News Articles

Southern Baptist hunger gifts up 26% in first half of ’97

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Southern Baptists’ concern for the world’s hurting and hungry is evident as gifts designated for Southern Baptist hunger ministries continue on the upswing.
For the first six months of 1997, both Southern Baptist mission agencies, the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board, reported a 26 percent increase in gifts to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund when compared to the same period last year.
Steve Nelson, director of hunger concerns for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said it is “exciting to see God working through his people to open doors for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with a lost world. With over 800 million people hungry both here and abroad, it thrills the heart to see such an outpouring of Christlike compassion.” He voiced hope the increasing awareness of hunger needs “will eventually allow both our domestic and international missionaries to expand their vision.”
He said hundreds of church families are using a “rice bowl,” available through the ERLC, to collect change in their homes, and a number of churches are sponsoring World Hunger Fund change canisters, newly available from the ERLC, in the church and local businesses.
“Both of these items encourage a lifestyle of consistent caring for the poor,” Nelson said.
Rejoicing in hunger fund increase, Bill Cashion, human needs consultant for the International Mission Board, said, “As we continue to see the doors open for ministry evangelism to many of the unreached people groups around the world, we are grateful for the rise in gifts to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund.
Cashion added, “… we must remind ourselves that we are still far below the years of the mid-’80s when nearly $12 million was given for world hunger needs.”
David Wigger, director of church and community ministries for the North American Mission Board, said, “Where we live in a country where approximately 4 million children under age 12 go to bed at night hungry, and where between 1985 and 1995 the number of people experiencing hunger increased from 20 million to 30 million people, it is encouraging to see Southern Baptists increase their contributions to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund.”
Wigger said increasing contributions to domestic hunger ministries will provide an opportunity to impact chronic hunger concerns as well as meeting emergency needs.
Nelson pointed out 100 percent of gifts to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund received by the ERLC are used for hunger ministry, with nothing taken out for promotion or administration. Unless otherwise designated by the donor, all gifts received are dispersed with 80 percent going to the International Mission Board and 20 percent to the North American Mission Board.
In explaining the importance of the World Hunger Fund, Nelson said welfare reform in the United States coupled with numerous natural disasters and conflicts abroad, such as the famine in North Korea and the war in Rwanda, continue to increase the need for hunger relief. “Just a little makes a major difference,” Nelson stated, noting $1.49 will feed a famine victim in North Korea for one month while $1 will feed breakfast to a needy child in Searcy, Ark.
“We can each do a little. Together, with God’s help, we can do a lot,” Nelson said.
Contact with the ERLC may be made at 901 Commerce St. #550, Nashville, TN 37203; phone, (615) 244-2495; fax, (615) 242-0065; e-mail, [email protected].