THE HUNGER AND STARVATION MOONS

By Don Johnson, Zion United Church of Christ, Gresham, Oregon

I once read Native Americans call this time of the year the Hunger and Starvation Moons. I don’t know if this is true or if it’s Hollywood. It is true, however, that this time of year is a time of hunger if you are homeless, jobless, broke, physically disabled, mentally disabled, or all of the above.

During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, we are very generous and give food and funds to help feed people who cannot feed themselves. After the holiday season, we tend to relax and give less than we did before. Because of this pattern of giving, food pantries and kitchens are often short of food during the months after the holidays.

We at Zion United Church of Christ in Gresham learned about this problem when a woman from St. Henry’s Catholic Church in Gresham told us about their food kitchen during a “Mission Moment” in our Sunday service. Our Social Action Team decided to help. We asked our congregation to cut and freeze their Thanksgiving turkey carcasses, along with left over turkey from their family dinner. We also welcomed whole turkeys. During the week after Thanksgiving, we boiled turkey carcasses, skimmed the broth, and added onions, celery, carrots and herbs. We poured the soup into one-gallon bags for the freezer. Now the soup must simply be thawed, and noodles, rice, barley or dumplings can be added to make a delicious, hot meal in this cold hungry time.

WORKING TO END HUNGER IN IDAHO

by Carol Stirling

According to Idaho Kids Count, 30-50% of the people in Idaho have to choose between paying their bills (i.e., utilities, rent, medicine) and buying food. Organizations such as Idaho Hunger Relief, Idaho Interfaith Roundtable Against Hunger and the Idaho Food Bank are working to address hunger in Idaho.
Idaho Interfaith Roundtable fought for and won a bill to implement a grocery tax credit. People who pay income taxes are able to get a grocery tax credit and those who pay no taxes get a refund each year. Idaho is one of only seven states in the U.S. that has a sales tax on food.
The Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force held a summit on hunger and food insecurity. Some of their goals are:
• Increase participation in the Summer Meal Program for food-insecure Idaho children.
• Develop an Idaho Food Stamp Outreach Plan.
• Create a comprehensive awareness/media campaign for nutrition education and benefit assistance programs.
The Idaho Food Bank has programs such as: