North Carolina Anti-Hunger Conference Draws 750

HNP Communications In the Headlines

RALEIGH, N.C. — More than 750 people turned out recently for an anti-hunger conference last month, sponsored by The Franciscan Coalition for Justice and Peace, a ministry of the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi here.

The Feb. 27 to 28 interfaith conference, designed to provide comprehensive and innovative approaches to combating hunger, drew people from up and down the East Coast, according to Patricia Mahoney, the parish’s communications specialist. 

Most turned out to hear David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and global leader in advocacy on behalf of the hungry, give his keynote address. 

Distinguished hunger advocates also facilitated workshops on global hunger, national hunger, climate change and hunger, the human face of hunger in documentary film, vulnerable populations, hunger and malnutrition, hunger advocacy and public policy, and student activism on hunger.

raleigh3-18-09The conference opened on Friday night with an OxFam Hunger Banquet, an experiential component that highlighted the disparity of access to food across the globe, followed by a special video presentation from documentary filmmaker Gerry Straub, according to Mahoney.

On Friday night and Saturday afternoon, the gathering closed with prayer services reflecting the diverse faith communities represented at the conference.

Beckmann and key ecclesial leaders from North Carolina also held a roundtable discussion that included Michael Burbidge, bishop of Raleigh, and Mark Reamer, OFM, and David McBriar, OFM, from St. Francis of Assisi. Clergy leaders offered insights and experiences from their faith traditions and church communities on the issue of hunger. 

Mark, pastor at St. Francis, said: “Especially during this season of Lent, the Holy Spirit moves in us, compelling us to help our neighbors, whether they live in the next house, the next state, or the next continent. Food is a basic need, and it is unjust that so many people must go without enough to eat.”

Megan Nerz, director of Pastoral Ministries at St. Francis and organizer of the conference, said: “There is no doubt about the fact that we can end hunger … the challenge is and continues to be how to empower people with the political will needed to make real progress.”