This has always been true. Each of us has the glorious opportunity to create the world we want. We can make a difference in the lives of thousands, even millions who live in crushing poverty and never escape the shadow of hunger,
Working together we can change the world forever. We can rewrite history. We can become a part of a global movement that truly ends hunger in our lifetime. This is my goal. And it’s always been the vision that drives Stop Hunger Now. Join with me and let’s create a better and more just world for all.
I left Bangalore, India on Monday morning a little after 4:00 after a full day and evening of events. After a mind-numbing flight through Dubai and Houston, Texas, I arrived in Managua, Nicaragua Tuesday night sometime after 8:00. I finally got to my hotel around 9:00 or so.
A driver picked me up Tuesday morning at 5:30 for the three hour drive up to Matagalpa where I met the Fill the Bowls team. We spent the day visiting two schools we support. Since this is the rainy season, we were soaked by the time we got back into the city around 4:30 when we all agreed it was time for a late lunch/early dinner.
It was a fantastic day and again demonstrated to me the immense power that is generated when we all work together. Fill the Bowls is changing the lives of hundreds of children in the four villages where we are working.
For me, this is a special trip. First, I am back in Nicaragua. Nica is the first country I visited when I started Stop Hunger Now. That trip was in January 1998.
Another reason for this trip being so meaningful for me is that I am here as a board member of Fill the Bowls, a nonprofit organization founded and directed by Chessney Barrick, a close and very dear friend, and a former member of the Stop Hunger Now staff.
Seeing the excellent work being done by Chessney and Fill the Bowls is just one more affirmation that we can make a real difference. Working together, we are helping to end hunger in Nicaragua.
I am back where it all started still working to end hunger in our lifetime. Life is good.
I arrived here in Bangalore, India sometime after midnight this morning. By the time I had gone through immigration, picked up my duffle bag, cleared customs and exchanged some dollars into rupees, it was after 1 am.
The Palms, where I normally stay in Bangalore was full so my excellent staff booked me into the Taj Bangalore Airport. Since the Taj was less than a 10 minute walk that’s what I did. Even after one in the morning the heat and humidity had me breaking a sweat before I got to the hotel.
The staff was as courteous and friendly as I expected, and I got to my room around 2 am. After a hot shower, I still couldn’t get to sleep so I read until after 3 am.
Later today I hope to meet with Stop Hunger Now India’s director. Dola is a dedicated, passionate leader in the fight to end hunger, and I am really looking forward to some time with him.
Tomorrow I am to make a brief presentation at an event hosted by J.P. Morgan Bank, where I get the honor of thanking them for their continued generous support of our efforts to end hunger in our lifetime.
And at 4:30 am on Tuesday, I catch a flight to Managua, Nicaragua. Once there I will switch hats, and represent the board for Fill the Bowls, another life-changing nonprofit.
I’ll admit that the schedule is a little rough, but I wouldn’t change a thing. This is just too much fun.
[This post is reprinted from the Stop Hunger Now blog page]
Going Hungry to Solve Hunger
Guest post written by Kara Cloud, a student at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Connecticut, and participant in this year’s 30 Hour Famine at St. Philip Church.
Inmy first year participating in St. Philip’s 30 Hour Famine, I was initially most struck by the diversity of the people who joined together to fight hunger — young and old, poor and wealthy, religious and nonreligious, parents, high school and elementary school students. All people, all participants in the 2015 30 Hour Famine, were there because they wanted to be.
That’s what intrigued me: who would want to give up four meals, do some physical labor, and spend 30 hours not eating with kids of all ages whom they had never met before? I was interested to the point where I had to figure out what it was all about. I entered with curiosity — I had no expectations seeing as I had not partaken in any event like this before. And I had no idea what a life-changing experience I was about to have.
Typically, people are brought together over meals: holiday celebrations, cooking with parents, meeting up with friends for a dinner out. Yet, nothing has ever made me feel such a bond with others as voluntarily giving up our food for thirty hours to raise awareness for world hunger and poverty. How does your hunger help keep those thousands of miles away from being hungry? I’ve grown up asking myself the same question.
When I was in elementary school, the people working in the cafeteria would always scold the students who threw away their uneaten meals saying, “There are children starving in Africa!” However, it was never explained to us what we should do to help them — because clearly stuffing myself wasn’t going to make them less hungry and there was no efficient way to donate the excess food on my lunch tray to those in need.
It took until my sophomore year in high school before someone gave me an alternative that made sense to me: instead of taking what we have for granted, learn to live without and by doing so, learn to appreciate our privilege and do something with it.
We are lucky to be a nation that has to force ourselves to eat less, because we have the excess food at our fingertips. We are lucky to be able to deny our children dessert, because we have that dessert to deny. Why should we, who are only given these opportunities by chance, not feel some sort of responsibility to give others the same chance to eat a wholesome meal?
Going hungry is not the same as being hungry, and all of the participants at 30 Hour Famine were well aware of their privilege as they came together to package 20,000 meals for the hungry in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in the world located in West Africa. We were all thankful that in 30 hours we would be guaranteed a meal, that the hunger we felt would pass. It made the experience more bearable, easing the grumbles in our stomachs.
However, while my feeling of hunger was pacified by knowing I could eat soon, my feeling of guilt at how lucky I am to be in the small portion of the world’s population that is guaranteed a meal at every breakfast, lunch, and dinner break was not as easily forgotten. We all were united with this recognition of our privilege and worked to grant others the same assurance of another meal, an escape from hunger, by taking donations at supermarkets, packing lunches, and making economical and substantial food through Stop Hunger Now and Catholic Relief Services in a system that uses basic ingredients to provide sustenance for a family of six for one meal.
Everything I learned — the hunger facts, the importance of unity, numerous causes to raise money for, greater appreciation for my privilege — is evident in my smile, my composure, my thoughts. I came to the 30 Hour Famine a blank slate ready to be changed — and I did change. I became more aware, more appreciative, and more global-minded. The most important thing for one’s first Famine experience is to come ready to be changed, and then to go inspire change in the world. Use the fuel given by the food are you are lucky enough to eat, and go fuel some change.
Once, while talking with a Methodist bishop in Kenya, I heard an old Kenyan proverb which I’ve never forgotten. The bishop told me that in Kenya there is a saying that goes like this: “Teach a boy and you educate a person. But, teach a girl and you educate an entire village.”
Those of us working toward ending poverty and creating a world without hunger know the truth of this proverb. That’s why school feeding programs like Stop Hunger Now’s are so effective and so powerful. When meals are provided at schools the enrollment doubles, triples and sometimes increases even more, and most of that increased attendance is from girls. And even 3-4 years of school can dramatically change a girl’s life forever.
We have learned that educating girls and young women actually changes their communities for the better. Empowering girls does change the world. Believe it. The “Girl Effect” is real.
Thanks to Mike Nelson Program Manager of our Richmond, Virginia office for sharing this photo taken at a meal packaging event done on Christmas Eve at Peninsula Community Chapel. Their gift to the Christ child was to package 70,000 meals for hungry children. That’s the true spirit of Christmas.
May this most special day and this entire holiday season be blessed with lots of love and laughter for you, and may each of you remember that the true work of Christmas goes on throughout the year. Working together we can celebrate Christmas all year long as we strive for a world without hunger.
The following news brief is taken from a SHN staff memo:
Stop Hunger Now India Flood Response Continues
Stop Hunger Now India continues to provide relief to those affected by the severeflooding in Chennai. Executive Director Dola Mohapatra has issued an update on the response, as well as an appeal to donors for additional support. Here is an excerpt:
As an immediate response to this emergency situation, Stop Hunger Now India, in partnership with Treasure Life Foundation, Hope Foundation and Rural Relief Network/SAARP (as well as few other local NGOs and civic groups) has provided nearly 150,000 meals to over 5,000 families in Chennai and Cuddalore areas, including the cut-off pockets in rural Panchayats.
As you may have been seeing the news items across the TV channels, the situation is quite grave and we have been receiving SOS requests from a number of local groups. The field teams responding to the current situation have requested immediate help for food packets, medical supplies, clothes etc.
We are gearing up to send 300,000meals for the affected families. We also have received requests for mats, tarpaulins, water-filters, tents and bed sheets, water containers, warm clothes, school supplies for children etc. We have a warehouse in Bangalore where these materials are being collected and the field team will be able to pick up all these once a truck load of materials are gathered.