Food Insecurity

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

2023 Blog #10

March 6, 2023

Food Insecurity

Each year our congregation supplies food for the hungry in the nearby city of Hackensack. We do this by working with an organization named “Family Promise.” This group has one mission; to end hunger. It is a very noble cause. Our congregation brings food as well as supplementing the Family Promise volunteers in distributing this food. It is a well-established mission for us and we have done this work since anyone in our congregation can remember.

This mission has changed in recent years. Formerly we needed more volunteers as we were required to staff steam tables and serve the people who either lived in the homeless shelter or in some cases, had homes but were living near the poverty edge. These meal were a good supplement to their diets. In the past, most of the volunteers had come from the churches and organizations who would supply food and personnel. Since COVID, fewer people eat in the dining room and most dinners are delivered to hotels where people are housed or passed out from the loading dock to those with houses nearby. Volunteers have shifted from being supplied mostly from contributing organizations to the majority being Family Promise volunteers.

The instructions to helping churches and organizations have been the same for years, “prepare sufficient food for 150 people.” For years some of us in our congregation wondered about amount. It seemed that frequently we had many leftovers as we had served 90 to 110 people. Yet, we continued to cook for 150 people.

Two weeks ago, we received a great surprise. We served not 150 people, but 180. When I expressed surprise at this number, our supervisor told me that two days prior to our serving, the volunteers had set a record by providing more than 200 hungry people. When I asked why there were so many more people, I received a lesson in economics.

A volunteer told me that inflation caused food prices to rise. Many people who live on the economic edge, are now priced out of buying their own food. People with surplus income can adjust shopping habits to accommodate the new prices. Those without a surplus cannot adjust. Even a small price rise can make them food insecure.

I often take my lifestyle for granted. I am not rich but I do have an income surplus and I am certainly not near the poverty limit. I suspect that many of us who have similar incomes to mine don’t realize how good we have things in life. For people like me, inflation is a nuisance but for others it is not a nuisance, it is a serious health concern that, at times, forces many people into poverty.

This is a shout out to the members of Clinton Avenue Reformed Church who continue to do what they can to give relief to those who are hungry from poverty. It is also a shout out to the volunteers of Family Promise who work every day with the purpose of feeding hungry people. I pray that more people will rise to the occasion and join in this good work.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #PastorMarkAuthor            

#BergenCounty                                                        #BergenfieldNJ

#FamilyPromise                                                       #FoodInsecurity

#Inflation                                                                    #Hunger

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please look at his website:

Published by pastormarkauthor

I have been a Reformed Church in America pastor and Christian Author since 1984. In addition I am certified Crisis Counselor, certified Disaster Chaplain and have two units of Clinical Pastoral Education.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: