Member Profile: Michigan Bread Members Demonstrate Community Responsibility
On a Wednesday morning in mid-September, more than 1,000 students filled the pews and stood in the aisles of Dimnent Memorial Chapel at Hope College in Holland, Mich. More than a third of the campus had come to hear Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.
In his talk, Beckmann reminded the students that, "when Moses went to Pharaoh, he didn't ask for cans of food but for the freedom of the Hebrew people." Beckmann encouraged the students to take part in God’s "exodus from hunger" by using the power they have as Christian citizens to urge our nation’s decision makers to end hunger.
Beckmann counseled the students on their important role as Christian citizens. "No matter who you vote for this November, Democrat or Republican, reflect on who would bring good news to the poor and hungry," Beckmann told the students.
This chapel address at Hope College, a school affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, was one of many events that took place over three days in Holland and Grand Rapids, Mich. Organized by long-time Bread for the World members, these events were an opportunity for Beckmann to meet with pastors, church leaders, and funders.
Two days prior to the Hope College chapel service, Beckmann attended a special reception at the Marigold Lodge in Holland. More than 100 guests gathered to hear Beckmann talk about his visit last fall to Bangladesh. There he saw firsthand the progress made in the 30 years since his days as a missionary economist in that country. The poverty-focused development assistance championed by Bread for the World has made that improvement possible.
Mike Goorhouse, vice president of donor development at the Community Foundation of the Holland-Zeeland Area, was one of the host committee members of the Marigold Lodge event. Still in his 20s, Goorhouse has become an enthusiastic supporter of Bread for the World.
"David Beckmann did a fantastic job showing how advocacy at the federal level is a partner to direct services at the local level," said Goorhouse. "We now know how important it is to have an effective presence at the federal level to change the politics of hunger."
Reflecting on the enthusiastic reception he received in Western Michigan, Beckmann remarked, "In both Holland and Grand Rapids, deep Christian roots and a strong sense of community responsibility translate into an appreciation for the role our government's policies play in helping end hunger."