Tag Archives: advocacy

feeding the hungry through your Smartphone

The article reprinted below is by William Lambers and first appeared in the Huffington Post. What a wonderful way to make a real difference in the lives of our hungry brothers and sisters.

Charity Miles for the World Food Programme

 by William Lambers

At this very moment, there are civilians fleeing war in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Ukraine and Central African Republic. There are more refugees now than any time since World War II.

War means food shortages. Children suffer the most in these conflicts. They feel the pain of hunger and live with the threat of malnutrition, which can stunt them for life.

Ertharin Cousin, the director of the UN World Food Programmesays we have to remember these victims of war are not just a statistic. These are human beings. While it can be easy to forget about their plight thousands of miles away, we must not.

In fact, technology has developed unique and even easy ways to help people a world away. One of them is the free app Charity Miles.

If you own a smartphone you can download the app and raise donations for the World Food Programme, the largest hunger relief organization. You do this simply by running, walking or biking. You carry the smartphone with you and the app keeps track of your distance and workout.

All you do is select World Food Progamme (WFP) from the list of 28 charities on the app. You then walk, run or bike and every mile you cover donates a meal to WFP. The donations are paid for by corporate sponsors. So it’s totally free for you.

The funding is used in the WFP school feeding programs across the world. I made a video about using Charity Miles help WFP feed school children. I actually made the video while doing a Charity Miles run!

So just by walking or running a mile you could provide a meal to a hungry child in war-torn Central African Republic. Or you will help feed a child in the Philippines or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There are so many feeding programs that need funding support.

WFP relies entirely on voluntary donations from governments and the public. They are short on funding for many of their missions currently.

The WFP school feeding initiative helps improve class attendance and performance. It’s an effective way to help children who are missing out on food and education, two things they need to survive and thrive.

You can also do the Charity Miles and help local food banks through Feeding America. The Charity Miles app supports about 28 different charities. There is a list where you select the charity you are going to run or walk for.

I have run Charity Miles for both WFP and Feeding America. I also have done a number of miles for Stand up to Cancer. And I had been “retired” from running prior to starting Charity Miles. So I think anyone can do this. I have raised well over 1000 meals using this app.

Now if every person who had a smartphone could raise 1000 meals, think of how many children would receive food and education. It would not only provide food to hungry children, but what a statement it would make as well.

If enough people become a “food ambassador” that will raise the profile of hunger among social issues. Think what that could mean for advocacy.

For example, the Congress will be deciding food aid budgets in the coming months. If the American public makes a statement about fighting hunger through Charity Miles and other means, that will encourage Congress to do their part.

It’s worked before. The famous Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II was actually preceded by many public initiatives including the Friendship Train, which collected food for starving war victims in Europe.

So if you own a smartphone, download Charity Miles at www.charitymiles.org and you can get started right away. You can donate meals to feed hungry children just by running or walking. You can upload your workout results to Facebook or Twitter. Be a food ambassador.

Originally published at The Huffington Post.

make them follow

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.

the curse of poverty has no justification

I just read a wonderful article by Bishop Sandra Steiner Bell in the March 22nd issue of the UNITED METHODIST REPORTER. Entitled “Faith in Christ calls us to seek justice, end poverty,” the piece uses child poverty statistics in West Virginia to introduce the larger issue of people of faith working toward peace and justice.

The good bishop states that believers are responsible for leading works of charity and justice that will alleviate the injustice that fills our world. In her words, “This is the body of Christ engaged in action that creates structural change in society to reduce and eliminate poverty.”

The bishop points out that there is no “purely spiritual answer to the pain of the poor.” Amen! We have to take action if we are to achieve a world where justice reigns. Faith, advocacy and action on behalf of the poor and hungry are all necessary ingredients in achieving justice.

She quotes the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr who once said:

The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization…The time has come to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.

We need to thank this enlightened episcopal leader for her call to action. Again, in her words, “As the people of faith, may we be bold!”