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ELCA World Hunger

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 Luther Point

This is the sixth 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 week’s post is from Luther Point Bible Camp in Grantsburg, Wisconsin.


Outdoor ministry is, at its core, about growth. Many of the campers start their week either not wanting to be at camp or thinking that they have been here so many times they think they cannot possibly get something new out of the experience. Yet God works in wonderful ways and by the end of the week most do not want to leave. Whether it is the relationship with their counselor, the worship experiences, or the exciting games, walls are broken down and the campers are opened up to new understandings our connections with God, creation, and each other. 

Here at Luther Point we were able to watch and wait as a garden grew this summer, thanks to the Education/Advocacy Grant from ELCA World Hunger. There was much patience and unknown throughout the process, as well as some not so fun work in some very warm weather. In spite of the weeds, rain, and humidity, there is something very refreshing about being able to see growth in a garden. Watching a tomato or a green pepper develop gives a sense not only of accomplishment, but also of gratefulness. 

Most importantly, the growth of our garden helped our campers to grow this summer.   They could see the parallels between the growth of a garden and the growth of faith and come to a new understanding of God in their own lives. Moreover, they went home with a new realization that they do actually have a voice when it comes to world hunger and that they can take steps against it in fairly simple ways. 

The produce grown in our garden was sold at our annual Summer Celebration at the end of our summer season. We set up a Farmer’s Market in addition to our traditional craft and quilt auction and many supporters of Luther Point happily walked away with some fresh and beautiful food. We ended up selling over $500 of produce, all of which will go to ELCA World Hunger.

Jesse Weiss
Program Coordinator
Luther Point Bible Camp

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