Archive for April 29th, 2009

Blogging for World Hunger

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Today is an unusual day in the blogosphere. Bloggers all over the world are uniting to bring attention to world hunger and to ask readers to help. I write this blog mostly for my own entertainment, and hopefully if you read it, it entertains you, too. But I’m thrilled to have a chance to use what I write to help others.

Like most people, I worry about hunger in the world. I wish I could do something to change it. And I feel helpless. The problem is so large, and I do well to feed my family. What can I do about it? Money sent to organizations mostly gets used for their overhead expenses. When food aid actually does reach some countries, it gets confiscated for their armies. How can you know that help is getting to those who need it so desperately?

Still, I feel that I have to do something. Once, when my daughter was an infant, I had tried to feed her before leaving my mom’s house to drive home, a trip of about twenty minutes. She was fussy and wouldn’t eat. Five minutes after we left, she began to cry and suck on her fists, demanding her dinner. The pacifier didn’t help. Talking didn’t distract her. Her brother patted her head but she yelled louder. I knew I’d be home soon if she could just wait, but her wails began to sound pitiful and desperate, and my heart was breaking. Finally I could stand it no longer and I pulled the car into a parking lot, took her from her seat and nursed her until she was happy enough to finish the drive home. I cried the entire time, because she had sounded so needy, and suddenly I was overwhelmed with knowledge of how a third world mother feels when her baby cries and she has nothing to feed it. When she’s gone so long without food herself that her body no longer provides even a little milk. When she has to listen to her child crying out in pain and there is nothing she can do to stop it. I could stop my daughter’s cries. Even if I had kept driving, she’d have only been hungry for a few more minutes. I was unable to endure even those few minutes. What if I’d had nothing to give her? What if that third world mother was me?

I don’t know how to solve the problem of hunger in the world, but I think if each of us tried to help one family, progress could be made. We can’t always know that we’ve chosen the right charity, but that’s no excuse to do nothing. One group I really like is Heifer International (www.heifer.org .). The organization, which provides domestic animals to families, does more than feed people. It’s the “teach a man to fish” idea in practice. The animals provide meat for families, but they also provide labor, fertilizer, and offspring to perpetuate the gift. A family with a cow can make cheese or sell milk and butter. A family who receives chickens can sell eggs, those with sheep can spin wool. The gift can provide food, a living, and dignity for the family who receives it, along with the joy of giving as they pass along offspring to their neighbors.

I’m not saying that everyone should jump on the Heifer International band wagon, though it’s a pretty good one. There are many organizations and charities out there that do more than just ship bags of rice around the world. It only takes a minute to google them, see if what they do fits your needs, and to start doing something instead of making excuses for what you can’t do. At least we can try.