Inspired by others, retiree volunteers at Bread

January 23, 2017
Ronnie Fellerath-Lowell, right, collaborating with partners at Catholic Relief Services. Photo courtesy of Ronnie Fellerath-Lowell.

By Ronnie Fellerath-Lowell         

Do you think that people will go to Mars in the next 50 years? Perhaps you just saw “The Martian” or watched the “MARS” series on TV and it all seems possible.

How about ending hunger in 2030?  That’s only 13 years from now! Yet Bread for the World has embraced the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ending hunger by 2030 because it is so important and POSSIBLE. Certainly not easy, but possible.

Last summer, at age 75, I joined the Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC), which matches retirees who seek part-time volunteer work with organizations that that are helping people living in poverty. I like to work for big goals—to address the cause of a problem. That’s why I started my career as a teacher. I wanted to inspire the next generation. Later, when I was on staff in an inner-city Catholic parish in Brooklyn, I was inspired when the pastor shared Bread for the World’s Offering of Letters with parishioners, as a communal living-out of the gospel mandate to “feed the hungry.” The African-American and Latino parishioners, who often experienced hunger issues first-hand, recognized Bread for the World’s potential to address the causes. This experience introduced me to ending hunger through advocacy and legislative policy—making a larger impact than donating to the food pantry, although both are needed. Therefore, as soon as I heard that Bread for the World could use a volunteer, I knew that I was interested because they work for systemic change in a faith context.

It’s because other people inspired me that I am now volunteering at Bread for the World. Last November, I helped organize and staff the Bread for the World exhibit table at the Ignatian Family Teach-In. The 1,800 participants were mostly high school and college students so we had the opportunity to inspire the next generation of Bread for the World activists. We talked with these enthusiastic young people, provided information about Bread for the World, and successfully encouraged many of the students to write individual letters to their members of Congress. Those letters were delivered to Capitol Hill by Bread for the World staff.

Now, as 2017 begins, let’s continue to embrace with hope and strong advocacy the Sustainable Development Goals of Ending Hunger by 2030. Your phone calls, emails, hand-written letters, and in-person visits can help achieve this goal. And, your efforts will inspire others.

Ronnie Fellerath-Lowell is a volunteer in the church relations department at Bread for the World.

I like to work for big goals—to address the cause of a problem.

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • Mass Incarceration: A Major Cause of Hunger

    Mass incarceration has far-reaching effects in the United States. It poses a significant barrier to ending U.S. hunger and poverty by 2030—a goal the United States adopted in 2015. But the connection is not always obvious.

  • Advancing Nutrition through Food Aid Reform

    The United States has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies. Food assistance that includes nutritious food for pregnant women and young children is both a life-and-death matter for individuals and an economic imperative for countries.

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

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.


  • 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...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.