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ELCA and Synod World Hunger Leaders Join Together to Address this Inexcusable Epidemic

Showing a passion and commitment toward eliminating hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world, ELCA members are on the front lines of this church’s efforts to raise awareness, multiply ministry and increase advocacy efforts.

At the ELCA World Hunger Leadership Gathering July 11-14 in Des Moines, Iowa, more than 70 hunger leaders from across the ELCA’s 65 synods met to share ideas and discuss ways to increase their capacity in helping to eradicate hunger and poverty. Two representatives from the Southern Ohio Synod attended, Mr. Nick Bates and Pr. Jeff Wick. Bates is a member of the synod's Hunger Task Force and Wick is the representative from the Bishop's Office on the task force.

“By sharing our ideas, the effect we can have through our volunteer network is multiplied,” said Mikka McCracken, program director for ELCA World Hunger constituent engagement and interpretation. “The work and mission of ELCA World Hunger depends on individuals, congregations and synods throughout this church. ELCA World Hunger leaders are often on the forefront of inspiring, engaging, leading and truly multiplying those efforts. We are so thankful for their tireless work and vision.”

Under the theme “Loaves and Fishes: Multiplying for Mission,” participants attended sessions geared toward enhancing hunger advocacy that is already being carried out by the leaders in their congregations and neighborhoods.

“They invite others into our common work and service together. From coordinating local food pantries and hosting hunger awareness meals to advocating for better child nutrition policies and hosting hunger education events, ELCA World Hunger leaders share the story of the ELCA’s work to eradicate hunger and poverty,” said McCracken.

Participants also had the opportunity to learn about food security and sustainable farming practices from Iowa-based scientists and researchers, including a keynote speech by Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, head of the World Food Prize located in Des Moines. The prize, founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Norman Borlaug, recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of those who improve the world food supply.

Nick Bates had this to say about his experience at the conference, "The ELCA National Hunger Leaders Gathering was a great opportunity to learn from advocates around the Church that are dedicated to being hands and feet in the world. The theme of multiplying loaves and fish in our ministries continues to stick with me as I reflect on how our congregations and synod can continue to improve in our ministries. While ministries of mercy continue to be crucial in stopping hunger right now, we need to look long term and identify ways to advocate for social change that will end hunger at a local and national level and throughout the world."

Pr. Jeff Wick, Assistant to the Bishop, said, "The ELCA World Hunger Leaders Gathering this summer celebrated our church's strong commitment to end hunger throughout the world. Through the generosity of our members and congregations we are approaching the 1/2 billion dollar mark in donations since the Hunger Appeal's establishment and there will be other exciting options available for giving to this worthwhile ministry in the future."

If you and your congregation are interested in being a part of this life changing ministry, please contact Pr. Henry Zorn, chairperson for the Southern Ohio Synod Hunger Task Force at The task force has wonderful resources to get your congregation started or take your efforts to the next level. If you are truly feeling compelled to dig deeper than just your work within your congregation, consider being a part of the Hunger Task Force. You'll have the opportunity to share thoughts, ideas, programming and stories with others who are passionate about ending world hunger and help direct the synod's efforts to address this worldwide epidemic. Contact Pr. Zorn for more information about being a part of the task force.