Walking the Talk

Posted on June 8, 2011 by sharonmagnuson

Ever since my junior year in high school, I’ve always wanted to be a runner.  Now over 30 years later and as the half-century birthday approaches, I still have not accomplished the goal.  There is nothing better than fun runs and community cycling events, but my body is not getting any younger.  It is no longer possible to ignore training or regular exercise in order to go out and jog an enjoyable 5k.

It is terrific to work with ELCA World Hunger and be inspired by the expertise and efforts of my colleagues and our Hunger Network of volunteers and friends across the country.  About six months in, I saw a document that referenced our staff philosophies which included Michael Pollan (author of Omnivore’s Dilemma) suggestions of eating “less, lower, and local.”  Oops!  This was news to me, and I was definitely not in compliance.

In my career as a fundraiser to encourage giving with an understanding of donor motivations — whether related to faithful stewardship and traditional, intentional tithing or more philanthropic decisions to make a difference and leave a legacy, individuals most often explain that their gifts are made out of gratitude for countless blessings.

Out of gratitude for health, happiness, peace, and an abundance of food options, I need to make some changes in order to practice what I preach!

I have a little dream to create some really great running, cycling or work-out shirts for ELCA World Hunger that could be worn during  events or visits to the gym, where people could creatively promote awareness and encourage giving through the celebration of health and their own physical exercise.  Imagine little herds of shirts showing up in fun runs across the country and photos being shared! 

On a recent trip to Los Alamos, New Mexico, a couple hosted dinner in their home celebrating the gifts of their garden!  This was such a lovely and delicious tribute to our work together.  We enjoyed pesto over homemade pasta, salad, and rhubarb pie.

I live in a condo and do not have an acceptable space to grow vegetables.  Or do I?  I could grow lettuce and herbs on my window sill, and maybe I could push the limits of the condo association with a few pots on the back porch?

Recently, our Hunger Leaders in Southwest Texas Synod sent the attached photo of their Hunger synod assembly display.  Members were challenged to employ square foot gardens as a way to grow their own vegetables and in the process figure out how much money they saved with home grown produce and send the difference to ELCA World Hunger.  When you also incorporate the concept of eating lower and local, this is truly a celebration of the earth’s bounty and all of our blessings.

Do you ever feel you’re on the verge of something?  It’s time to incorporate some changes in my health regimen and live this work fully.  Summer seems easy, and it’s good to think about how to make this the priority all year round.

Sharon Magnuson

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