Michigan Bread Team Hosts David Beckmann
Photo: David Beckmann on the opening day of Bread for the World's 2011 Gathering in Bender Arena at American University. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)
By Mary Johnson
[Editor's note: On September 19, Bread for the World President David Beckmann gave a talk at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. The event was coordinated by the Holland Bread Team.]
Late in 2011, the Holland Bread Team was approached about the possibility of hosting Bread for the World President David Beckmann for a public appearance. What an opportunity!
Preparing for David’s visit generated several spin-off efforts. We created a website and a Facebook page for our team. We recruited a Hope College intern to help with preparations and generate interest on the Hope College campus. And, in the process of publicizing David’s visit to area churches, we conducted a survey, asking about the churches’ current efforts to help hungry people and their capacity to provide an additional $50,000 per year to compensate for proposed cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). Our survey results were summarized in a column that appeared on the opinion page of the Holland Sentinel newspaper.
At David’s public appearance, we had about 125 attendees. In his talk, David told us about the tremendous progress our world has made in reducing hunger and poverty over the last several decades, a sign that God is truly working in our time. In the United States, however, we have made only modest progress since the War on Poverty—which was started in the 1960s by Democratic and Republican administrations, then fizzled out in the 1970s.
What can we do to help our nation overcome the current political impasse and effectively address hunger and poverty? We must continue to educate ourselves on the issues and work to build up our movement in our corner of the world. We must continue to seek to engage our members of Congress. And, as David’s stories demonstrate, we must never forget the importance of persistence, creativity, fasting, and prayer.
Mary Johnson chairs the Holland, Mich., chapter of Bread for the World.
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