Friday, February 12, 2016

Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces Receives Advocacy Award

Picture (left to right): Rev. Ron Brooker (retired pastor, member of Peace Lutheran Church, and member of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM policy committee), the Rev. Jared Carson (pastor of Peace Lutheran Church), Ellen Young (writer, member of Peace, and an advocate active in LAM-NM and Bread for the World). 

Display at Peace Lutheran
Judy Messal, chair of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico's policy committee (standing at the far right in the picture), offered these remarks at the ceremony where members of Peace Lutheran Church were honored for their advocacy work.  The award presentation was part of LAM-NM's annual bishop's luncheon in Santa Fe on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016.  (Peace Lutheran Church as been participating in Bread for the World's Offering of Letters.

(In 2016, members of the church wrote 87 letters to Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Rep. Steve Pearce urging for the Child Nutrition Act to be reauthorized).

It is my great pleasure to speak about Peace Lutheran Church of Las Cruces: this year's recipient of the Chris and John Haaland Advocacy Award. The award was created to honor the Haalands, whose  passion for justice was instrumental in establishing our Lutheran Advocacy Ministry here in New Mexico.

Past recipients of the award have been the following:
Ivan Westergaard, supporter of Lutheran advocacy, leader in Albuquerque Interfaith
• And Carlos Navarro, New Mexico Coordinator for Bread for the World.

Now, Peace Lutheran Church, we recognize the steadfast advocacy work you have done. Since the first year of Lutheran advocacy in New Mexico 1984, you have been involved—both your clergy and the people of your congregation have supported us.  

Members of Peace had been leaders in our statewide ministry. Throughout our 32 years, there has always been a member of Peace on our Policy Committee.  But you didn’t stop there. You have an active, even a model, Bread for the World ministry advocating just policies to alleviate hunger in the United States and abroad.

Your members also have been active advocates in your community on matters affecting homeless children, immigrants, and others.

I also want to mention the Border Service Corps, a program your congregation-- relatively small at the time--had the courage to establish in the 1990s. The program provides opportunities for young people of various faith backgrounds-- from the U.S. and even abroad--to serve people on the U.S./Mexico border. Living simply together, earning only small stipends, they work in daycare programs for homeless children, in health clinics and ACLU offices, in Catholic Charities legal services, in food pantries, in Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and more.

And finally, as advocates, they work toward systemic change.

In all these ways, Peace Lutheran Church, your faithful advocacy inspires us.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

State Legislative Update from the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry

The following update from the 2016 session of the New Mexico State Legislature comes from Ruth Hoffman, director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico.

Summary of the major bills relating to the LAM-NM Advocacy Agenda 
(Bills LAM-NM supports are "green" & bills we oppose are "red") 

The estimates of state revenue are dismal! 
This means that the state budget for the next fiscal year will be very lean and the budget for the current fiscal year is underfunded. It is crucial that the state budget not be balanced by making deep cuts in the programs that impact the lives of our many neighbors living in poverty. HB2, the state budget bill, has passed the House and is now in the Senate Finance Committee. 

Affordable Housing & Homelessness: 
SB63 (Sen. Nancy Rodriguez) Requests an appropriation of $5 million for the State Housing Trust Fund which provides funding to build affordable housing projects around the state. SB63 is in the Senate Finance Committee.

SB202 (Sen. Bill O'Neill) Adds "homelessness" as a protected group in the NM Hate Crimes Act. SB202 was tabled in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB59 & HB88 (Rep. Tomas Salazar) Request a total of $4.5 million for transitional/permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing and other services. No new funding for these programs is included in the current version of HB2, the state budget bill.

Family-Sustaining Income
LAM-NM is supporting increasing the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families monthly cash assistance amount.

No increase is included in the current version of HB2, the state budget bill.

SJR2 (Sen. Michael Padilla)
This constitutional amendment would allow an increase in the distribution from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to fund quality early childhood programs. SJR2 passed the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now in the Senate Finance Committee.

HJR11 (Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero)
This constitutional amendment would have asked voters to approve putting a cap of 36% on loans in our state. HJR11 was tabled in the House Business & Employment Committee.

Health Care
LAM-NM is advocating for adequate funding for the state Medicaid program. The current version of the HB2, the state budget bill, includes about a $40 million cut to the Medicaid program.

HB191 (Rep. Dennis Roch & Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto) and SB217 (Sen. Benny Shendo & Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage) Would create the profession of dental therapist. These bills have not been ruled germane for consideration in this session.

SB52 (Sen. Nancy Rodriguez) Requests $400,000 for the State SNAP Supplement Program which serves over 11,000 seniors and people with disabilities by increasing their basic SNAP amount to at least $25. We are advocating for funding to increase the minimum amount to $30 per month. SB52 is in the Senate Finance Committee. Funding to increase the monthly minimum amount to $28 is included in the current version of HB2, the state budget bill.

Tax Policy
HB79 (Rep. Bill McCamley) Would increase the state Working Families Tax Credit from 10% to 20% of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and to repeal the capital gains tax deduction. HB79 passed the House Business & Employment Committee without recommendation and was tabled in the House Ways & Means Committee.

HB99, as amended ( Rep. Paul Pacheco) HB99 passed the House and was amended in the Senate Public Affairs Committee to reflect the provisions in SB256 (Sens. John Arthur Smith & Stuart Ingle). HB99, as amended, passed that committee by a vote of 8-1 and then passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. The amendments provide for a 2 tier license system. Residents can choose to get a REAL ID drivers license if they need one or choose to get a drivers privilege card. Drivers privilege cards would be available to both legal residents and undocumented residents. HB99 is now in the Senate Finance Committee.

Criminal Justice
SB140 (Sen. Mary Kay Papen) Would prohibit solitary confinement for juveniles and people with a serious mental illness and would require prisons, jails and detention centers to report information about who is held in solitary confinement. SB140 has not been ruled germane for consideration in this session.

SJR1 (Sen. Peter Wirth & Sen. Sander Rue) This is a constitutional amendment for bail reform. SJR1 would allow judges to deny bail for dangerous arrestees and also prohibit keep arrestees who are not deemed dangerous from being held in jail only because they can't afford bail. SJR1 passed the Senate Floor by a vote of 29-9, has passed the House Judiciary Committee and is how in the House Regulatory & Public Affairs Committee.

LAM-NM will advocating on legislation relating to our 2016 Advocacy Agenda. We work in an advocacy partnership with the NM Conference of Churches and the Presbytery of Santa Fe.

Watch for LAM-NM Advocacy Updates and Action Alerts! Forward our Updates to others that might be interested in these issues using the link at the end of this email.

Thank you for your advocacy actions!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Steve Garnaas-Holmes: Ashes

I have a small vial of clay
that used to hold my father’s ashes.
They’re on a hillside in Montana now;
the vial is clean and empty,
ready for me.

I should keep it in my pocket,
hold it deep in the folds of my coat,
until I am folded into my little vial of clay.

It asks me, what is the difference
between you and clay?
The answer is water.
That, and love.

The little vial of clay says daily: drink water while you can, and love. +

-Steve Garnaas-Holmes
from Unfolding Light blog

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Team Denver Also Won ELCA Challenge

In the days leading to the Super Bowl, Bishop Jim Gonia of the Rocky Mountain Synod (Team Denver) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) issued a challenge to Bishops Timothy Smith of the North Carolina Synod and Herman Yoos of the South Carolina Synod (together as Team Carolina) to see who could raise more money for the ELCA World Hunger Program,

The Denver Broncos won the real contest over the Carolina Panthers, 24-10. In the Team ELCA Campaign, the Team Denver Broncos squeaked out a victory over the Team Carolina Panthers despite a numerical disadvantage (165 ELCA congregations in the Rocky Mountain Synod, including 22 in New Mexico vs. more than 300 congregations in the combined North Carolina-South Carolina Synods),  

The Final Score: Team Denver $38,671 Team Carolina $34,697 The alternate score: The two synods surpassed the goal of raising a joint $50,000 or more. Winner: The ELCA World Hunger Program and everyone around the world who benefits from the agency's services.  Here are more details

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Albuquerque Offering of Letters Workshop on March 12

Please join us on Saturday, March 12, for our 2016 Offering of Letters workshop, at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 5301 Ponderosa NE (map) 9:30 - 12:00 Noon.

This year's letter-writing campaign, entitled "Survive and Thrive," urges Congress to prioritize support for  global maternal and child health programs, emphasizing nutrition. We will view the video for this year's campaign, review resource materials and answer questions.

Our featured speaker  is Hellen M. Mbithi, a pediatric nurse at the University of New Mexico's Children's Hopsital. Hellen, a member of St. John XXIII Catholic Community in Albuquerque, was born and raised in the small village of Ngai, in the Eastern Province of Kenya(See her full biography below).  She will tell us more  about how a lack of nutrition in for mothers and infants can impact the development of children. Hellen wil also tell us about the challenges of rural communities like hers in finding adequate health care, and how she is working to improve access to medical care in Ngai.

In 2015, 20 churches in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Gallup and Truchas participated in our Offering of Letters, generating more than 2,000 letters to Congress on an initiative to renew the Child Nutrition Act and protect feeding programs for children. We hope to match or increase the numbers this year, both in terms of the number of participating churches and the number of letters generated to Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Rep. Steve Pearce, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, Sen. Tom Udall, and Sen. Martin Heinrich.  We have created an Event on Facebook for the Offering of Letters workshop. 

Our Featured Speaker
Hellen M. Mbithi was born and raised in the small village of Ngai, in the Eastern Province of Kenya, in Eastern  Africa. After completing secondary school, she travelled to the capital city of Nairobi to train as a nurse. After graduating with an associate’s degree in nursing from the Cicely McDonnell School of Nursing in 2003, Hellen worked as a Registered Nurse and Midwife. She worked at Nairobi Hospital and Muthale Mission Hospital between 2003-2006.

In 2007 Hellen journeyed to the United States and after passing the NCLEX started working as a RN in Texas. She later worked as a travel nurse visiting several states specializing in dialysis.

In 2009, Hellen was attracted to the warm desert climate of New Mexico. She began working at Fresenius Medical care in 2009. Since 2010, she has also worked in pediatric infusion and dialysis at The University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital. Hellen enjoys taking care of both adults and pediatric patients, compassionately helping those with acute and chronic renal conditions.

Hellen has a passion to help the poor and the sick. Having lived in Kenya most of her life, Hellen knows first-hand what it feels like to go to bed on an empty stomach. This first hand experience inspires her to work hard to bring needed changes in her village. Having witnessed so many children die of malnutrition, and having witnessed pregnant mothers or their babies being lost in childbirth - Hellen has a passion to save lives as a nurse and a midwife.

Reflections for the Jubilee Year of Mercy

On Dec. 8, 2015, Pope Francis launched the Jubilee Year of Mercy, an effort to focus the mission of the church and of the faithful on mercy and forgiveness rather than on judgment. This is a call for both individuals and for the institution. Here are a couple of quotes on mercy, including one from Pope Francis.

Photo via Norbertine Community of Santa Maria de la Vid
Mercy is not a virtue that you choose to put on one day. Mercy has to be your deepest way of seeing, a generosity of spirit that draws from your identity, your deepest dignity, which is love. It is basically a worldview of abundance, wherein I do not have to withhold, protect, or hoard myself.   -Rev. Richard Rohr OFM

The mystery of divine mercy is revealed in the history of the covenant between God and his people Israel. God shows himself ever rich in mercy, ever ready to treat his people with deep tenderness and compassion, especially at those tragic moments when infidelity ruptures the bond of the covenant, which then needs to be ratified more firmly in justice and truth. Here is a true love story, in which God plays the role of the betrayed father and husband, while Israel plays the unfaithful child and bride. These domestic images – as in the case of Hosea (cf. Hos 1-2) – show to what extent God wishes to bind himself to his people.  -Pope Francis (from message for Lent, 2016)

Saturday, February 06, 2016

The Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016

Bread for the World is beginning to promote the 2016 Offering of Letters,  "Survive and Thrive," which will address maternal and child nutrition at the global level. The Bread website has more information, and we will address the topic in future blog posts. And mark your calendar for the Offering of Letters workshop in Albuquerque on Saturday, March 12.

Work Continues on Child Nutrition Reauthorization
Our advocacy work continues on the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which was the topic of our 2015 Offering of Letters.  Our letters urged the House and Senate to reauthorize the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 before its expiration date of September 30, 2015. The deadline passed and Congress did not reauthorize this important initiative, which takes several steps forward to ensure that low-income children can participate in child nutrition programs and receive the meals.

The lack of reauthorization did not mean that the important programs went away. "We've been assured that child nutrition programs willcontinue to serve the nutritional needs of children beyond their expiration," said the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

Here's why reauthorization is important...

"Congress has a unique opportunity to close the hunger gap and improve national nutrition programs...," said FRAC.

"Feeding America is leading the effort to pass a stronger Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) 2016 in Congress," said the organization.

An Initiative from the Senate Agriculture Committee
Because of strong advocacy efforts from supporters of FRAC, Feeding America, Bread for the World and other anti-hunger advocates, there is movement in the Senate... On January 20, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed Child Nutrition Reauthorization “The Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016” otherwise known as the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR).This strengthened CNR will work to feed millions of children during the summer months and streamline current child feeding programs.

Here's what FRAC says:We are pleased to see that the bill takes a number of steps in the right direction to make good programs even better. Yet, the bill also reveals that our work is not finished. In particular, a new verification framework featured in the bill could threaten to increase the number of eligible low-income children who could lose access to healthy school meals.  Read FRAC's full statement

What about the House?  The movement is not as advanced in the House, but we expect that matter will come up soon, possibly in the House Agriculture Committee (where Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham serves).

Take Action
So what can you do?  Advocacy Organizations have provided an opportunity to contact our Senators (Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich or your own Senator) and House member (Michelle Lujan Grisham, Ben Ray Lujan, Steve Pearce or your own House member).  Send your legislators a note via these links: Feeding America  and  Bread for the WorldThis FRAC site has good background for you to write a note to Congress.  Stay tuned for updates

Friday, February 05, 2016

Learn About Roadrunner Food Bank's Program to Link Health and Hunger


Quarterly Meeting on Tuesday, February 9  12 Noon

First Presbyterian Church (I-25 and Martin Luther King Blvd.)

Alissa Barnes, director of Community Initiatives at Roadrunner Food Bank, will talk about the food bank's new program on health and hunger.  Alissa is a member of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition's Advocacy Committee.

Our Education and Advocacy Committees will also present updates of their work over the past several weeks.  We are also seeking volunteers to serve on a committee to plan an Interfaith Service for World Food Day on Sunday, October 16, 2016

Data shows us that food insecurity and health go hand in hand. Food-insecure individuals are more likely to experience colds, stomach aches and migraines and suffer from generally poorer health than food secure individuals. In 2014, Feeding America conducted the Hunger in America study and found some staggering statistics  about New Mexico’s pantry clients:

  • Nearly half (46%) report being in poor or fair health;
  • 59% report choosing between paying for medicine or medical care or buying food at least once in the past 12 months;
  • 44% of hungry households said they have medical bills to pay, and;
  • 75% report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food as the most common way to have at least some food at home to eat.
As a food bank , we are focused on addressing Health and Wellness and leading in the national trend of food banks partnering with health organizations. We were pleased to share some of our Health and Wellness Initiatives with the Beyond Flexner Conference.  The conference brought a group of medical students, educators, and physicians together  to discuss social determinants of health.

Working Together for a Healthy and Well Nourished New Mexico

Thursday, February 04, 2016

A Free Healthy Meal Seven Days a Week for Children and Youth in Albuquerque

Are you between the ages of 3 to 18 or have a child who is in that age range? If so, you can receive a free healthy meal at the Presbyterian Hospital cafeteria between 1:00 and 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.

The cafeteria is located on level 5-2, north side of the hospital, located at 1100 Central Ave. SE (map)

No identification is necessary, and any child or youth of 3-18 years of age qualifies.

You will need to order from a cashier and sign a log showing that you received a meal. The meal must be eaten at the hospital. A voucher is not necessary. 

The program is sponsored by Presbyterian Community Health.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Survive and Thrive: The 2016 Offering of Letters

Ending hunger means more than just providing enough food and calories for everyone. Side by side with the need for sufficient food to live an active life is the need for the right foods — for good nutrition. A diet drawing from all food groups that is rich with vitamins and minerals is crucial for the health, growth, and strength of both bodies and minds. Focusing on women and young children is important because these groups are the most vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition. Nearly half of the world’s smallholder farmers are women, with higher rates in developing countries.   -Bread for the World
Our 2016 Offering of Letters Campaign, "Survive and Thrive," urges Congress to prioritize support for maternal and child health programs, emphasizing nutrition. Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals  is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. It includes targets to reduce global maternal mortality and to end preventable child deaths.

Malnutrition is the cause of 45 percent of all preventable child deaths and contributes to many maternal deaths.

Through the 2016 Offering of Letters, churches would urge Congress to increase funding for the nutrition and health of mothers, newborns, and young children. In 2015, funding for nutrition in the global health account was $115 million—a slight increase from previous years. Bread and its partners believe a funding level of $230 million for nutrition programs is needed for 2016. Increasing U.S. investment in global maternal and child nutrition is central to successful development and helps improve the potential of millions of people.

As part of our campaign, we will urge Congress to pass the Global Food Security Act, which continues U.S. investments in improving nutrition and increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers. For example, food-aid reform will also provide an opportunity to improve nutrition among mothers and children. There will also be an international Nutrition for Growth summit this summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There, governments could decide to make significant new political and financial commitments. Bread is urging Congress to push for those commitments. 

Albuquerque Offering of Letters Workshop
Stay tuned for details about the Offering of Letters workshop in Albuquerque, scheduled for Saturday, March 12, 2016.  Last year, 20 churches generated more than 2000 letters to Congress in support of efforts to increase domestic nutrition programs.  

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bishop Jim Gonia's Super Bowl (and World Hunger) Challenge

If you are a football fan (and even if you're not), you are probably aware by now that the two teams vying in Super Bowl 50 are the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers (based in Charlotte, N.C.).

According to oddsmakers, the Panthers are favored to win this game.  But that's not the line we care about. What's important is the BIG GAME challenge that Bishop Jim Gonia of the Rocky Mountain Synod (Team Denver) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) made to fellow Bishops Timothy Smith of the North Carolina Synod and Herman Yoos of the South Carolina Synod (together as Team Carolina) to raise funds for the ELCA World Hunger Program.  (A similar challenge was made to the Northwest Synod, when the Broncos played the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 48)..

Bishop Gonia issued his challenge to Bishops Smith and Yoos via the Team ELCA campaign, which allows individuals and supporters of and advocates for ELCA ministries, to invite friends, family and connections to “join the team” in support of the ministries that  they support.

Things didn't get off to a good start for Team Denver. "I just found out that as of 10 p.m. on January 28, TEAM CAROLINA has raised $3055 and TEAM DENVER has raised just $955!" said Coach Gonia.

Of course, QB Gonia did not mention that TEAM DENVER faces a numerical disadvantage to TEAM Carolina. There are 165 ELCA congregations in the Rocky Mountain Synod, including 22 in New Mexico. In contrast the combined North Carolina-South Carolina Synods together represent more than 300 churches. Hardly fair, right? But that's beside the point. The three synods are on the same team to raise a combined $50,000 during the Super Bowl season for the ELCA World Hunger program. The combined total of slightly more than $4,000 as of Jan. 28 was way short of the goal. [Update: as of Jan. 30, The Rocky Mountain Synod Broncos were closing in. The score was $3,910 for TEAM CAROLINA and $3,360 for TEAM DENVER (click here for the latest score)]

Here's where you can help:
Give an online gift for TEAM DENVER
Give an online gift for TEAM CAROLINA

Note: You don't have to be an ELCA member or a member of one of those synods to participate.
Enlist supporters on Twitter using the #ELCABigGame hashtag

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fourth Annual New Mexico Food and Farms Day Scheduled for Wednesday, February 3, in Santa Fe

The New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council invites you to the Fourth Annual New Mexico Food and Farms Day at the State Capital.  The event is held in conjunction with  New Mexico School Nutrition Day, Cooking With Kids Day and the New Mexico Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Day at the Legislature.

"New Mexico has a vibrant food and farming culture that is significant to our rural economy and provides employment opportunities on farm; in direct, wholesale, and retail opportunities; in food processing, distribution, value-added businesses," said Pam Roy, coordinator of the NMFAC and Farm to Table.

"As a broad based group of partners and participants, we're highlighting the Farm to School movement in New Mexico and the many schools that buy fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers, school food service who care about providing meals with New Mexico grown produce, and most important, students who learn to incorporate fresh produce in their diets and enjoy experiential learning through programs like Cooking with Kids, Kids Cook, school gardens and more," added Roy. "Our children have the opportunity to enjoy New Mexico grown fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals and snack programs."

The day will include:
8:00 - 9:00am
Education Through Advocacy, room 324 at the State Capital - Participants will get a brief overview of the New Mexico legislative process before launching into a morning of fast paced activities. By Invite Only

8:30 - 11:00am
In the East Wing of the Capital (next to the Rotunda), organizations and agencies will share information and educate the public about their programs and their relationship to each other and the goals and purpose of the Day and beyond.

9:00 - 9:45am
Celebrate the 1st Annual Farm to School Award Ceremony and Press Conference. At the Rotunda, this special awards ceremony will recognize key individuals and their organizations for their work in creating educational programs in schools for children to learn about the world of food and gardening; food service and food entrepreneurs who have, through innovation and policy, changed the rules to be able to partner with local farmers to buy the freshest local produce for school meals; and, farmers who have been on the front lines for change by building partnerships with schools to purchase locally grown produce and paving the path for others. This will be the first on many occasions to honor leaders, risk takers, innovators, and believers.

10:00 - 12 noon
The New Mexico Legislature will honor New Mexico Food ad Farms Day, New Mexico School Nutrition Day, and Cooking with Kids Day in both the House and Senate Chambers. Policymakers will highlight the importance of these events and most importantly will recognize individuals and organizations for their efforts in building an important aspect of food, farming, and health initiatives in New Mexico.

12:30 - 3:00pm
Round Table celebration, discussion, and next steps by all of the groups and individuals involved. We ask ourselves what we learned, how it builds relationships and coordination, and what we commit to doing moving forward. Our discussion includes providing lunch. Venue TBD (more information forthcoming)

The organizations joining in the celebration include: New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council, Farm to Table, New Mexico School Nutrition Association, Siete Del Norte, Cooking with Kids, Mid Rio Grande Council of Governments, New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service, New Mexico Dietetics Association, New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association, Santa Fe Food Policy Council, FoodCorps, Community Outreach Patient Empowerment (COPE - a Navajo Nation Coalition and youth group NCHO), Dine Food Sovereignty Alliance, and more.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Artists of Artstreet to Showcase Works During February

Images (left to right, top to bottom) Joe Goss, Tony & Julianna Pelletier, Sarah Sadler, R.L. Vallier, Brennan Diem
On Friday, February 5, the Harwood Art Center will open a gallery featuring works from the artists of ArtStreet through an exhibit entitled Recycled Heart. The annual showing brings the injustice of poverty and homelessness together while capturing the diverse, distinct, and highly individual response of the ArtStreet Artists to community chosen themes. The public is invited to the gallery opening, which will take place at 6:00-8:00 pm. 

The works will be on display on February 5-25 at the Harwood Center, 7th St. and Mountain Rd. NW (map), Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am- 5:00 pm, and 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Fridays.  

ArtStreet, celebrating its 20 years of service, is a project of Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless. The space gives artists – homeless and housed –– a common forum to share their experiences, coming together to make art and organize public exhibits like this. One component of the ArtStreet program is a community based open art studio.
"ArtStreet artists channel the potential within themselves and within discarded objects to create something new. They quickly learn to see media in a fresh way, enabling them to transform raw materials into works of art."   -from Recycled Heart post card
The exhibit is made possible in part with funding from the City of Albuquerque, City of Albuquerque Urban Enhancement Trust Fund, New Mexico Arts (a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs), the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Harwood Art Center of Escuela del Sol Montessori. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Members of Albuquerque Synagogues Serve Meals at Homeless Shelters on Christmas Day

By Michelle Radden-Vogler

For the past four years, members of several Jewish synagogues in Albuquerque; Congregation Nahalat Shalom, Temple Albert and B’nai Israel, have been preparing and serving breakfast meals to homeless people in our community on Christmas day and Easter Sunday. Volunteers from many different faith communities in Albuquerque also participate.

This year, Nahalat Shalom hosted the meal at the Good Shepherd Center and Congregation Albert prepared and served breakfast at St. Martin's Hospitality (in much of the same manner as on Christmas Day, 2014)

As members of the Jewish community we are providing this service so that those Christians who regularly work at the Good Shepherd Center have the opportunity to celebrate these important holidays with their families or in ways that are meaningful to them.

We are also participating in the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam, a Hebrew term defined as ‘acts of kindness through human actions that help to repair the world’. Through these actions we seek to transform our broken world so that it reflect the divine values of justice and compassion.

The challenges of hunger, homelessness and poverty are huge issues that must involve all of us- from different faith communities and belief systems—in fact from every aspect of society.

We are grateful to be part of these efforts within our community as well as the many social justice projects affecting our world today.

The photos in this blog post were taken on Christmas day 2015 at Good Shepherd Homeless Center. The center, located in downtown Albuquerque, serves over 300 meals every day of the year to people in need. Brother Gerard Sullivan and all the fine members of the Center provide a variety of programs that assist people in lifting themselves out of homelessness and poverty.

The author is a member of Nahalat Shalom and a participant in the Interfaith Hunger Coalition.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturday Morning Tweets: Global Hunger in 2016...House Hunger Caucus...Hunger in New York...The Storehouse Seeks Volunteers

FAO Releases Hunger Projections for 2016
Millions more people globally are facing the threat of severe food and water shortages in early 2016 as droughts and flooding devastate crops and strain a humanitarian system already struggling to meet needs, aid agencies warned.

The weather disturbances caused by this year’s El Niño, described by the United Nations as the worst in nearly two decades, come as conflict and persecution drive the number of people forced to flee their homes to a record of more than 60 million.  -World Economic Forum, via Thomson Reuters
Link to Article

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan, Meets with Constituents
Rep. Lynn Jenkins, House Hunger Caucus Co-Chair Talks with Advocates: “Thank you for talking about ending hunger @RepLynnJenkins with advocates today! #No1Hungry #EndHunger2030” Tweet by @bread4theworld on 1/7/16.

Exhibit on Hunger in New York City
The Storehouse in Albuquerque Seeks Volunteers
One local organization is supplying around 3,500 people, who are less fortunate, each month with food and could volunteers to help their cause. The Storehouse New Mexico is the states largest food pantry who currently have only a small team of employees. There are a lot of tasks to take care of and a few extra hands would help the process. Article in KRQE