Christ the Redeemer held its 6th Youth Ministry Event of the year and first for the Lenten Season on Sunday, September 21st. Youth in Grades 7-12 were asked to bring at least one canned good as a free-will offering for entrance into “the Hungry Games”, a meal gathering focused on issues of food insecurity and poverty in Loudoun County.
Youth were assigned to one of the three groups randomly as they entered Atonement Hall. Each group received a different meal and treatment ranging from basic necessities all the way to a full meal with drinks, dessert, and real place settings. This was meant to impress upon the participants how people who experience food insecurity have to deal with a host of random obstacles that make it difficult for them to easily get out of cycles of poverty.
The idea for this experiential examination of food and poverty issues came from Courtney VanNuys, one of the High School Catechists and youth ministers. It was based on something she had experienced while she was in high school herself.
After witnessing the “injustice” of only being able to eat the foods that each group was assigned, a few students began to question the system and rules and asked whether or not they could perhaps share or trade goods with one another. Toward the end of this part of the evening, the students were offered the opportunity to share their food and everyone leapt at the opportunity to have the “better” food options available.
The evening closed with a talk given by CTR parishioner Bob Ashdown. Bob, who has worked tireless with food and poverty issues in Loudoun County talked about three opportunities that CTR is involved in bringing food to the hungry: LINK, the Salvation Army hot food program, and the Stop the Hunger Campaign. He also wanted to make sure we cut put a face on the issues of poverty, noting that although Loudoun and Fairfax are the richest counties in the country, some of the schools close to Christ the Redeemer have high rates (over 50%) of food insecure families, which have continued to rise over time.
LINK is perhaps most visible at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but LINK, the association of 5 religious denominations (of which CTR is a founding member) runs year-long activities that bring food to senior centers and working poor in the their homes. One month out of the year, CTR pledges to help deliver food to families. But there are also many other ways to help LINK help others throughout the year. More Information is here: http://www.linkagainsthunger.org/
The Salvation Army hot meals program started under Fr. Art Johnson’s leadership. On the second Saturday of every month volunteers bring a fixed recipe hot casserole dish. It is combined together in larger hot meals container and loaded onto the Salvation Army truck. Other volunteers drive the truck and serve the meals at two main locations. The project used to serve about 75 hot meals and that has gone up to 200. For information on how to help with this project, contact CTR parishioner Monica Sasscer here: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Stop Hunger Campaign is in its second year at CTR. Last year, the event was a success and brought together youth and families from CTR and the All Dulles Area Muslim (ADAM) Society. Information about this campaign was in this week’s bulletin and here.
Special thanks to the Youth Ministry Planning Team for their help with this event and to those who worked tonight.
Group 1: Cecille and Manny Macalalad
Group 2: Christine Hoyle
Group 3: Juanita Lee, Fe Fernandes