Faith: Help those struggling with food insecurity
Make March and the period of Lent a time to share with all who are in need, including those in the lakes area
As I was going through the list of people that I attempt to pray for, I realized most of them were people I met on mission trips to Guatemala and Pakistan — people who need prayers for finding work, who need prayers for physical healing, who need prayers for daily food, who need prayers for money to send children to school.
The people that I pray for in this community are those who needs prayers for physical healing.
I realized it was easier to pray for these people because it is easier to see their need.
When someone is sick, it is easy to see the need for healing. When someone needs money to send their children to school, it is easy to pray for money.
When someone needs food, it is easy to pray for bread. When someone needs a job, it is easy to pray that employment would happen.
These needs are easy to see.
What I struggle to do is to see the need in the place I live and work, in the lakes area. It is hard to imagine that people need things when a majority of us have cars to drive, decent clothes to wear and a computer/phone we carry in our pockets.
It is hard to see there is a need when we do not have to directly pay our school system for our children to attend school.
I would rather my poor looked like people from "Oliver Twist!"
Even if I cannot see the need in our community, I know it is there based upon statistics.
Across Minnesota, visits to food shelves have increased dramatically. From 2021 to 2022, visits by seniors increased almost 40%. Adult visits increased 56% and children getting assistance through food shelves increased by 55%.
Much of that increase in visits was driven by higher food prices.
Food shelf visits are expected to increase even more in 2023 because the extra SNAP benefits that were put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic were last paid out at the end of February.
This puts those people who were already struggling with food insecurity in a place to fill the gaps with visits to a food shelf.
To spur people to contribute to area food shelves, six area churches have entered into a compassion to see who can gather the most food or raise the most funds to support the food shelves.
The competition began with a challenge from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes. Other churches involved are St. Alice Catholic and Grace United Methodist churches, both in Pequot Lakes; Crosslake Presbyterian and Crosslake Lutheran; and Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.
If you would like to make a contribution through any of these churches, you can check out their websites for office hours or for an address to give a financial contribution.
We are all Christian churches, but this is food that will be available for anyone at the Lakes Area Food Shelf in Pequot Lakes and the Crosslake Food Shelf.
There is hunger and need all around the world, and even in our communities. If we all give a little, it can make a big difference toward helping those who struggle with food insecurity.
Let us make March and the period of Lent a time to share with all who are in need.
Mark Ford is pastor at Crosslake Presbyterian Church.