The Common Good
July-August 2000

Loaves and Fishes

by Michaela Bruzzese | July-August 2000

The Covenant to Overcome Poverty needs you!

Call to Renewal is seeking 1 million people to sign our Covenant to Overcome Poverty in order to put poverty on the national agenda. It might seem ambitious or even foolish for a group as small as ours to try to multiply a few endorsements into a million. However, we're encouraged by the fact that we're not the first to attempt such a daunting feat. From the beginning, people of faith have been able to summon miraculous results from just a few raw materials and a lot of divine intervention! (See Luke 9:12-17 for details.) So we're pressing forward with enthusiasm and determination.

The signature campaign is crucial to our efforts to persuade both the media and the politicians that the issue of poverty deserves their quality time. In fact, we think that it will induce candidates from both parties not just to read our invitation to the Call's Fifth Annual National Roundtable this October, but also to attend. There we will invite them into dialogue with Christian leaders concerning how to overcome poverty.

Thousands of people have already signed the Covenant or become Call to Renewal members, committing their hearts, minds, and pocketbooks to this movement, but we need many more. Please add your "loaves and fishes" to those we've already collected. Your voice is critical to the movement. If you have not already done so, please sign the Covenant and consider joining Call to Renewal. Do it by visiting our Web site at www.calltorenewal. com or calling 1-800-523-2773. We can send you blank signature forms for all your friends and family. We're confident that with your help, including your prayers for God's blessing, we'll collect more than enough signatures - perhaps even 12 extra baskets full.

The Call to Renewal welcomes...

R. Carter Echols, who joined the Call to Renewal team on May 1 as national organizer. Carter comes to us from Washington, D.C.'s National Cathedral, where she was canon missioner and director of metropolitan ministries. Carter brings more than 20 years of organizing experience to the Call team, and we're very blessed by her energy.

Tom Jones, who is giving one day a week to help organize our national network, courtesy of our partner World Vision. Tom is the senior director of field programs with World Vision U.S., providing technical assistance to World Vision's domestic development programs in six cities in the United States.

Steve Lee, who is working with the Call until August 31 as a Mickey Leland Hunger Fellow. Steve spent the first six months of his Leland program at the Maine Coalition for Food Security, helping to implement the Greater Portland Food Rescue Operation. He plans to attend Harvard Law School this fall, where we hope he'll learn how to make a lot of money he can donate to the Call.

In other staff changes, Rev. Alice Davis has become our national campaign coordinator. In addition to planning major Call to Renewal events such as the annual Summit, the national roundtable, and meetings of the policy team, Alice will lend her vision and experience to the implementation of the Campaign to Overcome Poverty.

Just the Facts

  • A survey of 26 cities released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors shows hunger and homelessness continue unabated, despite an expanding national economy. Demand for emergency food-related assistance during 1999 reached the highest level since 1992, and demand for emergency housing-related assistance grew at the highest rate since 1994 (1999 Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America's Cities).
  • According to The Urban Institute (February 2000), nearly 1 percent of the U.S. population is likely to experience a period of homelessness at least once during the year. The likelihood grows to 6.3 percent for people living in poverty.
  • The number of Americans who go hungry has held steady for the last four years, despite unprecedented economic growth (Center on Hunger and Poverty, Tufts University, January 2000).

Please contribute to the movement. Your donation of time and money, no matter how big or small, can help to change the facts.

MICHAELA BRUZZESE is program associate for Call to Renewal. Contact Call to Renewal, 2401 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009; (202) 328-8745; ctr@calltorenewal.com; or www.calltorenewal.com.

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