Mission Spotlight 2023 – Overcoming Food Insecurity

Hunger affects a person’s mental health…worrying about where your next meal will come from can lead to anxiety and depression.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who face severe hunger are 56% more likely to have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and 53% more likely to have severe depression.

Hunger affects a person’s school performance….empty stomachs can cause behavioral problems, leading to developmental delays and learning disabilities.  Hunger can lead to children having to repeat a grade.

Hunger affects a person’s health….according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there is a strong connection between hunger and chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

For many years, OPPC has helped to tackle food insecurity for school children within Carmel Clay Schools.  One of the ways has been through the weekend “backpack” program. OPPC partners with Merciful H.E.L.P. Center to collect, pack and distribute a month’s worth of weekend “back sacks” loaded with delicious food offerings for school students at risk. 

We were asked to pack 5 weeks of sacks. Food supplies were solicited from OPPC members during February. In addition to food donated by the congregation, OPPC’s Mission Committee contributed over $1,200 to purchase needed food stuffs.  On Sunday, February 26th, 7th & 8th graders in OPPC’s Confirmation Class, along with parents and faith mentors, packed around 810 sacks/lunches to be distributed to various schools. Students served total 162. The backpacks were delivered to the schools on or before Thursday, March 2nd. Remaining food stuffs were donated to Merciful H.E.L.P. for future back sacks.

Thanks to all OPPC members, confirmands, parents, faith mentors and staff who made this possible.  You modeled one of OPPC’s guiding principles – a deep commitment to reaching out with love and compassion to our neighbors in our home community.


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