Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2016 Hunger Report Looks at Relationship of Health and Hunger

The Bread for the World Institute's 2016 Hunger Report, The Nourishing Effect, was the talk of Twitter on the day it was released on Monday, November 23. #HungerReport was the #1 Twitter trend in Washington and was the #6 trend in the nation.

Several VIP's were on hand for the release of the report at the National Press Club, including Kevin Concannon, the Undersecretary of Agriculture, and Deb Eschmeyer, who runs the Let’s Move program in First Lady Michelle Obama’s office.

Here is  an excerpt from the executive summary.
Hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition ruin health. But good nutrition is preventive medicine. Hunger leads to poor health and poor health contributes to descents into hunger and food insecurity—especially among people who must choose between paying for food or medicine. In the United States, the issues of hunger and health have been seen as two separate and distinct challenges. But that is beginning to change as the system adapts to an ambitious reform agenda driven by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA is moving the U.S. healthcare system to focus on prevention and to address the root causes of chronic diseases.
Photo: Bread for the World
The Bread for the World Institute and Bread for the World will host a Twitter conversation this (Tuesday) morning at 11:00 A.M. Eastern Time (9:00 A.M. Mountain Time).

If you have any questions or observations about the report, please share them with the hosts of the Twitter conversation: Kelvin Beachum, an anti-hunger activist who plays for the  Pittsburgh Steelers; Lisa Scales of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and Asma Lateef, director of the Bread for the World Institute. If you want to participate, follow @BreadInstitute on Twitter.

Download the full report

Here are some tweets related to the release of the report.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Kimberly Burge's Television Interview in Cincinnati

On the birthday of my friend and author Kimberly Burge, I post this video of her television interview on WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, which was aired when she was visiting her hometown of Cincinnati back in October. I finally finished reading The Born Frees, and I totally enjoyed reading the stories from the young ladies in Gugulethu and their interactions with Kimberly. If you haven't picked up a copy of the book, I highly recommend it. (Your independent book store can special-order it for you. Or if you must use the big box commercial retailers, online and otherwise, you can also get the book that way. Kimberly is going around the country promoting the book. We hope to bring her to Albuquerque next year. Below the video are links to her recent promotional trip to the San Francisco Bay area.

San Francisco Trip

The Forum, Grace Cathedral  (November 1)
A series of stimulating conversations about faith and ethics in relation to the issues of our day.  Hosted by the clergy of Grace Cathedral, we invite leading public figures, musicians, theologians, artists and writers to bring the most innovative and interesting thinking to our public space, engaging our minds and hearts to think in new ways about the world.

San Francisco Theological Seminary  (November 5)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Our Father of Benevolence

(Here is a wonderful reflection on The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13 and Luke 11: 1-4) , paraphrased by Malcolm Street, a member of  the Bread for the World board of directors from Fort Worth, Texas. The prayer was said at one of the sessions of the November board meeting).

Our Father, Father of all benevolence, We are in reverent awe of you: your Goodness and your Grace, your Mercy and Forgiveness, your power and might, your humble and gentle heart.

We pray that your reign of love be realized, made real, in us and that your desire for Good be pursued by us, as it is already so in the saints who have preceded us to heaven.

Just as your earth yields bread for our bodies, give us a Word from you to nourish our souls.

Release us from the debt we have incurred by acting as if we were God and not you, as we will forgive the debt of those who have tried to lord it over us.

O Lord, don't lead us as you did Jesus, into the desert that tests our faith; But if it must be so, deliver us from falling away from you in the time of trial.

We long for your Kingdom rule over us in love, your power in us that frees us from our sins, and for Christ, who is our only hope of glory.

And Lord, we go on to pray that you would bless our deliberations here today that they may bear the fruit of blessing to those on the margins, yes even beyond the margins of hunger and poverty.

Lord, may you give bread to the hungry and a hunger for you to those who have bread.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bread for the World Advocacy Outcomes for 2014

Members of Congress rely on their constituents to keep them informed of issues and concerns in their districts. By writing your members of Congress, you’ve made yourself a valuable source of information. Congressional aides figure you represent others, so your voice becomes amplified. Writing letters gives you voice and power. Taking the time to write tells your members of Congress that you’re serious and that they’re accountable to you.  Exerpt from "Why Write to Congress", in Bread for the World's Take Action page.

Have you ever wondered what impact those letters to Congress, those meetings with congressional aides, those phone calls to Washington and the district office, those tweets, those letters to the editor are having?

The communications staff at Bread for the World put together these illustrations to show the progress against hunger since 1990 and the outcome of the advocacy efforts of grassroots members and staff during 2014 (illustrated in the five graphics below)

Remember those letters you wrote in 2014 urging Congress to reform food-aid programs? Legislators approved a set of reforms, and as a result, 1.5 million more people around the world have been fed.

These results, of course, did not occur in a vacuum. Bread for the World works in a number of coalitions (like the Modernizing Foreign Asissistance Network), and many other organizations and their members contributed to the outcome of the legislative initiatives.

This year, Bread for the World members (in partnership with other nutrition advocates) urged Congress to reauthorize child nutrition programs in our country, through our Feed Our Children campaign. In New Mexico, members of 18 congregations wrote more than 2,000 letters to Congress around this issue. Stay tuned for legislative updates.

Here are the graphics for the advocacy outcomes for 2014.

Food Aid Reform:

Circle of Protection:

Poverty-Focused Development Assistance

Immigration Reform

New USAID Strategy 

Friday, November 20, 2015

An Unfortunate Choice of Words for the Local Holiday Food Drive

At the risk of being called a "Debbie Downer" during this time of giving, I feel I must add my two cents to the otherwise noble effort by a group of businesses to partner with Roadrunner Food to collect non-perishable food items during the holidays.

The image on the left is a scan of the paper bag that was inserted in between the various sections of The Albuquerque Journal  this week. The paper bag presented a misleading message to the public:"Solve Hunger" by donating food. A better word would be "Help Alleviate Hunger."

To actually solve hunger, we must solve some of the structural problems that cause hunger, one of which is poverty and related factors like unemployment, underemployment, low wages, lack of access to affordable and nutritious food, a high level of debt and other causes. There are 50 million of our neighbors who do not know where their next meal is coming from, including 360,000 in New Mexico who are at risk of hunger.

"Despite the end of the Great Recession and a falling unemployment rate, the nation continues to be plagued by a very uneven recovery; low employment rates; stagnant wages; inadequate public investments; and inadequate public safety net programs. Yes, there has been progress. But it has been too slow," the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) said in its recently unveiled Plan of Action to End Hunger in America.

And how much difference does the food drive make?  It certainly helps increase the amount of food available to Roadrunner Food Bank and all the Feeding America affiliates around that country. That is an important reason why we all should participate in this holiday drive. Go to your local grocery store (instead of emptying your pantry) and buy $10 or $15 worth of non-perishable food items and leave them by your mail box on Saturday. Or better yet, take them directly to your nearest post office.

"More than half the households in New Mexico have to make really tough decisions every day," said an editorial in today's edition of The Albuquerque Journal, one of the sponsors of the food drive.  "Sixty-one percent choose between spending on food and utilities. Sixty-six percent between food and transportation. Fifty-nine percent between food and medical care. Forty-eight percent between food and housing. But there’s an easy choice more fortunate New Mexicans can make today and Saturday. That’s to fill the brown grocery bag in Thursday’s Journal with nonperishable food,"

The brown paper bag also contains some handy tips to help Roadrunner Food Bank, including signing up for programs where retailers donate a portion of your holiday purchases to our local food bank. And you are also given an opportunity to text a donation.  Here is why the financial donations are important.

"Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, annually serves 46.5 million people across the U.S. through its network of 200 food banks, according to its "Hunger in America 2014" study," said an article The Huffington Post. "But what you may not know is that these organizations have limited resources themselves. While approximately 100 million pounds of food is donated to Feeding America food banks each year via canned food drives, these items alone won’t solve the issue of hunger that so many Americans face. Tight budgets, limited volunteers, finite donations, and the short turnarounds required between receiving fresh foods and distributing them to families in need can be challenges in addressing the issue of hunger – and doing so with nutrient-rich foods."

The holiday food drive should give us at least a small opportunity to show solidarity with those who receive the food. One way to do this is to be aware of the reasons why families are in their current predicament.  It doesn't help when the campaign tells us that we are actually solving hunger through our holiday donations.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Peace in a Time of Anguish (A video from the Parliament of World Religions)

We share this vision of creating peace in these times of anguish. Let us be love and compassion, a link to interfaith understanding, and may we move together in harmony to reclaim the heart of humanity. Let our spiritual paths intertwine, our action join us in a global compassion effort, and let us lead our lives together toward a better world. - Parliament of World Religions

Confronting War, Violence and Hate with Love and Compassion
In memory of all who have been harmed and died in global conflicts and for our human family, We share this vision of creating peace in these times of anguish. Let us be love and compassion, a link to interfaith understanding, and may we move together in harmony to reclaim the heart of humanity. Let our spiritual paths intertwine, our action join us in a global compassion effort, and let us lead our lives together toward a better world. Video © 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions
Posted by Parliament of the World's Religions on Monday, November 16, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thanksgiving Meals for the Homeless Community in Albuquerque

Courtesy of ClipArtSheep  
(Please note: All these sites already have all the volunteers they need. The one location that might need help is La Mesa Presbyterian Church. You can call the church office, 255-8095, and ask: “What can I do to help you out on Thanksgiving Day?)

November 21 (Saturday)  
11:00 am to 3:00 pm -- Chava Trucking Company Thanksgiving Dinner, 409 Clark Road SW (2-1/2 miles south of Rio Bravo off of 2nd Street).

Shuttle service will be provided, beginning at 10:30 am, at St. Martin’s, Good Shepherd Center, Albuquerque Rescue Mission, Project Share, Noon Day, Salvation Army Temple (on Broadway & Lead), and Joy Junction

November 23 (Monday)  
  • 6:00-7:00 pm – Pre-Thanksgiving meal at Joy Junction

November 24 (Tuesday)
  •  8:00 am to 4:00 pm -- Noon Day is open (showers, laundry and breakfast, but no lunch)
  • 11:00 am to 2:00 pm – Albuquerque Rescue Mission’s Thanksgiving meal (no breakfast or dinner that day at ARM)
*****All other sites will have regular schedule*****

November 25 (Wednesday) 
  • 8:00 to 11:00 am -- Noon Day is open (showers, laundry and breakfast, but no lunch)
  • 11:00 am to 2:00 pm – Joy Junction’s Thanksgiving meal at the Convention Center downtown (you can get free tickets at various shelters for reserved meal times, but no one will be turned away)
*****All other sites will have regular schedule (including HCH)*****

Courtesy of ClipArtSheep
Thanksgiving Day (Thursday).
  • There will be a circle of remembrance, a sunrise gathering in honor of Native peoples (6:25 am sunrise) in the parking lot of the Albuquerque Center for Peace & Justice (Harvard & Silver SE)
  • 8:30 to 9:30 am – Thanksgiving brunch at Good Shepherd Center (only meal that day at Good Shepherd)
  • 9:00 am – holiday meal at St. Martin’s (hours are 7:00 to 11:00 am on Thanksgiving Day)
  • 10:00 am to 2:00 pm –Thanksgiving meal at Salvation Army Temple, 501 Broadway SE (& Lead)
  • 11:00 am to 2:00 pm – Thanksgiving meal at La Mesa Presbyterian Church, 7401 Copper NE (north of Central, east of Louisiana)
  • 2:00 to 4:00 pm – Thanksgiving dinner at Joy Junction
  • 5:00 to 6:00 pm – Thanksgiving dinner at Project Share, 1515 Yale SE (south of Kathryn)
  • 5:00 to 6:00 pm – regular dinner at Albuquerque Rescue Mission (no breakfast that day, but opens at 12:30 pm)
    **Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless (HCH) and Noon Day will be closed****

November 27 (Friday) Homeless services: St. Martin’s hours will be open 7-4 with 10:00 am meal only; all other sites (Noon Day, Healthcare for the Homeless (HCH), Good Shepherd Center, Albuquerque Rescue Mission and others) will have regular schedule.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Interfaith Procession and Candlelight Prayer for UN Climate Meeting Scheduled for Monday, November 30, in Albuquerque

The Interfaith community in Albuquerque is coming together on Monday, Nov. 30, for a procession and candlelight vigil ahead of the upcoming UN Climate Talks in Paris. The vigil begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Federal Building, Gold and 6th SW, and ends at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 619 Copper Ave. NW  Here is a map (Note: The exact route will be announced later. The map just shows the starting and ending locations)

Even as the world is reeling from the violence in Paris, World Leaders from more than 150 nations prepare for the UN Climate Change meeting in Paris, November 30-December 11. An unprecedented number of leaders of religious traditions, including Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama and Muslim and Jewish world leaders are calling all people to act for climate justice. They will offer a moral voice to public officials as they meet to agree to an international agreement.

You are invited to participate in a special prayer for the meeting and to bless those from Albuquerque who will be traveling to Paris for this important gathering.

Order of evening:
*Procession calling to mind the many climate refugees
*Candle light prayer in Immaculate Conception with music, sacred dance, prayers by major religious tradition representatives, blessing of those going to Paris and blessing of those representing organizations that will be in Paris, call to action.

Co-sponsors: New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, New Mexico Conference of Churches, New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps, Bread for the World-New Mexico, Catholic Charities of Central New Mexico, Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe, and others.

For more information contact Sister Joan Brown (joan@nm-ipl.org).

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Blessed are They

Fort Tryon Park, New York City
We've occasionally published posts about the Beatitudes, including a great reflection from Pastor Steve Garnaas-Holmes, an interesting perspective from Rev. Aimee Moiso, an insightful interpretation from Franciscan scholar Ben Baran and a picture of the words of Matthew 5:3-12 at Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Rabbi Daniel Polish,  author of the book Bringing the Psalms to Life, refers to the Beatitudes in a reflection in the Jesuit publication America magazine on the topic of finding happiness in the Psalms. The piece, which quotes the writings of English poet John Donne, is the first of a four-part series published by America on the Book of Psalms

Here are some excerpts:
"The first word of Psalm 1—and thus of the entire Book of Psalms—is ashrei, probably the same word that Jesus used in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12 and Luke 6:20-22). The translation Donne read renders this word as “blessed.” And thus Donne writes in his sermon:

How plentifully, how abundantly is the word Beatus, Blessed, multiplied in the Booke of Psalmes? Blessed, and Blessed in every Psalme, in every Verse; The Booke seems to be made out of that word Blessed, And the foundation raysed upon that word, Blessed, for it is the first word of the Booke.

Trust in God and happiness seem closely aligned in many of the Psalms. This is the thread Donne might have us find running through the entire book. Indeed we read of ashrei from the beginning of the book to the end: “Happy are all they that take refuge in Him” (Psalm 2:12). And “Happy is the one that hath made the Lord his trust” (Psalm 40:4).

Donne argues that the very character of the book as a whole is suggested in the very first word. And he might well be right. But interestingly, the correct meaning of that first word is really not “blessed” at all, with all of its theological connotations. Today most translators would render ashrei as “happy.”

Read full article by Rabbi Polish

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Franciscan Sister Wins Food Netwok's Chopped' Contest, Seeks to Bring Attention to Issue of Hunger

"Perhaps being on national TV and winning this competition will bring some attention to the issue of hunger and to the reality that God's love is so strong and so big, he can take this little nun from Chicago who never went to culinary school to compete. ... Literally nothing is impossible with God." -Franciscan Sister Alicia Torres
Sister Alicia Torres, 30, is one of the new generation of Catholic nuns. She has her own Twitter account and she appeared on the Food Network's reality cooking show Chopped--and won!

Sister Alicia, who lives and works at the Mission of Our Lady of  the Angels on the west side of Chicago, was one of four chefs cooking with the typical makings of a conventional Thanksgiving dinner—turkey, green beans, potatoes and cranberries—on the special volunteer edition of the show.

In the appetizer segment of the contest, Torres transformed leftovers into Mexican-style quesadillas.For the entree, Sister Alicia made a Mediterranean-style dish with curry turkey, a sweet potato cranberry hash and a dipping sauce with goat cheese and green beans.

Here is what she wrote on Twitter on the day of the contest.
Sister Alicia is a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, which serve the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels, located in Humboldt Park, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago. "With the economic crisis, families and seniors in the area do not have the necessary resources for sufficient heat and nutritious meals," the mission said on its website. 

The mission  distributes food and clothing to residents of Humboldt Park on Tuesday mornings. The first Saturday of the month, the mission also serves as a model of how to efficiently run a mobile food pantry. The mobile pantry provides food and clothing for approximately 300 families.

Sister Alicia's victory brought a prize of $10,000 for Our Lady of the Angels. More importantly, it provided her the opportunity to shine the spotlight on hunger and poverty on the west side of Chicago and in many places in the U.S. "Perhaps being on national TV and winning this competition will bring some attention to the issue of hunger and to the reality that God's love is so strong and so big, he can take this little nun from Chicago who never went to culinary school to compete. ... Literally nothing is impossible with God," Sister Alica said in an interview with The Chicago Tribune.

And here is a video from an interview with Sister Alicia on WGN television in Chicago.

Siser Alicia was featured in the film Light of Love in 2013, a movie by the Imagine Sisters Movement, in which she discusses her religious calling.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Family Promise Invites You to Christmas Homes Tour Fundraiser in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque

Family Promise of Albuquerque invites you to its annual Christmas Home Tour on Saturday, November 21 (10:00 a.m-4:00 p.m.), and Sunday, November 22 (noon-4:00 p.m.)

Enjoy beautifully and uniquely decorated homes in the Los Ranchos area while supporting the homeless children of Albuquerque. 

Tickets are $20 and are available online or at the homes on the day of the tour.
  • 4638 Orchard Ct. NW (map)
  • 5714 Eakes Ct., NW (map)
  • 1124 Salamanca, NW (map)
  • 4609 Los Poblanos Circle, NW (map)

Where Can You Help Out This Thanksgiving in Albuquerque?

By Karen Navarro
Every year at this time, Albuquerqueans call up social service agencies asking where they can serve Thanksgiving dinner, a way to give back to those who are less fortunate materially than they are. They may want to involve the whole family.

The truth is, the places that serve Thanksgiving dinner do not have to look for volunteers to serve the meal -- they already have more people offering to serve than they have places on the buffet line.

However, each year La Mesa Presbyterian Church, 7401 Copper Ave. NE (map), which serves a HUGE Thanksgiving meal, is looking for people to help with set-up, clean-up, and delivery of meals to people who are homebound. You can call the church office, 255-8095, and ask: “What can I do to help you out on Thanksgiving Day?”

Also each year, there is a huge project you can get involved with that provides food boxes to approximately 100 families during Thanksgiving week, when many students have inadequate nutrition while school is closed for the holiday. The project is directed by Help Equals Hope, a program of the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called America's Children. Visit their website to learn more about this organization. They work with teachers, principals, shelters and social workers to identify those they know who are in need of a Thanksgiving Week food box.

How can you help? By donating Smith’s or other grocery store gift cards for the purchase of turkeys and other food items – OR – by donating non-perishable food items and taking them to one of the five designated drop-off locations:
  • !Explora! at 1701 Mountain Rd. NW (map); 
  • GN Services, Inc. at 1425 Carlisle NE (map); 
  • Sports…Décor & More! at 1001 Yale Blvd. SE, Unit K (map) ; 
  • Sol Acting Academy at 5500 San Mateo NE, #114 (map); 
  • Outcomes, Inc. at 1503 University Blvd. NE (map). 
The deadline for drop-offs is Saturday, Nov. 21.

Food items requested: turkeys, stuffing, sweet potatoes, potatoes, canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, bread/rolls, chile, olives, rice, cereal, beans, gravy mix, desserts, drink mix, etc.

The easiest way to help organizers get enough turkeys is to buy a gift card at Smith's, Walmart, John Brooks or Albertson's, and drop it off at one of the five drop-off sites or mail it to:

Help Equals Hope
P.O. Box 66765
Albuquerque, NM 87193

Include a note saying “this is for the Thanksgiving food drive.”

Each year Help Equals Hope also holds a school supply drive in August, providing backpacks of school supplies for children whose parents can't afford to purchase them, and they gather monetary and in-kind donations year-round.

(The author worked at St. Martin's Hospitality Center for 21 years, including her role as client advocate for much of that time. She continues to network with colleagues in homeless services).

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Nutrition Important for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

As of 2013, nearly 2.7 million grandparents stepped up to become parents to kids once again. This is an increase of about 64,100 adults from 2008. In nearly 900,000 of these grandparent-led households, no parent is present and the median income is $35,685, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.For more than 569,200 grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren, their incomes are so low that they are in poverty. In 2008, about 492,800 of these grandparents reported incomes below the poverty level. -   -Article in Equal Voice
- See more at: http://www.equalvoiceforfamilies.org/if-you-love-somebody-grandparents-raising-kids/?gclid=CjwKEAiA64uyBRCVmKyT2vuAjzgSJADfINB6S8iU4N98xhFF9pcBMbz0TTKvtq46qoNW9BhHRDXtohoCrePw_wcB#sthash.jaKSow5r.dpuf

There are many stories about grandparents raising their grandchildren full time. And there are several websites that offer resources to the grandparents who have found themselves as the parents, including Piecing Hearts Together Again and Grandfamilies. It is important that lower income families have access to public assistance including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). And we must make sure that these programs are fully funded--so that they can support everyone who qualifies.

"Eligibility for SNAP depends on the number of people in the household and the household’s total income. Other expenses, such as dependent care costs, medical deductions, earned income deduction, child support, and some shelter costs are also considered in determining benefits," said a paper published by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance. The members of the SNAP household must also be U.S. citizens or legal non- citizens. Eligibility requirements for SNAP are not reduced for grandparents raising grandchildren; as a result, the grandparents’ income is considered."

USDA-Funded Program Helps Part-Time Caretakers in New Mexico
The not-so-extreme situation is when grandparents become the caretakers of the children during the day when the parent or parents are working. Whether a grandparent is a full-time or part-time caretaker, it is important to ensure that the children have access to nutritious meals--and this might not be possible if the household falls below the poverty level.

To help the part-time grandparents, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed  the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

 CACFP provides aid to child and adult care institutions and family or group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons. Through CACFP, more than 3.3 million children and 120,000 adults receive nutritious meals and snacks each day as part of the day care they receive.

In New Mexico, the YWCA Providers Alliance for Nutrition (PAN) food program is set up to help grandparents who are caring for their children to gain access to healthy, nutritious meals while they are away from their parents. " Proper nutrition in childhood helps create healthy, productive adult members of society and helps to reduce many health related problems," said PAN-YWCA, which receives funding from the CACFP for the program.

To qualify a person must be caring for at least one child that doesn't live with them.  They also must be able to pass a background check and may be eligible to claim their own children under age 13 when the non-resident children are present.

Here is a three-step process for New Mexico grandparents seeking to participate in the PAN-YWCA program

1. CYFD Home Visit
To become a registered home child care provider you must contact Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) to arrange for a Child Care Specialist (CCS) to visit your home and to give you all needed information on the registration process. Please call 841-4842 to receive a printed instruction packet and to ask any questions you may have. Follow this link to obtain an application for a background check. Follow the directions carefully and if you have any questions call 841-4842.

You will begin by having a background check completed and the charge for this process is $44  [My editorial comment: How are grandparents or parents on limited income able to afford this fee?]. The  instructions about how to complete this process can be found at the New Mexico Kids website or by calling 841-4842.

You will receive a clearance letter in the mail in up to 6 weeks. You will also need to have a brief background review for anyone in your home that is 18 or older. This process is different than the fingerprinting for you and you should call 841-4842 for more information on how to complete this process. There is no fee attached to the background check for your adult household members

2. Home Registration through CYFD
After receiving your approved background check clearance letter please call 841-4842 again to make an appointment with a Child Care Specialist. Registration costs $15 and is payable by money order at time of visit.

3. Call the YWCA PAN Food Program
After you have completed the above steps call PAN at 254-9922 and ask for a PAN staff member. You will be assigned a PAN field Representative who will visit your home and conduct an orientation to the program and help you complete your required paperwork. You have successfully completed the process and are off to a great start caring for our most precious resource – the children of our community! We are thrilled to work with you. There is no charge for this process.

Amount of Reimbursement
The average amount of reimbursement is roughly $90/month per child, depending on the number of hours you care for the child. You are allowed to claim two main meals and 1 snack for each child per day. The current reimbursement rates are listed in the box to the right and change annually. Your PAN Field Representative will discuss your specific situation with you to ensure you receive the correct amount of reimbursement.

Reimbursement Rates
Breakfast - $1.31
Lunch/Supper - $2.47
Snacks - $0.73

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

'Let Your Little Light Shine'

Spare Parts, a band from the First Unitarian Church in Albuquerque, performed several songs at the Fall Gathering of the New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light on Saturday, Nov. 7. (See video of part of the keynote address by Interfaith Power & Light founder Rev. Canon Sally Bingham). Let Your Little Light Shine was one of the songs this wonderful group shared with participants.The song is very appropriate to recognize some of the people and organizations that received the Sprouts and Seeds awards from NMPIL that afternoon.

 Rev.Canon Sally Bingham poses with Sen Mimi Stewart
Sen. Mimi Stewart was recognized for her leadership in promoting an initiative to extend the residential, commercial, and agricultural tax credit for solar installations in New Mexico."This bill helps more New Mexicans take advantage of a pollution-free energy source that also creates jobs. New Mexico was just ranked in the top ten states for renewable energy job growth by Environmental Entrepreneurs," said the organization Environment New Mexico. The bipartisan initiative was approved by an overwhelming 37-5 vote in the New Mexico State Senate, but Gov. Susana Martinez, without an explanation, chose to use the pocket veto on the measure.  According to the Taos News, Sen. Stewart is considering bringing back the measure during the upcoming session of the legislature, perhaps trying to add a solar power tax credit to the tax incentive bill.

Fr. Christopher McLaren & Gary Gunthorpe, St. Mark's
One of our Core Values at St. Mark’s is to be good stewards of the earth’s resources and to move toward a more sustainable future for our congregation, our families and our world. As the people of God in this place we are initiating New Energy @ St. Mark’s Solar Project as one way that we can begin to take practical and visionary steps toward becoming a good steward of God’s creation and an environmentally aware community of faith.  -Fr. Christopher McLaren

St. Mark's on the Mesa Episcopal Church received a special recognition for its Solar Power Project, which aims to meet the energy needs of the house of worship with solar power.  The parishioners are investors in the project through a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) that the church has set up to finance the project. The anticipated cost of the solar system is approximately $100,000, which  purchase an installed 30 kW photovoltaic system from New Mexico-based company PPC Solar.

Evelyn Sanchez & Kathy Sanchez, TWU
Environmental Justice has been defined by our community as, “Our Commitment to honor and protect the rights of ourselves, our habitat, and the fair treatment of all living things.”

NMIPL honored Tewa Women United for its consistent strong and collective voice creation care and environmental justice through prayer, inspiration, advocacy and witness  rooted within the spiritual ways of native women. TWU is a collective intertribal women's voice in the Tewa homelands of northern New Mexico.

Through its Environmental Justice Program, TWU aims to engage in local and international dialogue and activism on nuclear non-proliferation, human rights, and the rights of our Mother Earth.  The best way to achieve this aim is to integrate body, mind, and spiritual awareness into environmental justice advocacy, policy change, and community education. Another major goal is to empower Indigenous, women and their families, and people of color’s voices in local, national, and International networks and coalitions in order to build community capacity and leadership development.

Ruth Hoffman

Other individuals, faith communities and organizations honored on Saturday were Immaculate Conception  Catholic Church (Albuquerque), Santa Maria de la Vid Norbertine Community (Albuquerque), Patricia Gallegos of the organization Juntos (Albuquerque), Rev. Nick King (Mennonite Minister in Carlsbad), Ruth Hoffman of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry (Santa Fe), Robyn Seydel of La Montañita Cooperative (Albuquerque) and Kathy Freeze of Catholic Charities of Central New Mexico (Albuquerque).

Monday, November 09, 2015

Rev. Sally Bingham Relates Her Journey into Faith-Based Environmental Advocacy

Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, an Episcopal priest who founded Interfaith Power & Light, relates the story of how she became involved in the environmental movement and how IPF was founded in San Francisco. There are 40 state organizations that belong to IPL, including New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light. Rev. Bingham spoke at NMIPL's annual Fall Gathering on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 in Albuquerque. This video shows only 10 minutes of her full address. (Watch for a separate post about the fall gathering later this week).