Feed your hunger to help

Today, April 29, bloggers across the world are uniting to raise awareness for world hunger by publishing a post about the subject. This article is in conjunction with this Unite For Hunger and Hope initiative.

I not only want to awaken your mind the severity of hunger worldwide, but I also want to encourage your heart to help out those in need, today.

The Stats

The statistics on hunger are startling and really put things into perspective.

Remember when reading these stats, that there are about 6 billion people in this world.

- According to the UN Millennium Project “over 800 million people go to bed hungry every day…” And of that 800 million, “300 million are children.”

- “Every 3.6 seconds [a] person dies from starvation” according to the same UN project. That’s about 25,000 people every day.

- This UN project also states that “more than one billion people” don’t have access to clean drinking water sources.

- Care.org states that “six million children under five die every year as a result of hunger.”

- According to UNICEF1 in 4 children under five in the developing world are underweight.”

- And hunger doesn’t affect just developing countries. According to Bread.org “In the United States, 14.5 percent of households struggle to put food on the table.”

*Bold emphasis mine.

What won’t help the fight against hunger

I know that you want to help those who are going hungry but before you can, you need to know what’s not going to help the fight against hunger.

Feeling guilty

“Finish your dinner. You should be grateful to even have any food. There are children starving in Africa.” This was a common thing parents used to say to their children to get them to finish their meals. Now it’s not recommended that you say such things to force your kids to eat more. Not only can it create overeating problems but it makes people feel guilty.

You may feel guilty, even as an adult when you can’t finish an entire meal. But you can’t beat yourself up. You aren’t making people starve and you aren’t going to help them by feeling guilty about it either.

One of the biggest misconceptions about hunger is that there isn’t enough food to go around. However, there may be enough food but the difficult part is transporting it. Think of how remote some of the hunger-stricken regions are.

Perhaps it’s better to feel obligated to do something instead of guilty. Feeling guilty demotivates you.

The “I can’t eliminate hunger” mentality

This is a sad excuse people give when they try to explain why they don’t help the hungry. Though one person may not be able to eliminate all the hunger in the entire world, they can certainly eliminate hunger for one person’s world around them or for an entire family or even town.

How you can help

Direct ways

- Look through your kitchen

If you can’t really afford to donate money to a hunger charity (which is hard to believe, it doesn’t take much) then you should look around your kitchen. See what kind of can and packaged foods you might have had lying around for awhile. You might not think you have a lot but once you start digging around you’ll be surprised at all the small items you’ll find that you can donate.

Take these items to a local food bank or soup kitchen.

- Persuade a restaurant

Perhaps you can persuade a local restaurant or market to donate their leftover food and packaged items to a local food bank as well. A lot of times people are very willing to help, they just don’t know where and how to do it. You can be the one to show them the way.

- Donate to hunger charities in need

A lot of these charities have been hit hard because of the economy so they need more help than ever. Here’s a list of charities, but I encourage you to search for others:

- Freedom from Hunger: http://www.freedomfromhunger.org

- Meals On Wheels: http://mowaa.org

- Feeding America: http://feedingamerica.org

- The Full Belly Project: http://www.thefullbellyproject.org

- Heifer International: http://www.heifer.org

- Share Our Strength: http://www.strength.org

- Project Angel Food: http://www.angelfood.org

Indirectly help fight hunger

You don’t have to just donate to hunger charities to help those who need access to food. You can also help people obtain clean water; which is just as desperately needed as food; provide shoes for people to get where they need to go, and help people help themselves out of poverty. Here are other types of charities in need:

- Soles 4 Souls: http://www.soles4souls.org

Provides shoes to those in need.

- Kiva: http://www.kiva.org

Provides microloans to small business owners in developing countries. Helps people help themselves out of poverty.

- Tap Project: http://www.tapproject.org

Restaurant owners ask patrons to donate $1 for the free water they receive during a meal. You can also donate online.

- charity: water: http://www.charitywater.org

This charity builds wells that access clean drinking water.

- Playpumps International: http://www.playpumps.org

Builds water pumps that are powered by the play of children. Children get to have fun and play, and access clean water at the same time.

Know of any other great charities? Please post in the comment section below so we can all check the organization out.

Misc | April 29th, 2009 | Written by Andrew Galasetti