Action Center

Support a Hunger Free New England
December 14, 2017

Fellow New England Vincentians -
We hope you wiill support the Hunger Free New England Compact.   As Vincentians, we know the hunger problem first-hand.  We see it regularly whether we are delivering emergency bags of groceries during a home visit, operating a food pantry for the community, or providing meals through a soup kitchen or dining hall.  
For this reason, we were pleased to learn recently about the Hunger Free New England Compact from Vincentian Cleo Castonguay, President of the Exeter (NH) SVdP Conference.  Three Society of St. Vincent de Paul groups - the Exeter Conference, the Fall River (MA) Diocesan Council, and the Attleboro (MA) District Council - have already signed the Compact as organizational entities.  We hope and pray others will also so that eventually the list of co-signers is full of New England SVdP Council and Conferences.  The Compact can be signed by individuals, so we encourage Vincentians to sign personally as well.

The Compact's twin goals are to:
  • share our collective knowledge about the root causes of food insecurity and our vision of the solutions to hunger in New England, and 
  • ask all elected officials, organizations, and individuals in the New England region to endorse these values when making policies that impact our people's food security.
You can read the brief Compact here - it consists of 3 short belief statements and 3 short strategies.  We find these beliefs and strategies wholly consistent with our Vincentian call to seek social justice for our friends in need even as we also provide charity, in this context notably our charitable Vincentian work feeding the hungry.

The New England Hunger Compact was started about two years ago by six leaders - one in each New England state - in the anti-hunger movement.  Hundreds of individuals and organizations throughout New England have already signed the Compact. 
Specifically, we encourage you to do the following 4 things:
  • Discuss hunger and food insecurity at your Council and Conference meetings using the Compact itself and the wealth of information available about it in New England (see the Compact's Website) as the jumping-off point.                                                     
  • Sign the Compact as:
    • as an organizational entity
    • individual Vincentians.
  • Write a message to your elected officials - both at the State and National level - expressing your concern about food insecurity and asking them to advance public policies to reduce hunger.  Tell them about the Hunger Free New England Compact.  Below is a suggested template message.  With a few clicks and keystrokes, you will be able to send your message electronically and directly to your respective Congressional and State elected officials.   Please consider customizing the message with your own personal experience and perspective.
  • Spread the word: 
    • Tell other justice seekers about the Hunger Freee New England Compact and encourage them to sign and be involved
    • Ask your fellow Vincentians and other justice seekers to enroll in Vincentian VoterVoice (sign up below) so that the Voice of the Poor Program grows louder as it absolutely must in these difficult times for the poor and marginalized among us.
    • Initiate Vincentian Voice of the Poor activities in your Council and Conference.  Contact Tom Dwyer, SVdOP Northeast Region Voice of the Poor Leader, for assistance.
In our fight against hunger and food insecurity, we need not only to work together as Vincentians across our Council and Conference borders but also with other like-minded individuals and organizations, secular and faith-based.  Thus, we believe it would be most fitting for New England Vincentians to add their support to the laudable goals of the Hunger Free New England Compact.
Yours in the social justice seeking spirit of Frederic Ozanam,
Irene Frechette

Northeast Region Vice-President, SVdP
Steve Meaney
President, Fall River (MA) Council, SVdP
Mary Dwyer
President, Attleboro (MA) District, SVdP
Cleo Castonguay
President, Exeter (NH) Conference, SVdP
Diana Reeves
Voice of the Poor Chair, Attleboro (MA) District, SVdP
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