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.
Director of Day Camp Ministries
Mt. Cross Ministries