By Tom Floren, Witnessing/Philanthropy Ministry
First Christian Church Des Moines has a long and storied history of collecting a special Easter offering which is given to another organization that meets special needs in the larger community. This year the offering will go the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry.
DMARC partners with a network of 11 food pantries in the metro area. According to DMARC, in FY2015 the pantries served:
- 17,700 families (36% more than in FY2013),
- 41,135 individuals (21% more than in FY 2013),
- Over 5,000 children age 5 and under.
It seems inconceivable that hunger is an issue in our community, which by many measures is thriving and prosperous. But let me share with you information from DMARC’s quarterly newsletter (Feb/Mar/Apr 2016):
“Studies have shown that missing meals and experiencing hunger can harm a child’s development and school performance. Hunger can affect a student’s cognition, attention span, and their ability to learn. Undernourished children are also more likely to get sick and miss school…
Last year, DMARC provided food for 15,000 children in Greater Des Moines who did no have enough to eat. Their families were able to receive nutritionally balanced food from a local food pantry….
For the past five years, DMARC has partnered with Des Moines Public Schools’ Casady Alternative Center and Scavo Alternative Middle School to establish a school food pantry for some of our community’s most at-risk students….”
– Luke Elzinga, Communications Manager
In the same newsletter:
“I hope that 2016 will be a year when those of us who never have to worry about our next meal will move closer to understanding the circumstances of our neighbors who have to worry all the time. “We” tend to think that “they” just make bad decisions. We all need to listen more closely to the circumstances of each other’s lives.”
– Rev. Sarai Schnucker Rice, Executive Director
Then consider the (original) disciples’ solution to the problem of hunger — “send them away, to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat.” And the response to their solution:
“You give them something to eat.”
– Jesus of Nazareth, Mark 6:37
Your food and cash donations will be received now through Easter.