September marks Hunger Action Month, a time to raise awareness regarding the heartbreaking statistics that 42 million in the United States, including over 13 million children, are currently facing hunger.
This alarming number is one of the many reasons that the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, NY, and the team at Harmony Farm in Orange County, NY, a ministry site of the sisters, support several food pantries, including St. Margaret’s Guild in Middletown, NY, Newburgh Ministries in Newburgh, NY, and the Goshen Ecumenical Food Pantry in Goshen, NY.
Sr. Didi Madden, OP, shared, “I think of several places where we are involved in direct feeding of the hungry and places where we actively work to support those who feed the hungry. In all those places, we do it with a sense of community and relationship to the people being served and the people volunteering. I also think we help to expand people’s understanding of how much hunger is in this country and our obligation to help eliminate hunger.”
Sr. Ellenrita Purcaro, OP, added, “While our goal this year is to produce as much fresh produce as we can for local food pantries at no cost to them, a side effect is building a community of committed people who want to help provide healthy food for their neighbors. We are all learning something new about growing vegetables every day! Why did the cucumbers not produce well? Why is the cabbage the best we ever had? What is the best organic way to be bug-free? We learn from each other and Google!”
Presently, Harmony Farm delivers food once a week to Middletown, twice a month to Goshen, and weekly to Newburgh.
Along with Sisters Didi and Ellenrita, several Sisters of Saint Dominic, including Sr. Gertrude Simpson, OP, have participated in ministry at Harmony Farm to help feed the hungry.
Sr. Gertrude, who has been assisting with the planting of seeds and other tasks, shared, “It just feels good to be a part of something that is making the world better and people’s lives better. You want to contribute and be a little part of something, and I’ve been a little part of all the good things that have been in Goshen since the ’50s. This place is special.”
The impact of Harmony Farm in the fight against hunger and knowing that there is still much work to be done to eliminate hunger continues to be a motivating factor each day for the sisters ministering in Goshen.
Sr. Didi explained, “I am amazed each day when I go into the fields of Harmony Farm and see the abundance of food and the beauty of creation. And, then I am humbled by the generosity and commitment of the farm staff as they work through some incredible challenges of organic growing and pay attention to supporting one another each day. And, when I see hundreds of pounds of food go to the food pantries in Goshen, Middletown, and Newburgh each week, I know that we have shared the beauty and abundance of this land in a way that contributes to food justice and health in the Hudson Valley in some small way. This ministry allows me to celebrate creation, build community, and foster food justice; a balanced expression of living a practical, integral life of faith.”