over 40,000 postcards to regional congregations, universities, campus ministries and organizations, with tens of thousands of signed postcards being delivered to Mayor Nutter in City Hall. The postcard asked the Mayor to convene the political/community will and imagination needed to change the hunger dynamics of the city. The request for a better organized, "solutions oriented" plan is what thousands of Philadelphians resonated to and acted upon. The Orange Card Campaign is believed to be one of the largest postcards advocacy efforts ever undertaken in Philadelphia. We await, in determined anticipation, the Mayor's reply. Other US cities are already organizing for future success... see below!
  • Know that the U.S. Conference of Mayors decided on January 19, 2012 to launch a food policy task force, which will share information on food policy projects that work, as well as help ensure that federal food policy supports local food efforts. Starting in 2009, Baltimore, Maryland developed its own food policy initiative involving city departments of health, planning, sustainability and development and an advisory group of more than 30 organizations. "It's starting to become a growing movement, which is exactly what we would like it to be," said Holly Freishtat, director of the Baltimore's Food Policy Initiative.

Things you can do:

  • Start thinking about what you might do. Are you setting aside your soup supper savings?
  • Start writing. Write letters to the Mayor, City Council, your church leadership... leaders who have influence and tell them about what you now know. Ask them... What will we do about this problem? What is our plan? Send a letter!
  • Keep walking!! Increase your walk by 10 percent. If you've asked a friend to join you, ask two more. Prayerfully reflect on hope as you walk.
  • Please watch "Making America Stronger, the US Food Stamp Program," a bipartisan evaluation, when you have some time. (It is 14 minutes in length.) This is a very important piece of our history!

Prayer for Hope Before Soup Supper

Litany – read responsively as a family or a congregation.
Adapted from Bread for the World.

Leader: I was hungry and you gave me food.
People: Let us act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.
Leader: I was thirsty and you gave me drink.
People: Let us act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.
Leader: I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
People: Let us act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.
Leader: I was naked and you clothed me.
People: Let us act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.
Leader: I was ill and you comforted me.
People: Let us act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.
All: God, true light and source of all Light, may we recognize you in...
Leader: under-employed and unemployed people,
People: food-worried and hungry people,
Leader: home-worried and homeless people,
All: And in each other.

Speaking Truth to Power

As you inspired the prophets, O God, breathe into me a fire for justice, a fidelity to seeking and speaking the truth. Grant me the exercise of citizenship infused with faith. Assist my deep listening and hospitality to all your children, gate to my ability to change.

Source: "And the Leaves of the Tree of Life are for the Healing of the Nations, Revelation 22:2, Church World Service Jubilee Prayer with Global Partners" (Church World Service, from 1996)

Suggested Recipe

Spicy Split Pea Soup (pdf)

Extra Credit

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