Coalition suggests ways churches can help fight hunger

DALLAS—If economics is the “science of scarcity,” consider Joe Clifford—a pastor with an undergraduate degree in economics from Auburn University and a background in banking—a science-denier.

“God’s economy does not operate on the myth of scarcity but on the truth of abundance,” Clifford, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Dallas, told an event sponsored by Dallas Baptist Association, the Texas Hunger Initiative and other partners in the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions.

Hunger exists not due to a scarce food supply but because a flawed distribution system denies poor people access to what they need, he asserted. People of faith have a responsibility to meet the needs of the poor and hungry, he insisted.

“You can’t read the Bible without running into stories about food,” he said, citing examples ranging from God providing the Israelites manna after their exodus from Egypt to Jesus feeding the 5,000. “Feeding hungry people, according to Scripture, has always been important to God and, therefore, important to God’s people.”

In the last four decades, The Stewpot, a ministry of First Presbyterian Church in downtown Dallas, has provided 5 million meals to homeless and needy people. (http://thestewpot.org/) Thanks to the 1,500 volunteers a month who participate, meal costs have averaged just $1.75 each, Clifford said.

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