When Jesus taught the disciples the Lord’s prayer, he prayed for God to “give us this day our daily bread.” Jesus recognized that for many in his day, having enough to eat was not a given. Jesus also seemingly anticipated that hunger would be a pervasive challenge for a long time to come. Around the world and across the United States, various organizations work in multi-faceted yet integrated ways to relieve hunger. Holy Cross is essential to this network and partners with the following organizations to make a difference worldwide, including here in Lake County.
ELCA World Hunger
Holy Cross collects an offering on the first Sunday of every month for ELCA World Hunger, and in 2021 we provided over $16,000 of support for this ministry with its annual budget of over $20 million.
ELCA World Hunger works domestically and internationally on immediate needs for food. One example is the domestic hunger grants that go to organizations like COOL Ministries (see below) to help with their food pantry for Lake County. ELCA World Hunger also works on longer-term systemic change by connecting people with the resources they need to produce food and gain access to clean water, education, health care, and additional sources of income.
ELCA World Hunger works through ELCA congregations, global companion churches, The Lutheran World Federation, and other partners like Bread for the World, Church World Service, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and Lutheran World Relief. In this way, the ELCA reaches more places more effectively than we could ever do alone.
Northern Illinois Food Bank
Holy Cross has a new opportunity to work with the Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB) at their new facility on Highway 176 and Bradley Road. The NIFB has various volunteer opportunities, including but not limited to working in the warehouse. Not surprisingly, financial donations help them to expand their services and impact.
NIFB is a nonprofit organization serving our northern Illinois neighbors in 13 counties, providing 250,000 meals daily. NIFB brings together manufacturers, local and corporate grocers, area farmers, corporations, foundations, and individuals who donate food and funding. Nearly 1,000 volunteers help them evaluate, repack, and distribute food weekly. They also proudly partner with over 900 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and youth and senior feeding programs to provide nutritious food and resources.
Feed My Starving Children
Holy Cross has worked with Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) for many years, initially coordinating mobile food packing events in Zion and at the Lake County Fairgrounds. These events ultimately led to FMSC locating a permanent packing facility in Libertyville on Highway 176, where Holy Cross members keep packing meals.
FMSC is a Christian nonprofit that works with worldwide food distribution partners, staying with communities for the long haul and empowering them to move from relief to development.
Meal ingredients are purchased through donations and packed into nutritious meals specifically designed to assist in reversing and preventing undernutrition. Kids (aged 5 and above) and adults volunteer to hand-pack meals. Packed meals are distributed to FMSC food partners to feed kids and save lives.
Holy Cross was a founding member of COOL Ministries (along with other area Lutheran churches) back in 1983, and we regularly support their efforts through food donations, financial gifts, and leadership. The COOL Plant Sale and Easter Bagskets are efforts that Holy Cross leads every spring to benefit COOL Ministries. In 2021, Holy Cross made financial gifts of over $23,000 to COOL Ministries.
COOL Ministries has been feeding our Lake County neighbors for four decades by providing emergency supplies of food designed to make nutritionally balanced meals for twelve meals over four days. Food pantry visitors may receive assistance once every 30 days until they no longer need services. In 2021, COOL Ministries distributed food to over 50,000 individuals (including many children), equating to more than 600,000 meals.
In addition to their hunger ministry, COOL Ministries operates a transitional housing ministry to assist homeless families, as well as a veterans assistance program serving over 130 veterans per month.