Who We Are

The World Hunger Ecumenical Arizona Task-Force (WHEAT) was formed in 1979 to address the root causes of hunger, providing tools and resources to make a difference in the lives of others living in poverty, encouraging people to think globally, but act locally.  WHEAT is committed to increasing the understanding, sensitivity and opportunity for change in the fight against hunger amongst all peoples.  WHEAT’s ultimate goal is the ability of the individual to become self-sustaining.  In 2003, WHEAT added its dba World Hunger Education, Advocacy & Training organization, reflecting the wider audience that WHEAT is collaborating with, along with its intentional emphasis on education, advocacy and training with a goal to end hunger and poverty at the root.   

The mission of WHEAT is to educate, advocate, engage and empower individuals to action in the fight against hunger and poverty. WHEAT focuses on the root causes of hunger and poverty, acting as a source and resource for individual and group involvement in programs and activities, all working to empower individuals to self sustenance.

Our primary goals are to:

  • provide the tools and resources on the why’s and where-fors of hunger and poverty;SFSP-Thumbs-Up-LR
  • empower individuals to become self-sustaining;
  • advocate on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves, striving for policy changes that solve the root causes of poverty and hunger;
  • engage individuals in taking action and becoming involved in anti-hunger activities and actions, working beside those experiencing hunger and poverty.

This is a unique opportunity to serve our communities, offering a voice of advocacy, within the framework of faith and conscience. WHEAT was founded in Arizona as a task force of the National Council of Churches and by the 19 different faith communities represented. These faith communities recognized the need for education and advocacy involving the local religious and community groups who were in the struggle to end hunger, both locally and globally.  WHEAT was incorporated in Arizona in 1985 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) agency and is the only WHEAT organization still operating from the original group of task forces formed by the National Council of Churches in the 1970’s.

Always known as WHEAT, the organization works closely with interfaith, educational and corporate partners leading to a self-sustaining lifestyle for our constituencies.

The work of WHEAT is to increase the understanding, sensitivity and opportunity for change in the fight against hunger amongst groups and individuals. We encourage active participation by these individuals in the legislative process, direct service and funding support. To this end we have projects and activities that have global and local ramifications: Hand to Hand Project – a Fair Trade Initiative along with its Fair Trade Store; The Clothes Silo; the National World Food Day teleconference and its supporting activities; the Norma Johansen Hunger Library.

 WHEAT collaborates on issues concerning poverty and food security with many agencies and organizations including Bread for the World, Church World Service, Let Justice Roll, the Arizona Faith Network, The World Food Programme, RESULTS, the ONE Campaign, local and federal governmental organizations and agencies, as well as Denomination-specific Hunger Committees. These partnerships enhance WHEAT’s ability to initiate new projects and to support ongoing events and activities related to hunger.  

WHEAT consistently partners with organizations, agencies and faith communities to fight hunger and its related issues within Arizona, as well as nationally and internationally.   We continue to advocate for positive changes and increased funding in the Federal Budget including Summer Food Service Programs and are Supplemental Nutrition, Children’s Nutrition programs and funding for SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps.

WHEAT is actively involved in advocacy efforts communicating with Arizona’s State Legislature and Congressional Delegation, in collaboration with other agencies, whenever and however it concerns those living in poverty.  WHEAT’s strength lies in its long time coalition building with officials, faith communities, educational institutions and people with decision-making power.

Since 1979, WHEAT has been on the forefront of poverty and hunger issues; called on to serve on international committees, such as the FAO Hunger Committee and the Millennium Development Committee (now the Sustainable Development Committee), helping to make decisions on programming that directly affects the World’s poor. These two collaborations, in particular, have led to international projects that are accountable and achieving great success in developing countries toward an end to poverty, hunger and disease, leading to empowerment and economic success.

We continue the collaboration with Widlfire (formerly Arizona Community Action Agency), the AZ DES and the USDA with other statewide partners in a Community Partnership to Increase SNAP Enrollment in Arizona.  WHEAT’s primary role is to engage faith communities in SNAP outreach activities through volunteer training, distribution of materials, actual pre-screening and enrollment assistance at their faith community location.

We are deeply committed to our partnerships, and the positive outcomes for those living in poverty, such as the Valley of the Sun United Way’s Anti-Hunger Community Collaborative, actively participating on the Summer Food Service committee and SNAP Outreach committee, as well as participating in the Financial Stability Coalition. 

WHEAT Values Diversity

WHEAT welcomes all people — whoever they are and wherever they are on their journey. We celebrate the gifts and talents given to each individual that empower us to engage boldly in the struggles of life and to care for others with love, justice, and compassion.

We value and embrace differences. We foster an environment of diversity and welcome opportunities to become more inclusive.

We work to strengthen the presence and participation of diverse constituencies in our office, our outreach, and all of our work.

We work to end hunger and poverty at the root involving all peoples in that work. They may be in the next house or in the next country. No matter where they live, whoever they may be, they are our neighbors. We affirm our mission to work with and for our vast community of neighbors.

It is WHEAT’s quest to end poverty and hunger, rooting out its causes and overcoming issues and barriers through positive action. Join us – Volunteer, Donate, Take Action.

DSC_24141              WHEAT is…

  • Home of WHEAT’s Center for Success – housing WHEAT’s Management Training & Mentoring Program
  • Headquarters for the Arizona Walks for the Hungry to benefit Local Hunger Projects
  • Administrative Agency for the Apache, Maricopa and Navajo County Boards and State Set-Aside Committee of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program
  • Sponsor of the Statewide World Food Day (October 16) Activities in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Convener and sponsor of 58 SNAP Outreach Sites throughout Arizona
  • Member of the United States National Committee for World Food Day
  • Champion of Life-Style Simplification
  • Advocate for the Poor and Disenfranchised
  • Home of the Norma Johansen Hunger Library
  • A Hunger Education Resource and Training Center
  • Member of the Hunger Advisory Council to the Arizona Department of Economic Security
  • Parent Organization of WHEAT’s Clothes Silo and Hand to Hand Project and its Fair Trade Store

How can YOU end hunger and poverty?

  • Educate yourself and others about hunger, poverty and its victims.
  • Examine your lifestyle and make necessary changes to simplify. Live simply so that others might simply live!
  • Support and participate in anti-hunger appeals, anti-hunger walks and other anti-hunger action events.
  • Give a helping hand…volunteer with WHEAT and join the quest to end hunger and poverty at the root.
  • Work for justice…advocate for changes in our food security systems and welfare reforms to solve the root causes of hunger. Voice your concerns to your State Legislators and Congressional Representatives and Senators.