September 14, 2007 — Poverty has no denomination. And the three monotheistic faiths all see concern for the poor as central to their belief systems. So it’s heartening that Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and members of other faith traditions are launching a year-long effort to alleviate poverty on Long Island.
It arises from a stark reality: the 259,000 people who show up at food pantries on the Island annually. Often, they’re the working poor, holding multiple jobs, but failing to stay ahead of their bills. Fittingly, the campaign’s major thrust began this week, at the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and Ramadan, the Muslim season of fasting.
Those who created the Mobilized Interfaith Coalition Against Hunger – its acronym is MICAH, like the prophet – are Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, the Long Island Council of Churches, the Islamic Center of Long Island, and Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger. They are joined starting this week by the Interfaith Alliance.
For a year, they’ll focus on the Island’s poverty in a variety of ways: educating, exhorting, advocating, praying together, transcending differences and working in harness against one of humankind’s most persistent scourges.