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Program Bank Lesson Plan: Study current challenges of hunger and poverty

To begin: watch the "Tour Poverty USA" video from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (4 minutes 05 seconds)

Questions for Discussion:

  • What stood out to you about this brief video?

  • How does the poverty line compare to the actual cost of living?

  • What’s the difference between a “hand out” and a “hand up”?

  • Why is poverty a cycle?

Text study:

Begin this section by studying one or more of the following texts:

Leviticus 19:9

בְקֻצְרְכֶם אֶת קְצִיר אַרְצְכֶם לֹא תְכַלֶּה פְּאַת שָׂדְךָ לִקְצֹר וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט: וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תְעוֹלֵל וּפֶרֶט כַּרְמְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט לֶעָנִי וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם אֲנִי ה' אֱלֹהֵיכֶם

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the corners of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not pick your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am Adonai your God.


Deuteronomy 15:7-9

כִּי יִהְיֶה בְךָ אֶבְיוֹן מֵאַחַד אַחֶיךָ בְּאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ בְּאַרְצְךָ אֲשֶׁר ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ לֹא תְאַמֵּץ אֶת לְבָבְךָ וְלֹא תִקְפֹּץ אֶת יָדְךָ מֵאָחִיךָ הָאֶבְיוֹן: כִּי פָתֹחַ תִּפְתַּח אֶת יָדְךָ לוֹ וְהַעֲבֵט תַּעֲבִיטֶנּוּ דֵּי מַחְסֹרוֹ אֲשֶׁר יֶחְסַר לוֹ    

If, however, there is a needy person among you, one of your kin in any of your settlements in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your needy kin. Rather, you must open your hand and lend them sufficient for whatever they need.


Proverbs 31:8-9

פְּתַח פִּיךָ לְאִלֵּם אֶל דִּין כָּל בְּנֵי חֲלוֹף

פְּתַח פִּיךָ שְׁפָט צֶדֶק וְדִין עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן

Speak up for the dumb, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Speak up, judge righteously, champion the poor and the needy.

Questions for Discussion:

  • What is the text saying?

  • What are the implications of this message?

  • How does this text relate to the video we just watched?

Next, pick one of the following areas to focus on during the rest of the session. Use the links to print out information (e.g. fact sheets or legislative updates) and create a document to work through with participants of the session:


Brainstorm ideas of how you can get involved in the fight for your chosen issue. 

Other helpful resources: