Hunger Offering Enables Refugee Women to Share a Meal
By Jaclyn R. Bonner
As a former Texas Baptist Hunger Offering intern, I can swiftly list the statistics of how many people are malnourished worldwide, how many families in Texas are food insecure, and how many ministries the Hunger Offering helps fund. A selection of inspirational stories of how God is using the Hunger Offering to mobilize ministries to transform lives is also readily on my mind. The Hunger Offering has impacted me, moved me, and challenged me. This month, it fed me.
Refuge and Hope empowers urban refugees by offering educational, personal, and professional development opportunities, allowing them to thrive, whether they stay in Uganda, are resettled, or return to their home countries. One way this vision is accomplished is through the Women’s Empowerment Program.
I have met each shelter resident and am thankful to call them my friends. We live on the same road and often walk to the Center of Hope together.
My new friends are enrolled in the three-month program, which is specifically designed to minister to vulnerable women who have experienced trauma and are at risk of further exploitation.
Professional and peer counseling, group therapy, discipleship, vocational training, and internships are elements of the multi-faceted program. Women and their children are given a new home and a restored sense of hope. Because of the Hunger Offering, they are also given meals.
One evening on my walk home, I spontaneously visited the shelter. Upon my arrival, two exuberant children ran to my open arms, embracing my legs and looking up at me with wide smiles and joyful eyes. They mimicked their mother’s excitement, which ensued from my unexpected visit.
I was welcomed with warm greetings and a warm plate of local cuisine prepared by Mallory*, one of the women in the program. Each week fresh ingredients for meals at the shelter are purchased with money from the Hunger Offering.
Your generosity allowed the refugee women to show hospitality, share their culture, and their meal with me.
Thank you for dinner, Texas Baptists.
*name changed for security