Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Nutrition as Mission
Jesus tells us that he has come to bring good news to the poor, and the Old Testament prophets are full of exhortations to root out the foundations of systemic economic inustices. Giving handouts to those in immediate need is an admirable thing, but if we want to move beyond charity to true justice, I think we need to start striking at the underlying causes of poverty.

Personally, I've recently been concerned about poor nutrition as one of the root causes of endemic poverty. Low income families cannot afford to feed their children healthy food, or don't have the knowledge to know how. Poor nutrition in turn leads to poor performance in school as well as chronic health problems; thus setting up children from low income families to continue in the cycle of poverty.

What if churches offered free classes on how to eat healthy and how to buy healthy food on a budget? What if we sponsored cooking classes to teach low income parents how to cook delicious healthy dishes without too much time and effort? Churches could easily advertise such classes at the local food pantries or social services centers.

What if we also advocated for better food in our school cafeterias? Many low income children receive free lunches at school, but if their only option is crap (or even if they are given the option of choosing sugary crap over a less appealing healthy option) then the schools themselves are just contributing to their poor performance.

I don't know. It's not a fix-all, but it just strikes me that if we want to do something about poverty, we need to start getting at some of the root problems.


posted by Mike Clawson at 2:40 AM | Permalink |


At 11/08/2006 08:51:00 AM, Blogger Kevin J. Bowman

I think you are really onto something here. What if additionally as churches we had the supplies prepurchased so that after teaching a group how to make fresh healthy wonderful foods affordable we also gave them the supplies they needed to do this several times between the sessions.

It would be an extension of the pantry and true training that could improve their lifestyle.

I know how expensive shopping for fresh produce can be when you don't know the proper places to buy it. My wife and I (who buy a lot of fresh produce) spend nearly $75 more if we shop at Jewel / Dominicks over a small shop that focuses on produce.

Great idea! I plan on suggesting it to other members of our benevolence team tonight!


At 11/08/2006 09:21:00 PM, Blogger Erin

I appreciate this thought a lot, Mike.

It also strikes me as something that would not come across as charity as much as it would show concern for people's dignity.

Now *that's* a sign of love.

I appreciate that a lot.