Member Profile: Jana Prescott
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Overcoming the Odds
For Jana Prescott—longtime Bread for the World member from Omaha, NE—physical impairments cannot slow one's zeal to speak the truth on behalf of hungry and poor people.
In 1983, Jana experienced a life-changing incident: She and her sister were passengers in a car that was run over by a train. The tragedy damaged the left side of Jana’s brain and left her partially paralyzed and wheelchair-bound. Although her mind is sharp, she has difficulty reading and making her speech understood.
Rather than use the railway company’s settlement only for herself, Jana chose to amplify her generosity to Bread for the World and other organizations, even setting up a small philanthropic foundation. Through the Baker’s Dozen giving program, Jana also supports Bread’s work with a generous monthly gift.
Jana recalls first hearing about Bread for the World as a recent college graduate working at a Presbyterian camp in Allenspark, CO.
"I started hearing bits and pieces of this group known as Bread for the World," says Prescott. "I have been, and still am, an ecologist since high school. Bread for the World's aim fits that vision well: They help feed people in a more sustainable way."
Inspired by Bread for the World, Jana stopped buying most “store-bought” products, such as bread, buns, and rolls, and began baking from scratch. This was a big challenge when feeding such a large camp. But soon, she began baking not only for the camp, but for hungry people in the outlying area.
"Jana is a powerful advocate for hungry people," says Mike Troutman, Bread for the World's Midwest donor relations manager.
This past June 12, Bread for the World's Lobby Day, Jana met with Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) and an aid to Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE). Holding Sen. Johanns' gaze, Jana made sure the former Secretary of Agriculture knew how important it is that mothers can feed their children. "In a county like ours, we have that responsibility," she told him.
In addition to her advocacy on Capitol Hill, Jana works to raise awareness of hunger in her home congregation, Omaha's West Hills Presbyterian Church. She and her sister Julie—who directs West Hills' Mission program—dream of one day bringing a group of young people to Lobby Day. Another way Jana works to end hunger is by writing letters to elected officials and to her local newspaper. In one letter, she described a trip to the grocery store, where a young clerk fainted from what turned out to be lack of food in her home.
"It is a blessing to work with Jana toward ending hunger," says Troutman. "Her fiery spirit, her generosity, and her quiet humor impress everyone she meets."