Goats and Chickens

A boy with a goat in Kenya, thanks to ERD

Early in October the folks at Episcopal Relief and Development invited those who would listen to make a Gift for Life as a good way to remember and honor “The Poor Man” of Assisi (St. Francis):

Today [October 4th] a very peculiar saint will be honored throughout the Christian world. Although he was from a wealthy family, he chose to live in poverty. He preached to a Sultan in Egypt, a flock of birds in the trees, and a ferocious wolf. He founded orders for men and women, and in 2013 a Pope took his name for the first time. Each year, he is honored far and wide with blessings of animals. He is St. Francis, the gentle man from 13th century Assisi, Italy. We invite you to honor him by increasing opportunities for others with the gift of a cow, a chicken, a pig, or my favorite, a goat!
—Sean McConnell, Engagement Director for ERD in a Facebook Post

On two Sundays our Sunday Morning Forum group gathered up just under $100 and with a little help beyond the Forum we made a donation to purchase and send a goat and some chickens to help feed brothers and sisters far from the Coachella Valley and St. Margaret’s.

2013-1015 ERD Donation

To make this gift go even further, generous donors to ERD have pledged to match gifts made to ERD between now and December 6th. So, we’re able to send out 2 goats and twice as many chickens as our small part of the global efforts of ERD.

To all who have this possible: Thank you. Keep it going: make your own gift to ERD as a way of doing good today, and tomorrow!

Photo: Episcopal Relief & Development

Wind Chimes: 15 Oct 2012

Women buying fruit in a downtown market in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Through the rest of this week we’ll wonder, with Job, where is God? Where is God in the midst of enormous challenges facing his creation and his ‘children’ throughout creation—even those we consider our ‘enemies’? And where is God in the challenges we face?

Sometimes the chimes sound far-off, sometimes near. What do you hear?

God is too good to believe in

God is not too hard to believe in. God is too good to believe in, we being such strangers to such goodness. The love of God is to me absolutely overwhelming. It’s clear to me, two things: that almost every square inch of the Earth’s surface is soaked with the tears and blood of the innocent, and it’s not God’s doing. It’s our doing. That’s human malpractice. Don’t chalk it up to God. Every time people say, when they see the innocent suffering, every time they lift their eyes to heaven and say, “God, how could you let this happen?” it’s well to remember that exactly at that moment God is asking exactly the same question of us: “How could you let this happen?” So you have to take responsibility. —William Sloane Coffin in an interview with Religion & Ethics Newsweekly on August 27, 2004.

October 15 – International Rural Women’s Day

“Where is God? How could God let this happen?” High food prices affect us all. While we may complain about this, we know that in rural locations throughout our nation and the world the affect of high food prices can be devastating.

“Prices of food have really gone up and this has made my children and I not to eat as we used to. We used to eat four times a day but now we can only eat two times under hard struggle.” — Salome Nche, mother of eight, Cameroon excerpt  from the Huairou Commission report “Grassroots Women’s Perspectives on Food Insecurity in Africa, Asia and Latin America,” 2009

Go to more information about the need and the beginning responses to meet the need.

One way Episcopalians “take responsibility” is through the work of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD). Financial contributions from members and non-members fund work ‘on-the-ground’ in rural communities. Here is one example:

[ERD] Alleviating Hunger and Improving the Food Supply [in both Sudan and South Sudan in partnership with The Episcopal Church of Sudan]

  • approximately 24 agriculture resource agents will be trained over the next three years (one for each diocese)
  • following a three-month training course, each resource agent will establish a model garden to demonstrate agricultural techniques
  • the agent will train communities in sustainable land management, focusing on household gardens which can provide families with nutritious food and needed income
  • For more information

A prayer of remembering before a meal

“O God when I have food, help me to remember the hungry.
When I have work, help me to remember the jobless.
When I have a comfortable home, help me to remember
those who suffer from the cold or from the heat.
When I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer.
In all this remembering, help me to destroy my own complacency
and bestir my compassion.
Make me concerned enough to help by word, deed and prayer,
those who cry out for what I so often take for granted.”

Contained in a Facebook posting by fr. James martin on 24 July 2012. He heard this prayer. Offered as a blessing before lunch in a 2012 meeting in Massachusetts of roman catholic school superintendents and principals

Photo: Women buying fruit in a downtown market in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. FAO is implementing its Initiative on Soaring Food Prices (ISFP) in the country to rapidly boost food production in order to increase food availability and accessibility and to alleviate the effects of soaring food prices on poor and vulnerable groups. Credit: FAO/Alessandra Benedetti Additional information about the International Day of Rural Women

Eleventh Day of Christmas: F.I.N.D.

F.I.N.D. Food In Need of Distribution

Years before my arrival at St. Margaret’s (1993) the parish had forged a relationship with FIND and was distributing food once a week. Over the years the need for this source of food has grown, and so has the response. I am proud of the work being done by FIND in the Coachella Valley and by the parish volunteers who distribute food every Tuesday morning. Here is a way our parish has partnered with a community resource to “change the world.”  ~dan

Quote . . .FIND (Food in Need of Distribution) Food bank, is dedicated to mobilizing the resources of our community through education and awareness to relieve hunger, the causes of hunger and the problems associated with hunger.

Our Vision

To create, a community where our citizens are free of hunger insecurity.  By educating our clients about alternative healthy food choices and informing them of various programs available to them to alleviate the upward spiral of demand.  We envision our food insecure clients obtaining nourishing food through channels that are not solely dependent on private sources; where our clients can learn to become self-sufficient while mindful of healthy choices. (“Mission and Vision” on the FIND website)

FIND Home Page

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who We Are

Q What is FIND (Food In Need of Distribution) Food Bank?

A. FIND is the Coachella Valley’s only Food Bank and it is our responsibility to ensure there is sufficient food to feed the hungry.

Q. How does FIND get the food?

A. We get our food from four sources.

    1. Large and Small (food drives) food donations from entities such as General Mills, Nabisco, Kraft, Cargill and many more.
    2. We are the USDA distributor for the Eastern Riverside County.
    3. We have 5 trucks operating each day going from different local grocery stores and products that are either close to expiration, damaged containers or just overstocked product.
    4. We purchase large quantity of product at wholesale prices to meet the needs of our agencies and operational programs such as Desert Kids Summer Feeding and Seniors Brown Bag.

Q. How is the food distributed?

A. Food is distributed through either our partnering agencies or directly through our emergency food programs.

Q. What geographical area does FIND serve?

A. Find serves the Eastern Riverside County along with parts of the high desert.

Q How many people does FIND help feed?

A. We are currently reaching on average 80,000 individuals monthly.

Q. How does FIND address food safety and nutrition?

A. We operate our warehouse under the strictest guidelines for food safety and are continuously working to obtain higher nutritional value type foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Programs and Support

Q. What is FIND doing to help people support themselves?

A. We are reaching out to the people we serve through our partnering agencies and helping them find alternative sources of aid, such as Food Stamps, WIC and general case management services.

Q. How successful is FIND is its fight against hunger?

A. FIND is working aggressively each and every day to end hunger in the Coachella Valley. Once we have a full commitment from our community we will be able to state, “We are a hunger free zone”.

How You Can Help

Q. How much of my donation will be used for acquisition of food?

A. For every dollar we are able serve 7 meals. This is because 98% or 86% of your donation goes to food acquisition.

Q. How many people will I feed with my donation?

A. $1 = 7 meals
$10 = 70 meals
$100 = 700 meals

Q. Why should I support FIND?

A. FIND Food Bank is the main provider of food to those who find themselves food insecure. This could mean a child, a senior, a family or a homeless individual.

Hunger does not Discriminate.
Hunger knows no age limits.
Hunger knows no boundaries.
WE KNOW HUNGER!
Serving Hungry Families in The Coachella Valley Since 1983.

Join us in our pledge to fight hunger in the Coachella Valley.

Q. How can I become a partner?

A. Either browse our web site and find the many ways you can make a difference through a donation that fits your needs or call us 760-775-FOOD (3663)

Q. Can I make recurring partner donations?

A. Yes, by donating on a recurring basis allows us to implement programs to better serve those in need.

Q Are volunteers needed?

A. Volunteers are the back bone to our success, we are always looking for opportunities to work with individuals or groups. Call or go to our web site for further details.

From the FIND website 3 January 2012


Tenth Day of Christmas: Heifer International

Heifer International

Heifer International works near and far to end hunger and poverty.  ~dan

Quote . . .To End Hunger & Poverty

Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.

By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, we empower them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope.

With gifts of livestock and training, Heifer projects help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. We refer to the animals as “living loans” because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal’s offspring to another family in need. It’s called Passing on the Gift – a cornerstone of our mission that creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace. (“Our Work” on the Heifer International website)

Heifer International Home Page

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USA – Building Healthy Community Food Systems in Arkansas and Appalachia

Project Profile:

Building Healthy Community Food Systems in Arkansas and Appalachia will help to organize and provide resources and support for local communities to fight hunger, poverty and environmental degradation. The project will specifically target high-need populations in two regions: Lee, Monroe, Phillips, St. Francis and Woodruff counties in the Arkansas Delta and Alleghany, Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes counties in North Carolina, and Johnson County, Tennessee in the high-country of Appalachia

Heifer USA will be facilitating and building the capacity for collaboration among key partners. With partners, this project will work within the value chain to create and support the establishment and sustainability of community food enterprises linking small and medium-scale farmers to diverse markets. Limited resource families will have increased access to, and the ability to influence the quality and availability of, local, healthy food within their own communities. Education and awareness-raising as well as public policy work are also key strategies as part of realizing long-term, systemic change. Please read more about this new initiative

Check out the The Heifer Blog for more stories, inspiration, and encouragement.


Eighth Day of Christmas: Bread for the World

Bread for the World

Over the years Bread for the World has been one of my “go to” organizations. At home and around the world Bread for the World, in action, reminds me that at Baptism the community interceded for us so that we would receive grace in order to have “the courage to will and to persevere.” Challenged to feed the world, members of Bread for the World will themselves to action and persevere in their advocacy. I agree with their heartfelt conviction: “God is up to something and is calling us to share in this new creation.” It is humbling to be part of this effort.   ~dan

Quote . . .Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

God’s grace in Jesus Christ moves us to help our neighbors, whether they live in the next house, the next state, or the next continent.

Confronting the problem of hunger can seem overwhelming.

What can one person do? Plenty.

Bread for the World members write personal letters and emails and meet with our members of Congress.

Working through our churches, campuses, and other organizations, we engage more people in advocacy.

Each year, Bread for the World invites churches across the country to take up a nationwide Offering of Letters to Congress on an issue that is important to hungry and poor people. (“What we do” on the Bread for the World website)

Bread for the World What we do | Bread for the World Home Page

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About hunger

In 2005, the latest year for which data are available, 1.4 billion people in developing countries lived in extreme poverty—on less than $1.25 a day—down from 1.9 billion in 1981.

In the United States, 14.6 percent of households struggle to put food on the table. Nearly one in four children is at risk of hunger.

We can end hunger in our time. Everyone, including government, must do their part.

By making our voices heard in Congress, we make our laws more fair and compassionate to people in need.

Source: About hunger on the Bread for the World website

Fifth Day of Christmas: Feed My Starving Children

Feed My Starving Children

In the first week of Christmas I have highlighted organizations helping children. In my research I found Feed My Starving Children. I am impressed with their efforts. Though no one I know has used this organization, it has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator (highlighted in the Advent Calendar on Day 21. The Feed My Starving Children MobilePack events seem to be a wonderful opportunity for community building and for changing the world. ~dan rondeau

Who we are

Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit Christian organization committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit. The approach is simple: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and we ship the meals to nearly 70 countries around the world.

Feed My Starving Children Home Page

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A community event that feeds people across the world

Feed My Starving Children MobilePackTM events allow people across the United States to pack life-giving meals. In 2010, more than 150,000 MobilePack volunteers packed over 32 million meals. In 2011, our MobilePack events are set to produce more than 34.5 million meals.


Logo: Feed My Starving Children website