Elon Musk made news recently for a Twitter conversation about world hunger.

Musk, with a net worth of approximately $288 billion (yes, billion with a “b”), responded to a call from the United Nations food program director David Beasley to the worlds billionaires to step up to fight against world hunger.

Beasley tweeted that “this hunger crisis is urgent, unprecedented, AND avoidable. The world is on fire… due to Covid, conflict, climate shocks & now, rising supply chain costs. IT IS HERE.”

Musk asked for a clear plan and open books before he’d considered selling $6 billion in Tesla stocks. 

We are still waiting if Musk and any of the other space traveling billionaires will agree.

Even if it happens—$6 billion infused into the global economy to eliminate famine—the needs in our own community won’t be solved by someone else.  

We play a vital role in providing for each other. 

In my larger church, the ELCA, the hunger initiatives put forth provide context on the needs around the world. According to the most recent estimates, 736 million people live in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 per day. That’s 10% of the world’s population. 

In the US, 39.7 million Americans were living in poverty in 2017 (the last year that data was available). For a family of four, this means their annual household income was below $25,094. 

We can help. (Go to https://www.elca.org/hunger to learn more and to give.)

But what about our own backyard?

Faith Lutheran applied for an ELCA Hunger Grant to literally plant the seeds for a gardening ministry. Deacon Nina Joygaard coordinated the efforts for “Faith Feeds our Neighbor” and used the grant to purchase tomato and green pepper plants. Then, Faith gave them away to our members to plant in their gardens. Throughout the summer and fall, we asked for the harvest. 

And what a response. 

In addition to the plants given away, members of Faith have responded with 65 different kinds of fresh produce. 

With a $500 investment in plants, 47 households contributed over 2,450 pounds of produce that were delivered by six volunteers to local food pantries at Community Helping Hands and Family Pathways. 

Talk about an abundant harvest. That’s something to be thankful for and a way for all of us to continue helping feed our neighbor. 

Do you find that you end up having more produce than you know what to do with at the end of summer? Maybe you’ve wanted to plant your first garden. 

I’m planting the seed for you today to think about how you can share of your harvest in 2022. Our neighbors appreciate fresh foods. 

If you are inspired to help right now, the food shelves need items like jelly, peanut butter, canned fruit, vegetables, beef stew, or chili, rice, instant potatoes, Hamburger Helper, pasta sauce, baked beans, personal care items and diapers. You can donate these directly to your favorite food pantry or bring them to your local church, like Faith, and we’ll deliver for you! 

Maybe Elon will do something that is a game-changer in the global fight to end hunger. Even if he does, we will remain vital contributors to our local resources in the years to come. 

John Klawiter is the senior pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Forest Lake. For more information, email him at johnk@faithfl.org

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