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ELCA World Hunger

Examining World Hunger at Carol Joy Holling

This is the ninth in a series of posts highlighting hunger-related activities that happened at ELCA Outdoor Ministry locations over the summer with the help of Education/Advocacy grants from ELCA World Hunger. The following is from Carol Joy Holling  Camp in Ashland, Nebraska. It was written the last week of July.


We are in the final week of camp here at Carol Joy Holling and the garden supported by an ELCA World Hunger Education/Advocacy grant is flourishing! Campers and staff have picked tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, zucchini, and a variety of squash. All the food continues to go to Table Grace Ministries in Omaha; an organization that teaches low income and single parent families how to cook and shop wisely.

The Hunger Garden is located at a central place on site that campers pass everyday to and from their activities. It’s an exciting place where everyone feels that they are doing something beyond our camp. The greatest experience is that many of our campers come without ever digging in the dirt or seeing where vegetables come from. This is a new experience!

Wednesdays’ focus is “Created for Community” and the Hunger Garden certainly brings the theme alive. Campers learn that “community” is much greater that just the camp – it extends out to many – many who we may never meet.

After the campers and staff leave for the summer the garden will continue to give. Members of American Lutheran Church in Ashland will come out on a regular basis to make sure nothing goes to waste. This is a great partnership with the local congregation.

Pastor Brad
Director/Programs, NLOM

Examining World Hunger at Agape Kure Beach

This is the eighth in a series of posts highlighting hunger-related activities that happened over the summer at ELCA Outdoor Ministry locations with the help of Education/Advocacy grants from ELCA World Hunger. The following is from Agape Kure Beach in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.


Worms. Food Waste. Campers.  You might be thinking, “Wow, what a mess!” or maybe even “Ewww, gross!”   It may be a little messy, but at Camp Agape we have been teaching campers about how to reduce our carbon footprints and world hunger by combining worms and food waste!  For the last two years, Camp Agape has been vermiposting (composting with worms).  Volunteers built vermiposting pits outside our dining hall and extra worms (red wigglers) were bought to start the process.  

After each meal campers separate their waste into two tubs: worm-friendly and trash.  Examples of waste that worms can eat include: fruit or vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, newspaper, and other organic waste.  Our campers and guests catch on very quickly not only to what foods can be composted but just how much food waste they create.  Campers also take part in maintaining the vermiposting bins: adding food waste,  shredding extra newspaper to cover the composting materials, and using water from our rain barrels to make sure there is plenty of moisture in the bins.  The more aware campers are of their waste, the more likely they are to think twice when piling up their plates with unnecessary, large serving sizes! 

Once they get into the habit of it, campers and guests find vermiposting easy to do, but often stop vermiposting when they leave simply because they don’t have vermiposting bins at home.  This summer with the help of the ELCA World Hunger Education/Advocacy grant we received, we were able to provide campers with the materials needed to take what they learned at camp about vermiposting home with them.  Campers in our SIT (Staff In Training) – Servant and Nature! Camp programs made their own vermiposting bins.  Camp Agape’s naturalist, Mir Youngquist-Thurow, led the sessions on how to create the bins, compost at home, and why composting can be so beneficial in our world.  We hope that campers will not only use their bins at home to continue vermiposting but also as a tool to teach their family, friends, and neighbors. 

Alissa Oleson
Program Director

Examining World Hunger at Mt. Cross

This is the seventh in a series of posts highlighting hunger-related activities that happened over the summer at ELCA Outdoor Ministry locations with the help of Education/Advocacy grants from ELCA World Hunger. This post is from Mt. Cross Ministries in Felton, California.


As we started incorporating hunger awareness activities into our Day Camp program, the activities have fit right in with our daily Bible encounter time, but especially on the day that we talk about Jesus feeding the 5000. As we read the story together, you can see on the faces of the campers who haven’t heard the story that they, like the disciples, are surprised. They concentrate on what would have prevented 5000+ people from eating (not enough food, not enough time to feed a crowd that large, etc.).  5000 is a big number! The surprise in the story is not just that Jesus was able to feed so many with so little, but that a child was the one that had the food. Adults who have heard the story many times tend to forget that it was a child who helped, but this is significant for children to hear. Too many times our children are told that they have no impact or cannot help, but we can all help to feed those who are hungry. Hearing that a child was the one who provided what he had helps kids think about how they can help others using what they have. Not only does this story empower kids to help feed others, but it encourages them to problem solve as well. In the story the disciples faced issues of food distribution and time, as we do today on a larger scale. Encouraging our children to help think of ways to help with these issues makes sense, because they, like all of us, make food choices that impact others.

In one activity we have the kids from Day Camp represent the world. They are divided into groups by how much they would have. When they see how many of their group would not have enough to eat, statistics become real for them. Activities like this change hunger from an abstract problem affecting people across the world to something that they can help to solve.

Each week our Day Campers have been planting vegetable seeds to take home and to give away. Like those seeds, I am hopeful that the seeds that we have planted in these children this summer will take root and help them to grow into faithful adults who have a positive impact on the world.

Mariel Spengler
Director of Day Camp Ministries
Mt. Cross Ministries

Examining World Hunger at Pine Lake Camp

This is the fifth in a series of posts highlighting hunger-related activities that happened over the summer at ELCA Outdoor Ministry locations with the help of Education/Advocacy grants from ELCA World Hunger. The following is from Pine Lake Camp in Waupaca, Wisconsin.


Crossways Camping Ministries, located at three sites in northeastern Wisconsin, brings people together in Christ so that lives are changed and communities enhanced.  Campers between third grade and high-school grow in their relationship with God and learn to incorporate Christian principles into their daily lives.  This summer we have two hunger education focuses.  The first focus is to learn about hunger by discussing our own eating habits.  The second focus is to learn about hunger as we raise money to combat hunger in other countries. 

At Pine Lake Camp we use our World Awareness time to share the importance of making responsible food choices.  Counselors lead campers through one of three games which we created and/or adapted from other resources.  One opportunity is Food Mile Rummy.  Campers play a traditional rummy card game collecting one card of each food group, as well as a card indicating the number of miles the food has travelled, and a card indicating the number of fossil fuels used in transportation.  The winning camper is the one with a card in each category, the lowest miles travelled, and the lowest fossil fuels used.  Discussion after the game focuses on ways we can reduce the amount of miles our food travels, including, growing our own, and buying food in season.  Campers connect this conversation with our “local food chalk board” hung in the dining hall.  Here campers learn that some of the vegetables on the salad bar are from our camp garden and much of the dairy they are eating is from a nearby dairy.

Another game the campers can play helps them understand the balance between their needs and wants.  Campers choose pictures of things they own or value, like ipods and CD’s.  Then they choose what animal they’d like to buy for a family in need in another country.  The objective is to balance the cost of animal the with the proper amount of items they would need to give up in order to buy the animal.  Campers discuss how much we have in comparison to people in other countries, as well as their own definition of need and want and how they can change their lifestyle so that others may gain from their wealth.

Our second focus this summer is to encourage campers to raise money for ELCA Good Gifts – God’s Global Barnyard.  During Mission Project Time campers first learn from our international counselors.  Then they learn about God’s Global Barnyard and how buying animals for people in other countries helps to combat hunger.  To facilitate learning the campers gather in small groups with information about animals that can be purchased through ELCA Good Gifts.   They design a skit to share with the rest of the campers how a cow, for example, can help nourish a family and community in another country.  Then on Thursday the campers can donate money from their canteen cards towards the mission project.  At closing worship on Friday parents and campers alike find out how much money was raised that week and what animals will be purchased with the money.  As a way to tie into our summer Bible study we’ve put up a huge ark in the chapel to which we adhere the animals purchased throughout the summer.  The weeks we’ve been able to purchase a cow for $500 have been particularly exciting, but we’ve celebrated every animal with lots of applause.  We expect that our focus on hunger education this summer will be change lives and enhance communities once campers leave camp.

Erika Page
Camp Director
Crossways – Pine Lake Camp

Examining World Hunger at Lake Wapogasset (Ox Lake)

This is the fourth in a series of posts highlighting hunger-related activities happening at ELCA Outdoor Ministry locations with the help of Education/Advocacy grants from ELCA World Hunger. The following is from Lake Wapo Lutheran Camp in Wisconsin.


The new opportunities that our ELCA World Hunger Education/Advocacy grant has provided have been extremely beneficial to Ox Lake’s program this summer.  We have been able to use these resources to further Ox’s commitment to being thoughtful of how we live in and care for our world and its resources.  One of our projects has been focused on water.

We purchased two rain barrels and constructed a rainwater collection system on one of our dining halls.  After the first rainstorm we were amazed to see how much water can be collected!  We installed the second barrel closer to the garden, and connected it to the first barrel with a 100-foot hose. Water drains from the first barrel into the second, which we use to water the garden. When the second barrel is full, the first barrel then fills. We use water from the first barrel in the kitchen.  Because of the rainy summer we’ve had at camp and because the system works really well, we’ve been able to water our garden entirely from our rainwater collection system.  We’ve also been able to challenge campers to think about the resource of water and how – and how much – they use it.  Activities designed to illustrate the difficulties many people face distributing and transporting water have further challenged our campers to think about access to clean water.

We also wanted to show the cycle of food, and to discuss the problem of waste and pollution.  We were able to purchase materials to build two different types of compost systems.  Each system shows kids the benefits of composting.  We built a barrel-compost for organic waste from meal preparation and table scraps.  It’s been neat showing kids how organic material breaks down over time.  We empty the broken down material back into the garden.  Explaining to kids that the nutrients from the broken down compost helps our garden grow brings them full circle.  We also constructed a fenced-in, pile-compost used primarily for lawn clippings, garden material, weeds and vegetation etc.  We’ve been able to ask kids about where their waste goes.  We’ve been able to challenge them to think about alternatives to discarding their waste (esp. organic material) in trash cans.

Overall, these additions to the Ox Lake Village Program have challenged campers and staff alike to see that how we live affects our neighbors that live next door and people across the world.  As we seek to love our neighbors as ourselves, we believe that it is essential to think about how we can be better stewards of all that God has given us, and these projects have helped us do that.

Tony Schaden and Sam Pertz

Examining World Hunger at El Camino Pines

This is the third in a series of posts highlighting hunger-related activities happening at ELCA Outdoor Ministry locations with the help of Education/Advocacy grants from ELCA World Hunger. Today’s post comes from El Camino Pines in Frazier Park, California.


The game begins. The clock starts counting down. 120…119…118. We only have two minutes! I grab a ball and throw it across at the other team. I’m dodging items as if my life depended on it. I never thought a simple game of dodge ball could be so intense. I’m dodging, ducking, and jumping all over the place. In an open room, there is nowhere to hide. If I catch the ball, the person who threw it is out. But if I am hit I am out, and I am asked to leave the court. Sounds simple. But then more is added to it. We have stuffed mosquitoes flying around the room. If a mosquito hits me, I am told that I can continue to play, but I must play sitting. This rule seems a little odd, but I continue to play. 10… I notice that there aren’t many people left in the game. 9… All the sudden I feel like I am a deer in headlights. 8… I run and jump as if this is the last seconds of my life 7… I pick up a mosquito and aim for my opponent’s ankles. 6… I missed. 5… I look up. 4… 3… 2… 1. I was hit.

But it’s not the fact that I was hit that is really disappointing me. It’s that that one hit represents malaria infection rates. I had become a statistic. We play two more times, both of which we were able to heal ourselves with slips of papers that represent money or medicine. Once, my team had an abundance of money and medicine, and the other game, we did not. This showed us how much something like money and medicine can make a difference. It’s something that I don’t think about often. But I am blessed to live a life where I know that if I get sick, that I have the resources to take care of myself, and I don’t have to worry too much. This game helped to show me that not everyone is that fortunate.

After playing dodge ball, we processed the game, and learned a lot about the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. Some facts were shocking, such as that a child dies from malaria every 45 seconds. But other facts were helpful! Knowing that there are very simple steps that can be taken to help control malaria is a very positive thing. And even though I am young, we talked about ways that I can make a difference! Here at camp, we make many friendship bracelets. We usually make them for the friends we make at camp, and we trade them away as a reminder of our week here. But camp is doing this really cool thing where we can make friendship bracelets to help with malaria in Africa! The program is called Knots for Nets. What we can do is make friendship bracelets, take them to our friends, families, neighbors, and congregations, and ask them for a $10 dollar donation towards Knots for Nets in exchange for a friendship bracelet! The $10 will go towards buying a bed net for our friends in Africa, so that they can sleep at night, without having to worry about being bit by a malaria infested mosquito. And in return, they will have a bracelet as a continual reminder of the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. I’ve already started working on my bracelets! Have you?

For more information:

Sierra Ronning
El Camino Pines

Editor’s Note: The Lutheran Malaria Initiative is a 5-year campaign within ELCA World Hunger. It’s goals are to expand the work of the church in addressing malaria, to provide an opportunity for current ELCA World Hunger supporters to deepen their engagement, and to invite new people and congregtation into the work of ELCA World Hunger.

Examining World Hunger at Mar-Lu-Ridge

This is the second in a series of posts highlighting hunger-related activities happening at ELCA Outdoor Ministry locations with the help of Education/Advocacy grants from ELCA World Hunger. Today’s post comes from Mar-Lu-Ridge in Jefferson, Maryland.


As I write this, we are receiving the first rains in 4 weeks. Our temperatures in Maryland have been as high as 100 degrees, but all is well and our campers have happily watered our new garden every day. The idea for our Garden of Hope sprang from our summer curriculum, Keeping the Earth, and from our desire to involve our campers in hands-on activities as they learn more about how food grows and eventually ends up on their plates. Playing in the dirt seemed like the perfect fit. Funding from the ELCA World Hunger’s Education/Advocacy grant allowed us to establish a garden in our day camp area. We installed a 7.5 foot high deer fence, so that any veggies grown could make it to the local soup kitchens, not into the bellies of our resident deer population. Despite the heat and lack of rain, we have some tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and squash coming on the vine. While our harvest will be small this first season, our campers have had the chance to plant, tend and learn about their food. We encourage them to take these lessons home, and help their families establish similar gardens. Painting boards to decorate the garden is another favorite activity – it’s looking good!

Twirling the compost tumbler has become a daily activity for our campers in the mountain-top section of our property. There is no good soil for a garden here, but these campers see the garden when they hike to Area 3 each week for a sleep-out. Lessons about composting are taught in Nature each week as well. The coolest thing that is happening in this area of camp is the daily opportunity to contribute a quarter to ELCA World Hunger when they visit the store each day. A running tally is kept, groups try to outdo each other, and when the weekly total is announced, they are all amazed at what they have done. So far this summer, we have raised $200 in quarters!

As we learn to care for our brothers and sisters in need, we remember one of our summer verses: “I have come that you might have life – life in all is abundance.” John 10:10b

Sarah Lefler
Director of Operations

Examining World Hunger at Lutherhill Ministries

Each year ELCA World Hunger provides funding through our Education/Advocacy grants to organizations working to educate Lutherans and others on the root causes of and solutions for world hunger, or organizations advocating on behalf of those who live in hunger and poverty. In 2010, ELCA World Hunger worked with ELCA Outdoor Ministries to provide Education/Advocacy grants to eleven Outdoor Ministry locations. The money is being used to help campers learn about world hunger, its causes, and solutions. Beginning with this post, on second and fourth Fridays we will highlight a few of the projects being conducted with these funds. Today’s post comes from Lutherhill Ministries in La Grange, Texas.


Spiritually Fed

Greetings from Lutherhill Ministries in La Grange, Texas!    The weather is hot and humid here in our neck of the woods, and storm clouds seem to linger overhead daily.  While others grumble as they are called out of the pool – we are quietly elated as the fresh rain soaks our new garden!

As a grateful recipient of an ELCA World Hunger Education/Advocacy grant, we are excited to share our happenings with you! This summer, every Lutherhill camper participates in the Daily Bread Project. The Daily Bread Project includes a garden, compost pile, recycling program, hunger meal, Daily Bread worship and more.  We experience as a community the emptiness that comes with hunger and poverty. And as a community we experience the fullness that comes when we fulfill God’s call to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. Here’s a taste…

Hunger Meal

As campers, staff and sponsors enter the dining hall for Wednesday lunch, each draw a colored marble. These marbles represent their lunch destiny, but more importantly they represent the distribution of food resources across the world.

The lunch-time experience helps youth explore hunger first hand – 65% eat rice on the floor, 20% eat rice and chicken on the floor, 10% eat pasta in chairs and 5% eat a three course meal at a table setting. As campers seated on the floor wait, kitchen staff graciously serve those at the head table. After this upper class is served, the others are haphazardly served their meager meals.

Reactions are intriguing. Some weeks campers are eager to share their food; other weeks campers turn inward, more concerned about eating their own lunch; other times campers linger on the verge of getting it, of pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone.

Food for Thought

The hunger meal becomes a topic for discussion throughout the day.  We walk together in frustration and disappointment and come out on the other side equipped and empowered. Simple lessons from the garden, compost, worship and more give us the tools to abate hunger locally and globally.  To date we’ve collected $560.92 in offerings for ELCA World Hunger and gathered 675 canned goods for local food banks in 9 communities.

Surrounded by abundance, love takes on a different shape than it does in the midst of poverty and hunger. The Daily Bread Project gives us the chance to explore Christ’s love in the middle of both!

For more information on The Daily Bread Project contact Geoff Roach, Daily Bread Coordinator at