May 24, 2013
By Ray Buchanan in Facts & Statistics,Hunger & Poverty,News & Views | 0 comments
Stop Hunger Now has just finished a thee-day staff retreat at Blackstone, Virgina. The 66 full time staff in attendance worked hard (and played hard) while we together. We also spent a great deal of time getting reconnected with each other and just sharing war stories. Even though we are scattered from coast-to-coast, we share close bond that keeps us centered on the wonderful mission in which we are all so passionately engaged.
Every staff retreat gets larger, with more and more new folks coming on board. That is gratifying. But, far more gratifying is seeing the quality and the unbelievable commitment of those present. Every outside speaker that presents to the staff, and every new member of the staff all make the same observation: nowhere have they felt and experienced the passion, dedication and engagement they they see in the Stop Hunger Now staff.
I totally agree. The Stop Hunger Now staff are tireless in their commitment to create a world without hunger. They are true superstars in the fight to end hunger in our lifetime. While we were together at Blackstone we celebrated a enormous milestone in the life of our organization. Stop Hunger Now has now packaged over 100 million meals for the hungry and malnourished of our world.
That is a huge accomplishment. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers have demonstrated that we can all make a difference. Working together we really can change the world.
Those volunteers were led by Stop Hunger Now staff that are true heroes in the fight to end hunger. I am tremendously proud and deeply honored to be associated with them.
Thank you team. “You are crazy good at what you do!”
May 22, 2013
By Ray Buchanan in Facts & Statistics,Hunger & Poverty,News & Views | 0 comments
War is hell. I know. I have experienced it.
Hunger is hell. I know. I have seen it
I have seen war and I have seen hunger. Nothing can adequately prepare you for either.
Experiencing the violence of combat is terrifying.
Seeing a starving child is terrifying. Seeing the parents of a starving child is even more terrifying.
I know. I have held far too many malnourished and starving children in my arms…Over the past 35 years I have learned that basic humanity demands more than platitudes for the hungry. Morality demands more than compassion. Morality demands action.
I have watched children so hungry here in the US they’ve torn into a 50 lb. bag of potatoes, stuffing raw potatoes into their mouths, gnawing through the dirt to put something in their bellies.
I have watched elderly women, mothers & grandmothers kneel in the frozen Afghanistan mud to pick up individual grains of wheat fallen from bags of relief food.
I have talked with 14 & 15 year old commercial sex workers in Zambia who prostitute themselves so they can eat. When I asked about the threat of HIV/AIDS their answer was as direct as it was chilling:
“If I get AIDS I know I will die, but it will be 3 or 4 years. If I have no food I will starve very quickly.”
I have watched grieving mothers holding their malnourished infants too weak to save. The pain in their eyes will follow me to my grave.
Hunger is hell. And we allow it to exist. If there is any justice in the world our hell will be far worse and for eternity.
May 20, 2013
By Ray Buchanan in Hunger & Poverty,News & Views | 0 comments
I’ve touched the shadows of vaporized victims forever etched in stone in Hiroshima.
I’ve experienced the violent death of friends and comrades in the rice paddies of Vietnam.
I’ve witnessed atrocities too repulsive for words in Sierra Leone.
I’ve witnessed firsthand the ugly results of my own nation’s misuse of power in the name of peace as I worked to stop the Second Gulf War.
Over the past four decades, I have seen…I have touched, smelled, tasted, heard and felt violence and the lack of peace in scores of countries and dozens of combat zones around the world.
But, none of that compares to the unbelievably gross and senseless vulgarity of global hunger. Hunger is a four-letter word scrawled in red across our entire planet.
And the reality we need to face is that there will never be peace until we erase this moral outrage.
Peace can never be achieved without justice. And justice demands the cries of the hungry are stilled.
We can end hunger in our lifetime. It’s the first step toward achieving justice in the world. All we have to do is decide is that is what we really want. I’m not convinced it is.
May 18, 2013
By Ray Buchanan in Books,Facts & Statistics,Hunger & Poverty,News & Views,Quotes | 0 comments
In THE WAY OF THE WOLF, a marvelous little book by Martin Bell, there is a short chapter titled “Hunger and Hurricanes.” Here is the opening paragraph:
TO be human is to be hungry. All children are hungry. They are born hungry. Most children are always hungry. Some children are starving. It is terrifying to see a starving child. It is more terrifying to be a starving child. Starvation is horrible. To be without food is hell.
To be without food is hell.
A billion of my family lives in hell. They suffer daily from what you and I take for granted, misuse, overindulge in and waste without a second thought. Children die daily by the thousands for lack of food we throw away.
Jesus said that man cannot live by bread alone. He said that to hungry men and women. He said that to hungry children, as well. He also said to his followers, “You give them something to eat.”
To be without food is hell. A billion of my family live in hell on earth. That saddens me. I think it saddens the Christ even more.
Lord, have mercy on us.
May 17, 2013
By Ray Buchanan in Facts & Statistics,Hunger & Poverty,News & Views,Quotes,Spiritual & Religious Writings | 0 comments
I have a vision of a world without hunger. And I am committed to ending hunger in our lifetime. Like Gandhi, I know that “this world has enough for every man’s need, but not enough for every man’s greed.”
Meeting the real needs of the poor and hungry simply requires sharing the abundant resources with which we have been so richly blessed. And the amount needed is far less than we might imagine.
A $175 billion a year would easily meet the Millennium Development Goals. That breaks down to less than $250 a year for the 850 million of us that have an above average income (based on the average income of Portugal, the lowest income nation in Europe).
This amount, $175 billion, would allow us to cut the number of poor and hungry in half. Think about it, less than $250 a person could save millions of lives a year and bring even more millions out of the shadow of crushing poverty.
Why don’t we make it happen? Are we too selfish to care? Or is the deeper truth that we are in chains ourselves, too chained by our riches to break free enough to act on behalf of those dying from our refusal to see the truth?
The words of Cyprian, a bishop of Carthage in the third century seem appropriate.
Their property held them in chains…chains which shackled their courage and choked their faith and hampered their judgment and throttled their souls…If they stored up their treasure in heaven, they would not now have an enemy and a thief within their household…They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not the masters of their money but its slaves.
May 16, 2013
By Ray Buchanan in Hunger & Poverty,News & Views,Quotes | 0 comments
Ending hunger in our lifetime is the right thing to do. We have allowed too many of our family to suffer under the shadow of starvation for far too long.
And ending hunger is possible. Don’t doubt it. Rotary international is demonstrating that changing the world can be done. Their global campaign to eradicate polio is a perfect demonstration. Now it’s time to eradicate hunger.
Ending hunger in our lifetime requires all of us to realize we can make a real difference, and then to do all we can, with whatever resources we have available, right where we are located. Every one of us can become a part of a global movement of caring and concerned activists who will not only speak up and speak out for the hungry of the world, but also do all we can to make sure no child goes to bed hungry.
The time has come for those of us who care to act like it. We have been too respectful for too long. It is time to become more assertive in demanding that all our human family be allowed to come to the table. Why should we tolerate 25,000 of our family needlessly dying from hunger every day when there is more than enough food available for all?
Working together we CAN change the world. We just need to act like we care. As Kofi Annan said in his presentation yesterday, “change is a process, not an event.” I want to be a part of that process. What about you?
May 15, 2013
By Ray Buchanan in Hunger & Poverty,News & Views,Quotes | 3 comments
As I was doing my morning check of TWITTER I came across several powerful remarks by Kofi Annan, the former General Secretary of the United Nations. His remarks were given at a youth conference and are right on target for anyone interested in changing the world. I want to focus on only one.
Where leaders fail to lead, the people can make them follow — the people can lead if there is enough noise, pressure and organization.
If we want a world without hunger in our lifetime we must make them follow. Our task is to make the leaders follow our understanding of a world without hunger, food for all, justice for all. Obviously, global leaders have not caught the vision of a world where no child is allowed to go hungry. So we must turn the leaders into followers.
We can make them follow by making noise. We must be the voice of the voiceless. We have to speak up and speak out for the poor and the hungry. We have to be their advocates if hunger is to be eliminated.
We can make them follow by putting pressure on them. Leaders, good leaders, listen. If we let them know we are serious, we won’t be silent, and we won’t go away, good leaders will pay attention to our concerns for the hungry.
We make them follow by being organized. This generation has the unbelievable networking power of social media. Organizing our efforts on behalf of the least of these among us is absolutely essential in achieving our goal of ending hunger in our lifetime.
Working together we can make them follow. We can lead the leaders to where we know our world should be. We can change the world. We just need to make them follow.
May 13, 2013
By Ray Buchanan in Facts & Statistics,Hunger & Poverty,News & Views,Quotes | 0 comments
What is newsworthy? It’s far more than a philosophical question for me.
I took Journalism 101 before the turn of the century, and I have been working with journalists and reporters most of my adult life. I am also always actively seeking publicity for the various nonprofit organizations I work with and of which I am a part. I am comfortable with the media. I know a little about what is news and what isn’t.
One of the first adages we were taught in my journalism class was that “if it doesn’t bleed it doesn’t lead.” Some things never change.
Every since the collapse last month of the garment factory in Bangladesh, the news of this particular tragedy has been close to continuous. It is newsworthy. Over 1125 people lost their lives. That is definitely news.
What bothers me is that the media coverage of that singular event continues after almost a full month. Over 1125 people died in a tragic accident. That’s news. I understand that.
But, during this media feeding frenzy and shark-like ripping at the carcass of that story, over 25,000 of our family have been needlessly dying from hunger related causes every single day. That’s over 750,000 unnecessary deaths in the month since the Bangladesh building collapse. Yet, I can find no coverage of these deaths.
Where is the media coverage for the victims of hunger? Why isn’t the unnecessary deaths of these innocents newsworthy?
“If it doesn’t bleed it doesn’t lead.” Maybe the victims of hunger are dying too quietly. They just need to bleed more. Or maybe the world just doesn’t give a damn about the poorest of the poor. It’s obvious that the media doesn’t. The hungry just are not newsworthy, even in death.
If we ever get serious about ending the moral obscenity of hunger in a world of plenty this will have to change.