DALLAS — The Baptist General Convention of Texas’ push to feed the hungry throughout the state comes as Texas tops the country in youth food insecurity, according to a recent study.
Roughly 22 percent of Texans under age 18 are food insecure, meaning they are unsure where their next meal will come from — the highest percentage in the nation, according to a Feeding America study. When researchers looked at children under 5, they found about 23 percent of them were food insecure in Texas.
The study comes as Texas Baptists are in the midst of trying to give Texans something to say grace over through the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger and Texas Hope 2010, an effort to share the hope of Christ with everyone in the state by Easter 2010.
Suzii Paynter, director of the BGCT Center for Advocacy and Care, said she sees an infrastructure forming across the state that can make a significant impact on helping the hungry. The Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger supports about 100 ministries in 25 Baptist associations. As a result of Texas Hope 2010, churches are starting hunger ministries or increasing their outreach.
Congregations are finding ways to partner with area food banks to purchase food far below consumer costs, therefore stretching their funds, Paynter said. The Texas Hunger Initiative, a partnership between the BGCT Christian Life Commission and Baylor University’s School of Social Work, is researching how ministries can further work together to serve people efficiently and effectively.
More than 150 people across the state have volunteered to work with the CLC in advocating for the hungry throughout Texas, Paynter noted. They are encouraging Texas Baptists to reach out to those in need of sustenance.
“We have people who are willing to feed in the name of Christ so the people who receive it can become our brothers and sisters in hope,” she said.
As Texas Baptists continue to follow the command to feed the hungry, Paynter believes they will be transformed to see the world as Christ does.
“It’s not just the person receiving the food,” she said. “Feeding people creates Christian community through which God can deliver hope. My hand that delivers your food becomes the bridge to the kingdom of God.”
John Hall is news director for the Baptist General Convention of Texas.