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‘Failing Retirement’—to Bread’s Benefit

Dave and Robin Miner: Full-time hunger activists

April 2012

Dave Miner’s Bible study during his graduate school days at Purdue University brought him two life-transforming gifts. First, a friend gave him Ron Sider’s book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. When he read it, he was gripped by the staggering number of hungry people in a world with food enough for all. The injustice struck a chord in him and led him to join Bread. He has served as chair of Bread’s board since 2007.

Second, he met Robin, another member of the Bible study. The two had actually attended the same undergraduate college but didn’t meet until a mutual friend introduced them at Purdue. They married exactly one year later. They have been Bread members for more than 30 years.

Robin’s decision to join Bread was also spurred by a similar sense of unfairness. “I was raised in the Catholic church during the 1960s,” she said, “when there was a great emphasis on peace and justice.”

She recalls a vacation her family took when she was young. When they stopped for gas, the children went to look for a restroom and saw three doors at the back of the gas station. “The sign on one said ‘men,’ another said ‘women,’ and the third started with a ‘c,” which we thought was for children,” said Robin. “My mother’s explanation led to a series of ‘why’ questions—and some mystifying answers about race and poverty.”

Dave and Robin spent their careers in the field of agro-science, eventually assuming high-level management positions. They raised two children, both of whom are now in advanced graduate studies, and decided to retire early so they could devote more time to their volunteer activities—and their goal of running a half-marathon in every state.

Robin and Dave participate in several Bread groups in their home state of Indiana, and they play leadership roles in the Indy Hunger Network, an Indianapolis-based coalition of hunger organizations. Dave also helped launch the Interfaith Hunger Initiative, which brings faith communities together to help end child and family hunger, and Robin works closely with a local domestic violence services group. The Miners are also active in their home congregation, Fairview Presbyterian Church.

“Dave has provided singular leadership to anti-hunger organizing in Indiana, and Robin has contributed rigorous analysis to the process,” said David Beckmann, president of Bread. “They have developed an exceptionally strong Bread for the World network in Indiana, and the community-based hunger coalitions they have pulled together have a good chance to end child hunger in Indianapolis by 2015.”

“We sometimes joke we are failing retirement,” Dave laughs. “But retiring from corporate America has given us the chance to use our technical and leadership skills as full-time volunteers in a cause we care deeply about.”

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