How Baltimore Is Experimenting Its Way Out of the Food Desert

The city is fighting diet-related illnesses in its poorest neighborhoods one fresh tomato at a time.

BALTIMORE—Rosemary Johnson wheels a metal cart into the Family Food Market, a corner store in the rowhouse-filled Govans neighborhood whose three aisles mix groceries with a cornucopia of plastic-wrapped sugar and salt.

She passes the Cheez doodles and two-liter soda bottles, eyes focused on a refrigerator emblazoned with a bright yellow sign that reads “FreshCrate.” She reaches in, below the winter strawberries and Roma tomatoes, and pulls out two bags of green Bartlett pears. READ MORE


What is Bread for the World at St. Ignatius?

Bread for the World is an ecumenical coalition of churches and community organizations that strive to end hunger throughout our nation and around the world. At St. Ignatius, the rich social justice tradition of the church inspires us to encounter the face of Christ in all individuals who lack proper access to food. Whether this endeavor is carried out via direct engagement with impoverished residents of Baltimore, or through written advocacy campaigns to members of Congress, Bread for the World at St. Ignatius Church seeks to highlight and cater to the pressing needs of hungry people at home and abroad. Our primary goal is ending the phenomenon of rampant hunger around the globe and in our own backyards. We, as members of St. Ignatius Church, carry out this objective by persuading members of Congress to resist the urge to cut programs that assist individuals who depend on them for nutritional sustenance through Offerings of Letters; in conjunction with ongoing efforts to inform parishioners about the plight of food insecure brothers and sisters in Baltimore, Maryland.


Red zones are zones experiencing greater rates of poverty. Baltimore is a red zone in a sea of blue.

Join us at the Ignatian Family Teach-In For Justice in October!

In light of COVID-19, the ​Ignatian Family Teach-In For Justice​ will be moving once again, this year to a screen near you!

While we will miss the chance to gather in person, we are presented with a unique opportunity to more deeply connect and to engage the breadth of the Ignatian network. This year, the Teach-In is more than a weekend-long conference; we have expanded to a full week of programming plus a 365-day opportunity for members of the Ignatian family to connect—including both with those down the street and around the world. Using a powerful online event platform, the Teach-In will immerse you in the same renowned speakers, inspiring and challenging breakouts, communal prayer and liturgy, advocacy training and virtual advocacy opportunities, and networking with dynamic faith and justice organizations. Using the power of a virtual space to connect our network, the 2020 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice will serve as a launching point for new ways of collaboratively seeking a more just world.

If you are interested in learning more or registering, please click ​here​. If you would like to register as a member of St. Ignatius Catholic Community, please email ​Candra Healy​ at ​ [email protected] with the subject line, “IFTJ”.

We're so pleased with the Bread For the World Letter Writing Campaign Outcome!

view photos

Bread For the World Sunday Followup

On Sunday, April 7, 2019, St. Ignatius parishioners took time out of their routines to support lifesaving programs funded by our government to end hunger and poverty in the United States and famine-stricken countries abroad by taking part in letter-writing sessions following each Mass.

Our parishioners gathered in Ignatian Hall to write letters and send e-mails to our representatives in Congress urging them to protect and increase funding towards safety net programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, and WIC; and, international development assistance programs. We were able to collect 73 written letters and we sent 234 personal emails. In addition to our advocacy, St. Ignatius directly supported hunger related initiatives thr ough this week’s Poor Box Collection, which was reserved for Bread for the World. Contributions were made in the amount of $250. Thank you for this support!

Our advocacy and direct service activities to end hunger and poverty continue throughout the year. On Tuesday, June 11, St. Ignatius will be participating in the Bread for the World Lobby Day, in which Christians from across the country gather in Washington, D.C. to meet with representatives in Congress to further pressure them to work towards ending hunger. If you are interested in participating, fill out this Google form . This is a great opportunity for parishioners of all ages to see how we, in our faith, can make a real difference in our society. Transportation will be provided! Contact Candra Healy, Justice & Peace Committee Chair, at [email protected] for more information.

More opportunities to engage in this work are also listed on the Justice & Peace Hunger and Poverty and Loaves and Fishes pages on the St. Ignatius website. We thank you all!


Good nutrition during the 1,000-day period from the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday is critical to a child’s health and future well-being.

To accelerate progress on nutrition, we must scale up what we know works: improved access to nutritious foods, vitamins and minerals, clean water and sanitation, promotion of breastfeeding, and treatment for severe malnutrition.

All children deserve the opportunity to live a healthy life and reach their full potential. Join us in making this opportunity a reality!


Immigration is a hunger issue. People who make the decision to leave home and come to the United States generally have few other options. Central America countries are among the poorest in the world, with very high levels of hunger and malnutrition.

Any truly effective immigration policy must include lasting solutions to push factors of migration: hunger, malnutrition, extreme poverty, and violence.

This year, Congress has the opportunity to strengthen the United States’ development and humanitarian assistance by investing in development assistance targeted to help countries in Central America respond to and address the causes of forced  migration.


Reforming our nation’s criminal justice system is critical to ending hunger and poverty in the United States. Harsh mandatory minimum sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

People lose income and work skills while serving time in prison and lack opportunities to participate in rehabilitative programs, making it even harder for many to find a job after leaving the prison system.

Reforms, such as reducing mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders, eliminating the collateral consequences to incarceration, and expanding access to reentry services would help reduce hunger and improve the stability of families in the United States.


Reflections on the Giving Tree

The spirit of giving has been alive at Saint Ignatius for many years. Starting over twenty years ago during Advent, there was a tree, called the Jesse Tree, with paper ornaments representing various stories in the Bible leading up to the birth of Jesus. Written on the reverse side of each ornament was an item, such as gloves, hats, and scarfs, for donors to buy as a Christmas gift for people served by the homeless ministry. Several years ago, Norma Hyder, who coordinates this ministry, expanded the program to provide $25 grocery gift cards for women and children served by My Sister’s Place.

talking points

Talking Points

Given the current political climate, I have caught myself asking, where are our faith leaders in all of this?



There are hungry people in the United States. Why should we spend taxpayer dollars on international poverty-focused development assistance?


DEFINE: Hunger

The U.S. government does not use the term “hunger,” but it defines and regularly measures the incidence of two conditions related to it. One is “low food security,” or not always being sure of having enough money to pay for food. The other is “very low food security,” skipping meals or not eating for a whole day or longer because there is not enough money for food. The term “food insecurity” refers to households in either group. Bread for the World considers food insecurity to be hunger. Americans frequently interpret “hunger” or “food insecurity” to mean that someone does not have enough food. And, of course, it’s true that not having enough food is hunger. But the two terms also encompass not just the number of calories available to people, but the nutrients they consume. Since nutritious foods tend to cost more and may be harder to access in low-income neighborhoods, people who live below the poverty line are too often forced to choose cheap foods that may be filling but do not provide the nutrients needed for good health. Their health—especially the health of children—can and does suffer as a result.

pope francis

Congress Must Protect and Strengthen SNAP and Other Key Anti-Hunger Programs

Give policymakers a brief, up-to-date fact sheet on what they can do to protect and strengthen key anti-hunger programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Direct Action...

Loaves & Fishes Logo

St. Ignatius engages in Direct Action to address hunger in Baltimore City through the Loaves & Fishes ministry. Learn more by visiting our Loaves & Fishes ministry page.


St. Ignatius supports the work of St. Vincent de Paul Baltimore, which actively works in the community to address hunger and poverty through education, programming, and service. Check them out here.

hunger project

St. Ignatius supports the Baltimore Hunger Project, which provides weekend food packages for children experiencing food insecurity. Learn more about them here.


St. Ignatius partners with Viva House, operated by Brendan Walsh and Willa Beckham, to provide food to those who need it in Baltimore. Learn more about Viva House here.

Contact Information

Candra Healy
Justice & Peace Committee Chair
[email protected]

Contact Information

Candra Healy
Hunger & Poverty Subcommittee Chair
[email protected]

Justice & Peace Meetings

The Justice & Peace Committee generally meets on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 6:30 PM. Click here for compete information.