How Can I Help
The Ten Commandments of Food
A TIO Report
Religions East and West, conservative and progressive, ancient and new, almost always express their concern for the disinherited, particularly for the hungry. As an ancient Hebrew proverb says, “Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.” (Proverbs 28:27) Despite the injunction and an abundance of food grown on Earth each year, the hunger statistics today are staggering.
The homepage for World Council of Churches “Food for Life” campaign puts the case succinctly:
“Almost a billion people in the world face chronic hunger and malnutrition, while well over a billion face the health consequences of obesity. Millions more experience seasonal hunger and malnourishment, and poor diets high in cheap, processed foods are leading to a rise of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, intestinal cancers and type-3 diabetes. At the same time, between one-third and one-half of all food produced for human consumption is wasted, due to lack of storage and distribution infrastructure as well as through wasteful retail and consumer practices.”
To be fair, most congregations – churches, temples, gurdwaras, mosques, and the like, as well as their regional, national counterparts – have one program or another, or several, to address the problem. And there are huge NGOs focused on alleviating hunger. All that good work, however, hasn’t solved either the local or global tragedy of hunger. So it gets back to the person: what can I do to help? The poster is not proposing a command and control campaign. Rather it proposes beginning with thanks and ending with sharing as a way for us to take on the issue personally.
A Poster and a Program
The World Council of Churches produced the Ten Commandment of Food poster you'll find below. Feel free to download and post it. In addition, their Food for Life program has a guide for studying the Commandments.
They also have a number of suggestions for how congregations can be pro-active about hunger issues:
- Organize a special church service to focus on the ten commandments of food or further reflection on creation and food. A liturgy prepared for the Morning Prayers at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva for World Food Day 2016 is available.
- Organize a “bring and share” meal at your church, with dishes prepared with produce from local gardens and farmers.
- Celebrate local foods and knowledge: Organize a community fair that showcases local food producers and shares the stories of farmers and people involved in food justice.
- Lobby policy makers and businesses to create a stable demand for local and seasonal produce through school meal programs and hospitals.
- Organize a study and discussion session for your church or community group focusing on the “Ten Commandments of Food” and the Advocacy Tools for Congregations.
- Get your hands in the dirt: Plan a trip to your nearest farm to meet (and help!) the farmer and learn more about the challenges and joys of food production. Consider joining or starting a community garden.
- Share your food story with a captioned photo, video or written post (e.g. on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook), using the hashtag #myfoodstory