By Sr. Carol De Angelo
O Come O Come Emmanuel (God with us). I love the Advent Season. The liturgical readings remind me of waiting in hopeful expectation for the coming of God’s reign in its fulness, of God made flesh … in Jesus and in us and all Creation.
Taking a break to clear my seeing after hours of computer work, I went a week ago to Vincent’s Table outreach at Our Lady of Angel’s parish to help with the monthly distribution of food to families.
My days of working directly with families are long past. Now my time is spent collaborating with our sisters, associates, and groups to raise awareness on and advocate for food, housing and health security which are out of reach for many families, locally, nationally, and globally.
Two of the organizations Sisters of Charity work closely with are BREAD for the World and NETWORK. Both groups are working to extend and broaden Child Tax Credits (CTE). BREAD is also preparing to focus on the Farm Bill of 2023 which is up for renewal. This Bill includes SNAP and other food programs. If I were not so involved with these two groups, I wonder if I would be aware of the power I have as a U.S. citizen to advocate for child hunger and poverty with my legislators? They are the ones who vote on bills that can help decrease the poverty and hunger of our children who live within U.S. borders and beyond.
God is with us. I believe that! God is in the faces of the grateful people I greeted as they stood and waited to receive the generosity of so many benefactors. God is in the benefactors that make Vincent’s Table operative. God is in the Sisters of Charity and the College of Mount Saint Vincent, cosponsors of Vincent’s Table, and our valuable partner, the Franciscan Friars, and all who make these food distributions possible.
I wait in joyful expectation of the day that we can bring together the gift of direct service with the gift of advocating for just legislation that can help end hunger and poverty.
Statistics show that the Child Tax Credit decreases child poverty. Click here to read more. If we are truly aware, we would also choose to urge our legislators to say yes to the Child Tax Credit and to the SNAP and other food programs in the Farm Bill. We would combine our donation of money that gives food to people who stand on long lines to receive one bag of groceries with our gift of advocacy to create laws and policies that enable people to buy their own food. What can we do? Here are some suggestions. Consider visiting NETWORK’s food security page and acting. Visit BREAD’s advocate page. Keep alert for information on the Farm Bill of 2023 and their upcoming Spring Offering of Letters Campaign. It is critical that we make the connection between Child Tax Credits, the Farm Bill and child poverty and hunger! BREAD and NETWORK are two organizations that help me. Which organization or group does this for you? Whatever group it is, we are called to work together to reduce the growing hunger, homelessness and poverty families face, through both direct service and advocacy – an advocacy for laws, policies and structures that are just and equitable.
As people of faith and faithful citizens, may we see our prayer, almsgiving, and advocacy as prayer in action and a way to accompany our brothers and sisters.
- May our caring and compassion witness both generosity of donations with advocacy.
- May we continue to grow in our awareness of the connection between long lines of people in need with the laws and policies of our country.
- May that awareness lead to knowledge and understanding and empower us to action on behalf of our gospel call to love one another as God has loved us.
- Let us use our advocacy and voting power to bring about a civilization of love, a culture of care, and make real in our world the civic political love Pope Francis calls us to in Laudato Si’ and Fratelli Tutti.
- We are the hands, the face, the body of God, of LOVE incarnate in our world today.