WASHINGTON—On the first Friday of each month from May 6, 2011 to April 6, 2012, Catholic families and individuals can participate in First Fridays for Food Security, as a way to raise awareness about food insecurity in the U.S. and help Catholics pray and act for those in need. Catholics can take part by limiting meal spending on the first Friday of each month to the amount allotted for a family of their size in the USDA Modified Thrifty Food Plan. This food plan is used as the basis for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called food stamps). In 2009, 17.4 million U.S. households experienced food insecurity.
The event’s page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=110978892320508) provides a forum for Catholics to leave comments about their experiences and access learning and prayer resources. A handout will be posted on Facebook each month, focusing on a different aspect of the issue. These will include: the reality of food insecurity in the U.S., migrant laborers and those who produce food, effects of hunger on pregnant women and their unborn children, and child nutrition and the school lunch program.
“Food insecurity affects vulnerable populations including children, the elderly and the unborn,” said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. “First Fridays for Food Security is an act of prayerful solidarity with those who risk going hungry. As bishops, we seek to educate the faithful on this need and the obligation we have as Catholics to meet it.”
In his 2009 encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Feed the hungry (cf. Mt 25: 35, 37, 42) is an ethical imperative for the universal Church, as she responds to the teachings of her Founder, the Lord Jesus, concerning solidarity and the sharing of goods.”
Keywords: food security, First Fridays, hunger, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, solidarity, Facebook
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