World Food Day – October 16th, proclaimed by the Conference of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1980, in consideration of the fact that food is requisite for human survival and well-being, and a fundamental human necessity. World Food Day is thus a world-wide event designed to increase awareness, understanding and informed, year-round action to alleviate hunger. Congregations here in the US mark the day with special prayers and programs.
Over the past several decades, many OCA parishes have actively responded to the needs of the hungry, locally and globally. They’ve opened food pantries, served meals, and/or raised funds to equip organizations like International Orthodox Christian Charities and Church World Service to help the needy in far distant countries with emergency food, tools, materials and machinery, and by teaching them better methods of crop production. One popular program is the CROP Hunger Walk, an interfaith education and fundraising event seen in cities across the US. Many are on the calendar in October and November, as well as in the Spring. Information for donating or signing up to walk can be found HERE.
According to the editor of the OCA Resource Handbook, Arlene Kallaur, the section on Community Service offers a number of excellent articles written by OCA parishes, detailing their successful food programs, how they started, who they serve, how and what they offer. Two more recent articles, “A Mission in Urban America” by Charles Robbins of Columbus, Ohio and “The Poor – Our Masters”, an account of St. John the Compassionate Mission” by Fr. Roberto Umbertino of Toronto, Canada, are inspiring examples of such outreach programs.