CINCINNATI — Food for All: Be Multiplied, an Archdiocese of Cincinnati campaign in response to Pope Francis’ challenge to eradicate systemic hunger by 2025, was a rousing success, exceeding its goals in a fitting welcome of the pope as he visited the United States, officials of the archdiocese said.
“I can think of nothing that the Holy Father would appreciate more than to know that the occasion of his visit inspired so much generosity and prophetic witness for the poor and vulnerable,” said the Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr, archbishop of Cincinnati. “I will be reporting these results to him through the Papal Nuncio.”
Over 140 parishes, schools, agencies, and institutions of the archdiocese have pledged 1,055,000 food items for distribution to local pantries. That compares to a goal of 1,000,000 items.
“Our inspiration for Food for All was the biblical story of Jesus miraculously feeding the 5,000,” said Sean Ater, director of the archdiocese’s Office of the New Evangelization. “In that story one child gave a gift of five loaves and three fish to Jesus, who multiplied them to feed a seemingly insurmountable number of people. In the same way Catholics throughout the archdiocese have given their own small gift to feed the hungry. That small gift, when added together with others, has made a real impact in ending hunger in our own backyard. The message is simple. You matter. We are part of a thriving, loving church that will change the world when we work together.”
Parishioners from throughout the 19 counties of the archdiocese also wrote 12,147 letters advocating for life-giving nutritional programs in the federal budget, more than two and a half times the goal of 5,000.
“The participation by Catholics and other faith groups from every corner of the archdiocese was astounding!” Tony Stieritz, director of the Catholic Social Action Office, said of the letter-writing effort. “Together, our message was threefold. To those who are hungry, we want to see your hunger end. To those in Congress, we want you to join us in helping end hunger by fully funding child nutrition programs and not cutting other critical safety net programs for the poor in the federal budget. And to Pope Francis, we hope you accept this gift of advocacy from so many of the faithful in your honor.”