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Direct bank debit makes world hunger giving easier

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Forget envelopes, stamps and checkbooks. Giving to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund just got easier.
The SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission recently introduced a system of accepting direct bank debit authorization from donors desiring to give monthly support for the hunger fund. Although debit payments are used more commonly by families to pay their utility and insurance bills, this process is being increasingly adopted by charitable organizations, according to ERLC officials.
The Carl Baggett family of Florissant, Mo., knows firsthand the impact such giving has had on their lives.
“I have always been interested in world hunger,” Jane Baggett said. “What impresses us about the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund is that 100 percent of what is given is used for the hungry without paying administration and promotional costs. The children of our church recently put dimes in the coin cards for world hunger and the next week, we received this copy of ‘Light’ with the draft form in it. It only reinforced that we can each do something.”
Because this giving method utilizes electronic transfer and involves systematic giving, the term “high-tech gleaning” has been coined in referring to it. By signing a debit agreement, a donor’s checking account can be debited each month for a designated amount.
Richard Land, president of the ERLC, noted, “The initial response has been tremendous. Giving by direct draft is yet another weapon in the arsenal to combat world hunger. Since millions of our fellow human being suffer from a lack of adequate food, Christian must mobilize in every way possible to give of ourselves in ministry to the ‘least of these.’”
Giving by direct draft was introduced recently in a special edition of Light, the ERLC’s bimonthly publication of applied Christianity. This edition dealt exclusively with world hunger and Southern Baptists’ involvement. An insert contained the draft agreement which could be torn out and sent in with a voided check.
An electronic transfer made from the donor’s bank account on a monthly basis will benefit the World Hunger Fund. Any amount can be designated on the form and the practice can be stopped anytime a donor chooses.
“You really don’t miss $20 very much. I was amazed at how far $240 can go over the course of a year,” Jane Baggett said. It is like touching the lives of the hurting and hungry in Jesus’ name, she said. “The Lord can do it. But it is up to us to make sure the loaves and fishes are there.”
“Giving to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund has substantially increased in recent years,” said Steve Nelson, director of hunger concerns for the ERLC. “However, the number of disasters needing response has also increased.
“From famine in North Korea, to Hurricane Mitch in Honduras, to the earthquake in Turkey, to Kosovo, to welfare reform here in the United States, the need has never been greater.”
Eighty percent of contributions to the fund are sent to the SBC’s International Mission Board, Nelson said, for overseas hunger initiatives, while 20 percent is sent to the North American Mission Board for domestic hunger projects. “More and more, our missionaries and volunteers are applying the truth that ministry to those in need opens doors for sharing faith in Jesus Christ,” he said.
The ERLC has the ministry of raising awareness of the hunger issue and promotion of the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund.
Anyone desiring more information on the World Hunger Fund may contact the ERLC at (615) 244-2495, or write to 901 Commerce St., Suite 550, Nashville, TN 37203.

Steve Nelson provided the information for this release.

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  • Herb Hollinger