Community Congregations – Caring for Those in Need-FOOD (M)

21st Century Healthy Food for All – All Year


Caring for people in need continues as a historic priority of congregations.  Statistics affirm congregants as the most generous of donors. This proposed project model will highlight and further explore the tradition of caring for those in need as it relates to healthy food.  This project model (a) exemplifies longstanding historic functions of congregations, (b) highlights for all people the importance of eating food with sufficient nutritional value and avoiding the risks of obesity, (c) responds to the complexity of our society, in which we are not “sharing” our harvest or our meal, rather “personal” giving is largely through food banks.

The formation of the capacity for “Regional Clergy Engagement” (RCE) has resulted in the unprecedented capacity to create a complete regional database, as in this case, the Peninsula region, 440 clergy and the 310 congregations.

This is one component of a designed methodology which supports (1) the mutual relationship among clergy, (3) the ability to educate a large and diverse range of constituencies in congregations, and (3) the shared coordination of the vast congregation resources with civic sectors’ community partners.

This methodology has been utilized to benefit key community concerns, supporting the County Office of Emergency Services Coordination of Congregation Based Disaster Preparedness/Response/Recovery, the US Census Bureau “2010 Census – Standing up for a Full Count,” and the County Health Systems Department “Healthy Congregations/Healthy Community.”

This unprecedented methodology is now nationally recognized.  It is outlined in “A Local Officials Guide to Working with Clergy and Congregations,” co-authored by Rabbi Jay Miller and the publisher, the Institute for Local Government (The League of California Cities and the Association of California Counties).


This model project provides for the coordination of a community-wide initiative to highlight the value of nutritional food for all.  Further, this project model establishes a 21st century system for countless options which can be designed for individuals to fulfill the personal instinct of “caring for those in need.”

This design for this project model includes the following structural components:

  1. Database
  2. Mapping
  3. Agency Representatives’ Team (ART) – food banks, community agencies,
    county health systems, hospital consortium, foundations, sponsors and
  4. Congregational Representatives’ Team (CRT)
  5. Trainings in Multi-Faith Awareness – Core understanding of the religion beliefs and practices of the diversity of congregations, as well as individuals be served in the community.
  6. Congregation Certificate – The ART and CRT shared design of education material and project promotion.


  1. A collective congregation and personal understanding and modeling of healthy eating in response to obesity.
  2. Awareness of the need for the donation to food banks of healthy food, on a year round basis, and of the buying power of dollars.
  3. A system which systemically disperses congregation food collection throughout the year through congregations’ covenant for:

“A Year-Round Season of Giving” with two designated giving months each year:

  • In celebration of the congregation’s anniversary. Each month a newspaper ad will announce the congregations in the community which are celebrating their anniversaries and joining together, fulfilling their faiths’ traditions of providing fresh, quality food for those in need through community food banks.
  • In geographic clusters, collectively providing residents in surrounding neighborhoods with guidelines for healthy eating and food donations – drop off dates and congregations locations – and hosting a month end, multi-congregation based neighborhood cluster celebration.
  1. A State-Wide Scale
    This project provides a self-expanding catalyst for a state-wide and nation-wide initiative as the participating congregations share their FOOD COVENANT for “congregation anniversary month food donation” and “congregation cluster mapping food donation” as they participate in clergy and congregation state and national denominational gatherings.

This project also provides the catalyst for a national food bank model.

Based on a quotient of at least one barrel from every congregation, twice a year,
the minimum support on a statewide basis would be:

10 million pounds with a value of $20 million dollars

This figure is based on (a) food bank determination of the weight of a barrel of food and its dollar value and (b) the Office of the Governor estimated number of congregations in the State of California.


Month 1 – Initiating Project

  • Disseminate educational and engagement information to all congregations.
  • Initiate public media campaign.

Months 1 – 4

Month 4 – Month of Recognition

  • Caring for those in need weekend, “Congregants’ Focus on Food: Hunger and Health.”
  • Determination of each congregation’s “Anniversary” and “Geographic” food collection months for the regional food bank, faith-based organizations and/or congregation collaboratives.
  • Each congregation targets completion of the “Certificate” items.
  • Coordinated tracking and technical support for congregations.


Rabbi Jay Miller   RELIGION SECTOR 3.0
1.0  On the Town Square         2.0  Walls of Separation
3.0  Alignment: Among Congregations – Within Society      650.740.4411