My church’s Outreach committee has been discussing the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight goals are:
- Eliminate Extreme Poverty
- Achieve Universal Primary Education
- Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
- Reduce Child Mortality
- Improve Maternal Health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Other Diseases
- Ensure Environmental Sustainablity
- Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Our national Episcopal Church and our local diocese Diocese of El Camino Real affirmed their commitment to the MDGs in 2006. All Saints’ (Palo Alto) parish is now working out what that means in terms of real work and money.
In last month’s Outreach meeting, I took responsibility for researching specific options for donating All Saints’ pledged 0.7% MRD funds. Based on my research, I recommended at last night’s meeting that Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), specifically their “Food Security/ Hunger Fund”, is the best focus for All Saints’ MDG donations. I contacted ERD directly today and was told that 90 cents of every dollar donated goes to their programs, meaning that they would make good use of the money.
Here is what ERD’s web site has on its Food Security program:
Our food security programs ensure families have the means to access and secure healthy food sources. We make sure families have enough food to eat on a daily basis and food supplies are available, affordable, and accessible. Our programs:
- Offer seeds and tools so communities can grow better crops, build healthier nutrition, and increase their yield in areas where poverty limits resources and access to food.
- Provide opportunities for people to create and operate small businesses and expand their sources of income.
- Give families healthy animals which produce food and income.
There does not seem to be a USA component to ERD’s Food Security program. However, for many years All Saints’ has hosted and supported successful local programs for the hungry and homeless, including the
Opportunity Center plus several InnVision programs, including:
- The Food Closet (based at All Saints’)
- Hotel de Zink (hosted twice at All Saints’ in 2006)
- Breaking Bread, Hot Meals Program (hosted at All Saints’ twice a week)
All Saints’ is and has always been strongly called to follow Jesus’ exhortation to “Feed My Sheep”. Extreme poverty outside of the US is probably the best focus for donations in any case. I recently read the following in the “World Ark” magazine from Heifer Project, (January/February 2007 issue, p.50):
Extreme Poverty on the Decline
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty dropped from 28 in 1990 to 19 percent in 2002 — a remarkable success. However, progress varied by region. Asia led the way in reducing poverty, but sub-Saharan Africa realized only a marginal decline in poverty rates. Chronic hunger (measured by the proportion of people not consuming their daily food needs) also saw declining rates — but at the current pace, overall progress is not on track to meet the U.N. Millennium Development Goals targets. The number of people going hungry is actually increasing, with Eastern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in greatest need of scaled-up efforts. Keep up to date at www.un.org/millenniumgoals.
6/9/2016: updated formatting