Monday, January 18, 2010

Global giving to Haiti reached $575 million earlier today, not including the individual giving that would probably push that total well over $600 Million, and the telethon has not even taken place yet!  That is a lot of funding for a small island nation of 9 million people.

Please do not misunderstand me.  I know the nation has been devastated and is in dire need.


It bothers me that we are so willing to give to others after natural disasters or great events, but we are so blind to such an equally devastating situation right here in our own back yard.


Hunger in America was already a dire problem.  The recession has magnified it beyond imagining.  Data based a year ago, children in food insecure homes were 1 in 10.  Recent calculations escalate that number to 1 in 4. 

1 in 4. 

Food insecure means that family members do not have access to food three meals a day, seven days a week.  In some cases, it means that little if any food is available.  In others, it means that meals are skipped daily or weekly.  In all, it means hunger and suffering.

At our sister school in DC, all of the children are on free breakfast and lunch.  For many of these children, this is the only food they eat.  What is worse is that just 11% of the 18.5 million children in free food programs received free food over the summer during 2008.  Can you imagine waiting for school to start so that you could have food on a regular basis?

Children who are hungry have poorer health and have less chance of success in school, often dooming them to a lifetime of struggle.

This is taking place in America.

As of 2008, eight states and the District of Columbia have more than 20% of their children in food insecure homes.  What are those numbers now?

In America.

And now…seniors are joining those children at alarming rates.  More and more food pantries and kitchens are being filled with seniors on fixed incomes who can no longer afford to feed themselves.

In America.

These children will never march on Washington.  Their parents will never fill the National Mall in outrage over this disaster plaguing our nation.  No telethons will be held on their behalf.  Celebrities will not come out in droves to assail their plight.  They are faceless.  They are voiceless.  Yet they surround you.  They are your neighbors, your co-workers, your congregation.

A while ago, I tried to talk with Pastor about this, about the fact that I believe our church should be doing something.  So easy is it to bring a can or box of food to church for distribution to local food pantries.  I read about a 2-fer program, where people are encouraged to purchase brands that are buy-one-get-one-free and donate the free goods.  When you go to the store to purchase food for your own family, you could add a few items to your cart.  Those who have businesses could have collection boxes and signs for patrons who might not understand this blight we are facing.  Little bit by little bit we could make a difference. 

Jesus taught us that when we do unto the least of these, we are doing unto Him.  For no other reason we should be moved to act.

With regard to evangelism, feeding the hungry would be a great witness of the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.  Feeding the hungry would speak volumes.

1 in 4. 

While that unbelievable, what grieves me more is that no one really wants to know, no one really wants to see.  Few in our government, few in our society really seem to care.  Oh, we are quick to raise the cry to help those across the world in war zones or disaster areas.  We will pound the pavement on their behalf.  What truly puzzles me is that American children seem not to really matter.  Their hunger, their suffering holds no value.

1 in 4.

We are blind.  We are deaf.  We are dumb.

Suggested items to donate:

  • Canned meats – ham, turkey, chicken, tuna, and beef
  • Peanut butter and jelly/jam 
  • Canned soup, stew, and chili 
  • Cereal 
  • Vegetables – fresh (in season) or canned 
  • Fruit - fresh (in season) or canned 
  • Beans – dried or canned 
  • Macaroni and Cheese 
  • Boxed Meals 
  • Pasta 
  • Pasta Sauce 
  • Rice 
  • Fruit Juice 
  • Coffee and tea

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