• BEGINNING A HUNGER MINISTRY

    About NAMB’s Domestic Hunger Funds

    The North American Mission Board’s Community Evangelism Unit administers the Domestic Hunger Funds. The funds represent 20 percent of moneys designated by Southern Baptists to the SBC World Hunger offerings. Eighty percent is assigned to the International Mission Board. It is important to remember that every dollar is utilized exclusively to feed the hungry. Hunger funds cannot be used to cover any administrative costs.

    The funds are intended to share Jesus’ love with the needy (Ps. 107:9; Matt.. 25:35). As a result, many have come to know Him as their personal Savior, and new churches have been formed. For example, hunger ministry gave birth to City Church in Amarillo, Texas, in an old abandoned downtown warehouse. The church and its visionary minister, Don Lane, continue to feed the hungry in Jesus name.

    The Challenge

    Data analysis by the Children’s Defense Funds indicates that full-time work at minimum wage does not guarantee escape from poverty. Over 37 million Americans are exposed to the threat of hunger. Each year, 12 million people experience hunger.

    Attempts on welfare reform have not always been successful. According to a recent research by Tuft University, 35 states, more than two-thirds of all states, have implemented policies that will worsen the situation of poor families.

    Our Cooperative Response

    Amidst these circumstances, Southern Baptists have continually responded by contributing to the Domestic Hunger Funds (to contribute, contact Sandy Wood at 770-410-6360. Another response to hunger is to develop a hunger ministry. Hunger ministries take the form of food pantries, soup kitchens, lunch sacks, weekend backpacks, bags of groceries, food program worship services, food drives, or simply vouchers for purchasing groceries. Two of the fastest growing types of hunger ministries are weekend backpacks for school children, and community gardens.  These ministries provide churches unique opportunities to share with others the Bread of Life along with bread for living.

    Our Individual Opportunity

    Any member or any church program or agency may initiate a hunger ministry. The key is commitment to serve others in the name of Jesus. We are reminded of our privilege to be fruit bearing branches of the Vine (John 15:5). Branches that do not eat their own fruits but rather share them with those who have not yet been grafted in the Vine initiate hunger ministries.

    The Steps

    Identify the hunger needs of the community. This will help you decide on the scope of your task.

    • Find out if any other organizations are already servicing the hunger needs of that community.
    • Learn about food banks. Salvageable food can be purchased at food banks at a per pound, inexpensive price.
    • Learn about availability of surplus food commodities. Contact your local Human Services Department.

    Identify your resources. Ascertain church groups (Sunday School, WMU, mission groups) that can provide volunteers, food supplies, financial help, or any other contributions to the hunger ministry.
    Determine the type of ministry and its policies.

    • Food pantry - Soup kitchen - Vouchers - Other
    • Distribution: Daily, Weekly, Biweekly
    • Witnessing practices - Follow-up ministry
    • Record keeping - Reporting

    Determine the additional dollar amount needed to start the project. Request that amount from your local association or contact your state convention’s Church and Community Ministries (CCM) staff for information on availability of hunger funds. The North American Mission Board (NAMB) distributes hunger funds to the state conventions.

    About a Food Pantry

    In planning a food pantry, it is very important to be culturally sensitive. For example, some ethno-cultural groups would prefer rice instead of potatoes.

    Make a list of items needed for the food pantry (please, see Suggested Items below). Divide the list among mission groups, Sunday School classes, and others who want to help. Ask each group to supply the items on its list. After the pantry has been stocked, ask the groups to take turns restocking monthly. Provide groups with a list of special items needed.

    • Purchase additional food as needed. In addition to joining the local food bank, develop a contact with a wholesale food distributor or grocery store.
    • Label storage shelves. Arrange items neatly and in a workable order.
    • Arrange food items in an orderly manner. Stock only basic items that are in good condition, not cast-off, out-of-date things that nobody wants or needs.
    • Plan to discard outdated items. Write dates received on labels. Discard unused items on a regular basis.
    • Divide large bags and boxes of food into smaller containers. Macaroni, rice, grits, meal, and dried beans can be frozen for 24 hours, then placed in plastic milk cartons or other containers. They will then keep for quite a while on the shelf.

    Suggested Items for a Food Pantry
    Be sure that emergency food is nutritious and nonperishable. For example:
    • Nonfat dry milk
    • Canned vegetables
    • Pancake mix (complete)
    • Pancake syrup
    • Oatmeal
    • Grits
    • Cereal
    • Shortening or oil
    • Baby food
    • Tomato sauce
    • Spaghetti sauce
    • Chili
    • Canned tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines
    • Vienna sausage, other meats in pull-top cans
    • Canned fruit and fruit juices
    • Peanut Butter
    • Jelly
    • Macaroni, noodles, or other pasta
    • Salt
    • Rice
    • Dried beans and peas
    • Beef stew
    • Instant potatoes
    • Biscuit mix
    • Box meals
    • Soups (dried or canned)
    • Paper goods: paper towels, bathroom tissue, facial tissues
     

    Suggested Emergency Grocery Pack
    When preparing grocery packages, think about the ethno-cultural background of the beneficiaries. Consider also their age and living conditions. People without cooking facilities would benefit from
    pre-cooked, canned, or packed food.
    • 1 48-ounce can of orange or grapefruit juice
    • 2 boxes of cereal or 1 box of pancake mix (complete)
    • 4 macaroni and cheese dinners (complete)
    • 1 pound of dried beans
    • 4 1-quart packages of dried milk
    • 1 box of crackers
    • 3 cans of meat
    • 2 packages of cornbread or biscuit mix
    • 4 cans of soup
    • 4 cans of vegetables (yellow and green)
    • 1 pound of noodles or spaghetti
    • 2 cans of pork and beans
    • 2 cans of tomato sauce
    • 2 cans of fruit
    • 1 package of bathroom tissue
    • $10 credit voucher for eggs, bread, and milk

    A Word about Evaluation

    There are two main reasons to develop an evaluation system for the hunger ministry. First, it may serve as a progress report. Hearing about God’s work through this ministry will inspire the local church. Secondly, if the ministry receives funds from NAMB, the local association and state convention will need to report quarterly about the use of those funds.

    The evaluation instrument may be a simple form. An example of items to include could be the number of people served, witnessing results such as professions of faith, baptisms, and Bible study groups. Additional items could be church member participation, number of volunteers involved, personal testimonies of volunteers, networking opportunities with other evangelical groups and/or community resources.

    How to apply for Hunger Funds

    1. Keep in mind that NAMB’s Domestic Hunger Funds are used to demonstrate Jesus’ love by assisting people who are afflicted by hunger. Secure an application from your local associational office and find out if your local association has any guidelines pertaining to hunger ministries.
       
    2. Follow the procedures of your local association. If the association has none, contact the Church and Community staff at your state convention’s office. If you have difficulties finding the information that you need, contact the Hunger Funds office at the North American Mission Board.  

    (770) 410-6360; Fax: (678) 624-3507
    Visit us on our Web site: http://www.namb.net/hunger

    NAMB exists to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, start New Testament congregations, and minister to persons in the name of Christ, and to assist churches in the United States and Canada in effectively performing these functions.