Mireya Ledesma: A champion to end hunger

September 27, 2018

“Isaac sowed seed in that land, and in the same year reaped a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him.” (Genesis 26:12)

Devotional Reflection:

Mireya is a champion for making a difference to end hunger—and she is a powerful voice in her community. She works with the Farmworkers Association of Florida in an administrative position, setting up meetings to help families apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Every day, she encourages people to keep working and to learn something new, whether it is a concept or a word, to move them along in their journey to communicate in English.

Mireya knows firsthand what SNAP means for families who are vulnerable to wage theft and for whom seasonal work can leave them with little or no income for months at a time. Too often, it is hard to put food on the table. These are the seasons when SNAP is the only means for parents to feed their family. As an advocate, Mireya knows that SNAP helps families get through these difficult times.

Mireya sees God’s love in every person she encounters and reminds them to take pride in themselves and their children. For Mireya, ending hunger is personal. Getting to this point wasn’t easy for her.

At the age of 12, Mireya migrated to the United States from Mexico with her parents and five siblings, leaving behind a home and a sense of belonging. Her family had held a prominent role in the community. Like many other immigrants, Mireya’s father was seeking a better life, with better education opportunities for his children. But once in the United States, Mireya and her family quickly realized that not speaking English put them at a clear disadvantage in terms of accessing education and jobs. Mireya struggled, feeling that she was not understood.

Mireya’s father had had a good job in Mexico and had been able to provide a decent life for his family. He expected the same or better in the United States, but what he experienced was inferior housing, low wages, and a struggle to feed his family. They went from being home owners in Mexico to sharing a trailer with 10 other families, each family sharing one room. Mireya remembers hearing rats at night as she lay in bed.

Through it all, Mireya knew that education would be the key to unlocking the chains of poverty and hunger. Learning English was hard and moving several times to different states to help her parents harvest set a barrier to graduating from high school. But Mireya has now completed two years of college and is raising three beautiful children with her husband.

Nationally, Latinos are twice as likely to experience hunger, and Latino agricultural workers are even more at risk of being food insecure. Twenty-one percent of counties with a majority Latino population fall into the 10 percent of counties with the highest childhood food-insecurity rates. Latino children are nearly twice as likely to lack access to sufficient nutritious food as non-Latino white children (24 percent vs. 14 percent).

Prayer:

Gracious God,
Bless the hands of the precious farmworkers who work the land so hard so that we can have nutritious food at the table.
Please hear the cry of justice by farmworkers—because you maintain the cause of the afflicted and execute justice for the most vulnerable.
Guide them out of the rivers of poverty and hunger and onto a land overflowing with milk and honey.
In Christ´s name we pray. Amen. 

As an advocate, Mireya knows that SNAP helps families get through these difficult times.

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Fact Sheet: Hunger by the Numbers

    In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

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