Tuesday, March 26, 2013

One Great Hour of Sharing

Dear Friends,

In mid-March I was given the opportunity to visit agencies in New York City which are providing ministry after Hurricane Sandy and were affected directly or indirectly by that storm.   Our group heard first-hand from pastors and agency staff who have dedicated themselves to providing shelter, even weeks after the storm. They will be providing this shelter for months to come, as the need is great. I am hoping that you would also see this as a vital ministry and give generously to One Great Hour of Sharing

I was a part of a team representing the Presbyterian Hunger Program Advisory committee, meeting in collaboration with the Advisory committees and staff from the other partner agencies of the PC(USA) which received essentially all their funding through One Great Hour of Sharing. The other groups who met were Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Self Development of People. PHP, PDA and SDOP provide truly miraculous ministries in areas of social and environmental need and devastation.

We heard that there were four times as many people displaced by Hurricane Sandy as Katrina.  There are 100,000 households in New Jersey alone who have needed help.  Many of those affected have few resources to deal with the devastation.  They are dealing with trying to get their homes gutted because of the mold, which is a problem after the water receded.  Some have waited 3 months to get hot water and heat back.

We visited Red Hook in Brooklyn, which is a community of 79% poverty and was hard-hit by Sandy. A  beautiful community garden was devastated.  The Red Hook Initiative (www.rhicenter.org) is a mission agency in the community which was there to help empower citizens to regroup and restore their neighborhood. 

We also visited “Just Food” (www.justfood.org) and the New York City Coalition Against Hunger  (www.nyccah.org) which help bring about and support just food economies that are sustainable and resilient. NYCCAG has a huge program focusing on the long-term, root causes of hunger and seeks innovative solutions for food self-sufficiency.  

The need for providing shelter and wings of protection for sisters and brothers on this planet is huge.  One way to help is through the ministry that One Great Hour of Sharing provides. You can click here to give now. This offering is a way to provide the love and compassion of Christ through our financial gifts.

Presbyterian Hunger Program is now the agency which provides funding for our partner, the Environmental Ministries Program. They are both largely dependent on OGHS funds in order to do their vital work.  Both work for sustainable and just means of eating and lifestyle management for those who are most vulnerable.  

Environmental Ministries has been supportive of PEC, assisting us in many ways including with financial resources for many years.  We are so grateful for their partnership.  

We are all in this work and world together as partners in ministry. In recognition of this, I am hoping that you will share generously through the One Great Hour of Sharing, not only now but throughout the year. Please spread the news.

You are needed and appreciated.  

Deep blessings to you during this very Holy Week,
 Diane Waddell
 Presbyterians for Earth Care

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