The following is from guest writer Emily Hamilton. She writes about how ELCA World Hunger grant money is being used to involve kids at the Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center in issues of world hunger.
My name is Emily Hamilton and I am one of the summer Program Coordinators at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center near Jamestown, NY. Supported by ELCA World Hunger, part of my job this summer is hunger awareness education, and the central piece of this work for us is a community garden created with the help of Rural Ministry. On July 6th, Ed and Josh came down with donated plants, weed blocking cloth, and a tiller to help us plant. Our Recruits in Advanced Training for Service (or RATS) campers spent the morning tearing up sod and planting melons, tomatos, peppers and squash. Take a look!
Since then we’ve also been doing a hunger education session with one or two cabin groups every day. Currently our focus is on Haiti, a place which has been on my mind since taking a course on Caribbean religion this past spring. We’re using the Hunger Resources from the ELCA website for that lesson. Additionally, we have a world map in the dining hall onto which we add a hunger information on a new country every day. By the end of the week there is a blurb on Haiti, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh and the United States for kids to read about, as well as a marker of where we live and where our international staff lives.
Our theme this summer is ‘Love To Serve’ which seems perfect to me. If at all possible I would like to find ways for the campers to get involved in helping to alleviate hunger when they go home, sent out to serve in their own communities. At the end of the week we give parents and campers the opportunity to donate to the ELCA World Hunger fund through their leftover money for the camp store or anything else they’d be willing to give. Each camper also gets an opportunity to help take care of the garden. However, I’d like to see them have the chance to plan another course of action for when they leave- letter writing, food drives, fundraisers, extended education, etc.
Right now I’m trying to come up with more ways to integrate this project into daily camp activities- I don’t want to overwhelm kids with Bible Study, worship, devotions, and then hunger education to boot! One option would be to try and meet with each cabin twice a week instead of once; another that I’m thinking about is doing a mini lesson during a meal, possibly just as fast facts on each table. I’d love to hear ideas about how to teach kids even more!