The National Farm Worker Ministry encourages our supporters to participate in a tradition of the farm worker movement: hosting a sacrificial meal and fundraiser honoring those who harvest our food. The event involves the following actions, starting with the gathering of a faith community:
- Gathering friends, family and faith communities.
- Praying and reflecting on farm workers’ lives, giving thanks for their labor, and seeking solidarity with them.
- Eat a humble meal together, usually soup and bread.
- Offer the money that you might have spent on a dinner out to support the farm worker struggle. In this case, we hope that your collection will be donated to NFWM to support our ongoing work.
- Consider also including an educational component during the meal time. You might show the NFWM Presentation or a video about farm workers.
Setting a Time for the Feast
For some congregations, a simple luncheon after Sunday worship is the best way to get maximum participation. For others, a weekend evening allows people to focus just on the event at hand.
Often, tying the meal and/or program into an event that is already happening is an effective way to not duplicate “turn out” efforts. For example, if your church already plans other harvest-themed events or hosts a weekly meal, these might be good opportunities to weave in farm worker themes, rather than creating a separate event.
While the Harvest of Justice season is from Labor Day through World Food Day (October 16), feel free to hold your Harvest of Justice Event anytime that is most convenient for your community. We recommend that is is separate from any Thanksgiving Day celebrations, since the idea is to have a humble, simple, even sacrificial meal in the midst of the abundance that we enjoy.
Choosing a Structure for the Event
We recommend planning an event that is an hour to an hour and a half. Plan enough time for fellowship, eating, and a program centered on farm workers or the work of NFWM.
Suggested activities could include:
- Prayer using the Harvest of Justice Prayer pamphlet.
- Use our Worship Resources to prepare a short service honoring farm workers.
- Review NFWM’s Farmworker Facts.
- Take NFWM’s quiz on farmworkers collectively or in small groups.
- View NFWM’s powerpoint presentation about farm workers.
- Visit our Current Campaigns page and determine if there is an action, such as letter writing or postcards that attendees could participate in.
- Watch one of our videos about farmworkers and the allies who support them.
- Read NFWM’s compilation of farmworker stories and reflect on their lives.
- Check out our resources for house party for NFWM.
Planning the Meal
We suggest a simple meal of soup and bread. The meal could be prepared together in advance or you could also hold the meal as a potluck.
Please use this template for simple placemat containing photos and quotes to remind people of the farm worker focus. The templates can be printed out on regular 8 ½ x 11 paper, and then enlarged 129% on a copier to 11 x 17. If you cut the corners off, you will have a meaningful and attractive looking placemat to place on the tables for your meals.
If you choose to use this meal to support the National Farm Worker Ministry financially, we suggest you let people know ahead of time that they will be encouraged to give a donation. You can either have a person at the door accepting the donations or place baskets on the tables or by the food clearly marked for donations. You can either ask people for a specific amount (e.g. $10 for an evening meal), ask people to simply contribute whatever they would have spent on a meal out or – to be sure not to exclude families, students and others – you can simply ask for a free will donation. If people prefer to give using their credit card, consider setting up a computer where they can make a donation online.
Are you ready to host a Harvest of Justice Event? Contact us for more information and support.
We think you’ll be glad you’ve taken the opportunity to unite your lives with the lives of the men, women and children whose labor feeds us every day.
Have a wonderful time and thank you for hosting this event!