Two Cents-a-Meal invites every member of your congregation to prayerfully contribute a few cents at each meal to help alleviate hunger and poverty. Ideally, contributions come from “living more simply so that others may simply live.” Participation in is also a commitment to share with others in response to Jesus’ command, “You give them something to eat.”
The Two Cents-a-Meal concept originated with Presbyterian women to provide an opportunity for individuals and families to participate in a corporate response to world hunger. The Presbyterian Women’s Birthday Offering funded a hunger program that started the Hunger Action Enabler network in 1973. In November 1975, Florida resident Rosellyn Calvert, whose own family was struggling financially, asked God what she could do to help those suffering from hunger and poverty around the world. She was led to give just two cents a meal. The Calvert family committed to each give two cents, and in April of 1976 Rosellyn shared the concept with her presbytery. Today, most presbyteries encourage the contribution of two cents (or more)per person at each meal, reminding individuals, families and groups each time they eat of the needs of others and our call to respond as Christians to their hunger. Daily participation is a reminder of the reality of hunger for millions of our sisters and brothers in the world. As the money accumulates, those participating become aware that small, regular acts can result in significant responses to hunger and that there is great strength in working together with other Christians.
45% of the Two Cents-a-Meal offering is awarded through grants to local organizations and agencies and 45% is awarded to regional, national and international organizations and agencies. All grant recipients must address hunger through one or more of the following five Presbyterian Hunger Program areas of emphasis: direct food relief, development assistance, public policy advocacy, hunger education and/or lifestyle integrity.
The remaining 10% is used for administrative costs. The current Two Cents-A-Meal report will show that neighbors near and far benefit greatly from participants’ generosity!
All congregations, along with previous recipients, receive grant application information annually. Recipients must be connected to a Presbyterian congregation in addition to addressing hunger through at least one of the five program areas listed above.
Most PC(USA) presbyteries participate in Two Cents-a-Meal or some form of a Cents-Ability (umbrella term for Two Cents, Five Cents, etc. ) offering. Guidelines vary from presbytery to presbytery, but all have the same purpose: to help alleviate hunger and poverty.