I have had the privilege of visiting dozens of schools in developing cointries where Stop Hunger Now meals are being used in school feeding programs. The teachers, principals and headmasters have all told me the same thing.
The children come to school because they know they will get a hot meal. It will be the only food for the day for over 90 percent of the kids eating the meals.
Then the school leaders say,”Without the Stop Hunger Now meals the children will not come to school. If they do not come to school they will not get an education. If they are not educated there is no hope, there is no future for our nation.”
School Feeding Programs provide more than just food for hungry and malnourished kids. The meals provide hope. They provide a path out of darkness into the light.
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.
I know that a world without hunger is possible. And I know that world is possible in my lifetime. Achieving such a world, however, calls for a radical restructuring of our priorities, something most of us cannot even begin to seriously consider.
Just think what we could accomplish toward healing our broken world if we focused on helping one another rather than destroying one another. Even a small step in this direction could result in almost unbelievable good for our human family.
Mother Teresa understood the power of love. She wrote that,
“If all the money that is being spent on finding ways to kill people was used instead to feed them and house them—how beautiful that would be. We are often afraid of the sacrifices we might have to make. But where there is true love, there is joy and peace.”
As a person of faith, I truly believe we have a moral obligation to help work toward a world filled with true love, a world of joy and peace. Such a world will never be achieved through military might.
Isn’t it time we start looking more seriously at our priorities and moving more intentionally toward reducing military spending. Faithfulness in a hungry world demands that all people of faith seek justice for those being held captive by hunger and poverty. One way to do that is to begin spending far less on military armaments and far more on those of our human family that daily face the threat of malnourishment, hunger, and even starvation.
I, for one, would be perfectly content and much happier with less military protection and a world where more of my family were allowed the opportunity to experience a life with hunger. How beautiful would that be?