Tag Archives: William Lambers

South Sudan at the breaking point

This piece by William Lambers is the latest story on the unfolding famine threat in South Sudan. Stop Hunger Now is urging all it’s friends and supporters to help raise awareness of this unfolding tragedy, and to support the relief efforts though the charity of your choice. Three million of our family at risk of starvation is simply not acceptable.

Oxfam warns about South Sudan crisis

The charity Oxfam is warning that South Sudan has reached a breaking point as conflict and a collapsed economy take their toll. A severe hunger crisis could threaten over 3 million people by June.

The war between the government and opposition forces has led to major food shortages. The already impoverished nation has been plunged deeper into despair.

Families are becoming increasingly desperate. Without a peace deal, things are likely to get worse. Emma Drew, Head of Humanitarian Programs for Oxfam in South Sudan, says,

What we’re seeing now is families that have spent the past year and a half living on the edge – many have exhausted their food stocks, been displaced from their homes, missed opportunities to plant and farm, and now the economy is showing the strain of a year and a half of conflict.”

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has been leading the hunger response. The relief mission is one of the most dangerous in the world with the ongoing violence and lack of security. WFP reports three of its aid workers in South Sudan are missing. The three staff members were traveling to a food distribution on April 1st, but WFP has not been able to contact them since.

WFP has to move food around a conflict-torn country with poor roads. Airlifts are used to bring food to some areas. This is difficult and costly. The mission for South Sudan is already low on funding.

Oxfam is urging governments to step up funding for South Sudan. Most of all a peace deal must be achieved. The violence must stop and humanitarian workers must be allowed safe access. Until this happens, hunger will continue to escalate, leaving South Sudan at risk of famine.

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.

latest census report shames us all

The following piece appeared yesterday and is written by William Lambers. I have printed the article unedited as it so closely correlates to my post yesterday.
What kind of country do we live in where we tolerate over 20% of our children living in hunger? The latest census report shames us all.

 

According to the Census Bureau, the The rate of children living with married parents who receive food stamps has doubled since 2007
According to the Census Bureau, the The rate of children living with married parents who receive food stamps has doubled since 2007
U.S. Census Bureau

 

There was stunning news released by the U.S. Census Bureau today about child hunger. In 2014, there were 16 million children living off food stamp assistance. That is one in every five children in the United States.

The food stamp (SNAP) program gives needy families purchasing power at grocery stores. Since the Great Recession of 2007 the need for SNAP has gone way up. Before 2007 the number of children on food stamps was around 9 million.

High unemployment and low wages has made it hard for families to afford food. The need for SNAP has never been greater. However, Congress reduced the SNAP program starting in late 2013. That move has placed a strain on food banks to make up the difference, which they cannot achieve on their own.

This year the Congress will be crafting a new child nutrition bill. This will tackle issues such as the school lunch, breakfast programs and after school and summer feeding. There are improvements needed to these initiatives. My recent opinion piece, published by the Louisville Courier-Journal, discusses this vital legislation.

With so many children in hunger, and needing food stamps, aid must be increased. The danger is the largest generation of impoverished and hungry children America has ever seen. The consequences will be devastating.

war and famine in South Sudan

This article by William Lambers is one more warning of the impending famine in South Sudan. Due to the seriousness of the situation I have taken the liberty to reprint it in its entirety.  Four million people are facing starvation. The global community needs to act now.

Kerry warns of mass starvation in South Sudan

July 25, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry today warned that South Sudan is on the brink of famine. War between the South Sudanese government and opposition forces has destroyed food supplies, threatening millions with starvation.

Kerry is urging the two sides to build peace before it’s too late. In a statement today Kerry said,

This is not a crisis caused by drought or flood: it is a calamity created by conflict. Unless the fighting ends and a peace agreement is concluded, the number of those at risk of starvation — now as many as 3.9 million people, fully one-third of the population – will reach even more catastrophic levels.”

Since the war erupted, over 1.5 million people have been displaced from their homes. Many have lost their livelihoods in the process. With farmers unable to plant because of the fighting, hunger in the country has dramatically escalated. This is hardest on small children, who suffer lasting physical and mental damage, or death from malnutrition.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF are leading the hunger relief mission. The two agencies, and their partners, are low on funding. Wars in Syria, Iraq and the Central African Republic have demanded humanitarian resources, making it harder to focus on the South Sudan emergency. In fact, there are more refugees globally now than any time since World War II. Humanitarian agencies need a huge influx of funding to contend with famine threats in South Sudan and other areas.

WFP’s director, Ertharin Cousin, today pleaded for more support. Cousin stated,

“WFP, UNICEF and our partners here on the ground have been working tirelessly to bring assistance to those suffering the consequences of this conflict and we are ready to do more and to reach more. But if we are to rapidly expand our operations and save more lives, then we need more resources, and the international community has to act now.”

Both WFP and UNICEF rely on voluntary donations. WFP has set up a South Sudan relief fund. UNICEF USA also has a donation page to help.