December 18, 2014

SHN’s Team Juggaar in Bangalore

Night before last we had the opportunity to gather all the wonderful folks who have been instrumental in helping open Stop Hunger Now India. It was a delightful evening of getting to know one another, sharing past successes, new ideas and plans for Stop Hunger Now’s future in India, and being inspired by the knowledge that by working together we can make a real difference on behalf of the hungry here in India.

Everyone of our friends in this photo is a leader in the fight to end hunger on our lifetime. Gandhi wisely remarked that action denotes priorities, and this group of leaders are clearly demonstrating their priority is to help end hunger in India.

Pictured (left to right) (front row) Sherin George, Anjani Kumar, Hatim Amreliwala, Hatim Dawasaz, (second row) Supria Dhanda, Mr. and Mrs. Nitesh Shah, Sripathi Nilkar, Naresh Mittal, Deepika Mittal, Archana Sahay, (third row) Andrew Sullivan, Srichand T. Rajpal, Allen Renquist, Amit Agarwalla, and yours truly.

Team Jugaarr

December 17, 2014

it’s all about Juggaar

Allen Renquist, Andrew Sullivan and I are still in Bangalore, India, arriving here in the wee morning hours this past Sunday after a brutally long trip from the Philippines.  Every day has been full of meetings as we work to get Stop Hunger Now India officially started, but with every meeting it is becoming more apparent that the heavy lifting has already been accomplished.

Every person we have met, every corporate executive, every Rotarian, every volunteer, every implementing partner; all are already making it happen. Everyone has demonstrated that they are not only totally committed to establishing the first Stop Hunger Now office in India, but they want to be leaders in the fight to end hunger here and around the world.

What is so beautifully obvious is that our work here has been established on a solid foundation of relationships, respect and juggaar. From our very first packaging event last December to the present, everyone involved with Stop Hunger Now has demonstrated this powerful trait that has already become my new favorite word.

Juggaar,  (or more commonly Jugaad) is a colloquial Hindu word that means an innovative fix, or for solutions that bend rules, or a resource that can be used as such, or even a person who can solve a complicated issue. It is often used to signify creativity to make existing things work or to create new things with meagre resources. It especially expresses the need to do what needs to be done, without regard to what is conventionally supposed to be possible.

Juggaar is a perfect description for the “can do/will do whatever it takes” attitude of all the dedicated folks that are committed to helping Stop Hunger Now create a global movement to end hunger here in Bangalore. I have already started calling all our supporters here TEAM JUGGAAR.

Stay tuned. Bangalore is going to be the center of some exciting activities as this group of leaders continues to do whatever it takes to end hunger in India.

 

 

December 12, 2014

Jordan Guernsey: loss of a hero

I am currently in Manila with Allen Renquist and Andrew Sullivan. We are here to to thank all our Stop Hunger Now Philippines friends and supporters and take part in the induction of the new Board of Trustees for the organization. We leave here on Sunday to go to Bangalore, India to help facilitate the opening of a new Stop Hunger Now office there.

What should be a totally positive trip has had a pall cast over it for us, especially me. While enroute to the Philippines we learned that Stop Hunger Now friend and supporter, Jordan Guernsey had lost his ongoing battle with cancer. This is a blow to all of us. Jordan was our friend. His life was too short.

What made the news of Jordan’s loss cut even deeper was that the last time Allen and I were in the Philippines Jordan was with us. We were responding to Super Typhoon Haiyan and Jordan was part of our team.

Jordan and I met at the Sundance Film Festival a couple years ago. I spoke at an EO Banquet and he was in the audience. After my presentation he and his lovely wife, Paola, came up to talk. Jordan’s enthusiasm, optimism, and love of life couldn’t be hid. It was immediately obvious the two of us were kindred spirits and reading from the same script.

His first words were, “You are the first speaker I have ever heard that really understands that we really can change the world.” That was Jordan. He had an unwavering belief in the power of living every day to the fullest, doing everything possible to make a real and positive difference in the world, and truly believed that by working together we can end hunger in our lifetime.

We were instant friends. Jordan immediately began supporting Stop Hunger Now, and was instrumental in opening our office in Salt Lake City. The entire time I knew him he was battling cancer, yet he never slowed down in his efforts to impact the needs he saw around him. Financially successful at an early age, Jordan realized the difference between success and significance.

Jordan’s optimism was infectious. His love and compassion were genuine. He understood that by working together we can achieve our shared vision of far better world. And even though his life was too brief by far, Jordan was a hero. He lived his life to the fullest, and he will be missed.

December 2, 2014

Stop Hunger Now on Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday, and is the PERFECT time to help make a real difference in the world. Prayerfully consider helping end hunger in our lifetime with a gift to Stop Hunger Now. Below is an open letter from tour CEO, Rod Brooks.

Dear friends,
Today is #GivingTuesday! Have you contributed to Stop Hunger Now? For today only, as part of UMC #GivingTuesday, gifts made to Stop Hunger Now through Advance # 982795.  will be matched.* As always, when you give to us through The Advance, 100 percent of your gift directly supports our work; overhead costs are covered through other channels. 

UMC #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to celebrate the spirit of cheerful Christian giving by making a donation to Stop Hunger Now through The Advance. When you make an online donation December 2 you will unite with others to maximize impact and show the world the transformational power that can happen in one day…when Methodists are united.

Last year on UMC #GivingTuesday, United Methodists collectively raised a record $6.5 million online through The Advance . We received $32,000, and thanks in part to those gifts, in December 2013 we were able to distribute more than 2 million meals to people around the world who suffer from hunger.

Thank you so much for your faithful support and for multiplying your impact by making a generous online gift today for UMC #GivingTuesday.

Grace and peace,
Rod Brooks, President and CEO
Stop Hunger Now 

P.S. Take a selfless selfie holding a sign saying why you are supporting Stop Hunger Now on Dec. 2 UMC #GivingTuesday. Make sure to include www.umcmission.org/give and tag us in the post so we can share it.

*Global Ministries will allocate 2:1 “matching funds” up to the first $1 million in gifts to Advance projects received online on December 2, 2014, between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. EST. A maximum of $2,500 per individual gift to a project will be dispersed as matching funds. A project may receive a maximum of $25,000 in matching funds.

December 1, 2014

World AIDS Day

Today is World Aids Day. HIV/AIDS is always linked to hunger and malnutrition.

In many countries in Africa the death toll from HIV/AIDS has left millions of orphans that struggle daily  to find sufficient food.  At the same time food production suffers from lack of productive workers.

Those suffering from HIV/Aids cannot take antiretroviral medicine with sufficient food,even if it is available. The medicine must be taken with food. Ending hunger will help save the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

I learned another fact about HIV/AIDS and hunger this morning:

Malnourished people living with HIV are two to six times more likely to die when starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) compared to people with optimal nutritional status.” -  Ertharin Cousin, Director of WFP

November 30, 2014

an Advent prayer

Gracious and loving God, we come before you this beautiful day with thanks for all that have given us. We are humbled in recognition of a love greater than we can ever comprehend, and we offer you our worship and our praise for a perfect creation and the unending grace which sustains it.

Grant us, we pray, the desire to be good stewards of this planet. Help us to be better caretakers of all you have created and so freely given to sustain us. Help us protect our planet as a precious gift given to all generations. Give us the courage to stand against the greed and short-sightedness of all corporations and governments that seek only to plunder and pillage the earth’s resources.

And as we begin to celebrate this special season of Advent, help us to remember who we are celebrating and why this is such a joyous time of the year. Help us to reflect the love of Christ in all we do, but most especially in our gift giving. Help us to gift all those most in need, and not just our family, friends and loved ones. Let us actively seek to change our consumptive patterns of behavior, putting more emphasis on real and loving relationships rather than material stuff we do not need.

May we be especially aware of our poor and homeless brothers and sisters during this colder season. Help us to do all we are able to provide food and shelter during the coming months to those without the warmth of homes and families. And may we always be striving to correct the injustices  that allow such miseries to exist in a perfectly created world.

Thank you, Lord for this season now upon us. Help us to prepare our hearts to once again welcome your birth.

November 28, 2014

never say that you did not know

You may choose to look the other way but you can never say that you did not know – Wilbur Wilberforce

Wilberforce (1759 – 1833) was an English politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. He began his political career in 1780, eventually becoming the independent member of Parliament for Yorkshire. In 1785, he underwent a conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian, which resulted in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform. In 1787, he came into contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave-trade activists. Wilberforce was persuaded to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.

Wilberforce was convinced of the importance of religion, morality and education. He championed causes and campaigns such as the Society for the Suppression of Vice, British missionary work in India, the creation of a free colony in Sierra Leone the foundation of the Christian Mission Society, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. His underlying conservatism led him to support politically and socially repressive legislation, and resulted in criticism that he was ignoring injustices at home while campaigning for the enslaved abroad.

Twenty years later, Wilberforce supported the campaign for the complete abolition of slavery, and continued his involvement after 1826, when he resigned from Parliament because of his failing health. That campaign led to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire; Wilberforce died just three days after hearing that the passage of the Act through Parliament was assured.

November 25, 2014

Open up the graves

The earth was established to be in common for all, rich and poor….Nature makes no distinctions among us at our birth, and none at our death. All alike she creates us, all alike she seals us in the tomb. Who can tell the dead apart? Open up the graves, and, if you can, tell which was a rich man. – Saint Ambrose

Saint Ambrose is right, isn’t he? Our planet is home to all of us. All of us are born, live our lives and then die. In the end our socio-economic status makes absolutely no difference.

The shame is that during our brief sojourn on this blessed sphere we do our best to magnify every possible distinction between us. It’s a shame because we are all one family.

Instead of loving each other as we have been loved, we all “have to have someone we can look down on” as the saying goes. We have completely lost sight of the fact we are all connected. And I am not just talking about our social, economic and ethnic distinctions. We have forgotten that all of humanity is one and every single one of us is integrally connected to this wonderful planet.

Everything is connected, and all of us are part of an exquisite interwoven whole that is earth. How sad it is that we no longer understand that. We allow and take part in destruction of each other and our environment with absolutely no conscious thought.

That’s a damned shame. Rich or poor, what does it matter?

So open up the graves. Maybe it’s not too late.