Take what you need, if you need, is the inspiration behind the “Blessing Box.” The idea is simple: people donate non-perishable, essential items, and place them inside the box so people in need can take what they need and leave what they […]
This week I viewed a video (see below) surrounding the famine in eastern Africa and the millions of souls who are literally starving before the worlds eyes, a midst the lawlessness of Somalia and environs. The world’s response as been tepid at best, and in my opinion disgraceful. Aid and sufficient military presence to protect those bringing the aid and those receiving the aid should be pouring into the environs, but instead we see donated supplies backing up at ports and depots and not moving to the areas of need. So what happens? Those who need the aid start migrating toward where they believe food and water are present. They journey for days and weeks often times leaving family members dead on the road toward relief. This needs to change.
So often when we speak of hunger in the world, and specifically in the United States it occurs from a distance and in an impersonal manner, until it gets personal. Getting personal can occur when someone you know or someone you love finds themselves debating whether food is something which should be purchased today. Think about that for a minute. If you’ve never had such a thought, where will the food come for my or my family’s next meal, count yourself amongst the fortunate, but more than 50 million in the United States have such thoughts daily; more than 900,000,000 persons in this world we share have those thoughts daily. Please ask yourself, is it possible that the United States (the land of plenty) can have 1/20th of the world’s hungry within it’s population? Then, please ask yourself, what can I do.
Kudos to President Obama of the United States and President Dilma Vana Rousseff of Brazil for their discussion of jointly addressing global food security issues during President Obama’s recent visit to Brazil. As my readers know, I am a strong advocate of eradicating hunger in a world where abundance of food is a reality and the issues lay within the ability to distribute…
While lacking visibiilty into the discussions in Brazil which occurred, I am hopeful that President Rousseff highlighted the initiative of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, (her hometown) where the municipality has outlawed hunger, rendering it illegal – successfully (see my piece, Hunger Should be Illegal). This model needs to be replicated and replicated widely.
In the United States there are programs within the public school systems to assist children with reduced resources to be able to have a light meal cum snack before school and a reduced price lunch during school. When the child goes home, they eat what is placed on the table which if they are fortunate their parent/guardian will prepare, but as often as not, they themselves must prepare. What if there isn’t any food at home? The child goes hungry? Not if there is a Backpack Program.
This morning I read an extraordinarily uplifting piece about the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. They have declared hunger to be illegal. I shalln’t recap the entire article (see link below), but allow me to highlight some of details with hopes that those reading can take the data and emulate in their own villages, towns and cities. In 1993, the city of 2.5 million had 275,000 in absolute poverty and 20% of the children suffering hunger. Fast forward to 2010, hunger is virtually non-existent and only 2% (two percent) of the city’s budget was used to achieve this result – how much was two percent, 2 million dollars – less than a dollar per constituent.