Thursday, April 14, 2011

If we can feed ourselves, we must feed others

If you are reading this blog it's probably because you, like us, are a foodie. And if you are a foodie, count yourself blessed. We are blessed to have food, enjoy food and write about food. But many in today's society are not as blessed. In fact many people in our own communities are starving.

For a lot of us, hunger is this far away concept that we think we know about when our fridge gets low. Maybe we have fasted or missed a meal on a really busy work day. But the majority of us do not know what it is like to truly go hungry.

A few years ago when I was working in a medical clinic in small community in Kenya, I was working on closing down the remains of what had been a busy day of hundreds of African men, women and children pouring in to get relief from everything from bug bites to infected wounds to Malaria. An elderly man approached me. His khaki pants were shredded around his ankles. His face was wrinkled from age and hard work. I acted like I didn't see him. I was hot, tired and hungry and I was ready to leave.

His torn shoes shuffled against the concrete floor as he touched my arm. "Please..can you help me?" He uttered. It was too late. We were out of medical supplies and didn't have anyway to help anyone else. "No I'm sorry were out of medicine" I responded. His long black fingers spread across his stomach as he uttered "but I'm sooo hungry..."

It was at that moment that I froze. I looked into the sunken yellow tinted eyes of the old man and saw anguish like I had never seen before. His eyes of experience and age had probably seen things I will never see but yet at that moment he was like a helpless child.

I frantically searched my backpack for anything I could find. I had a handful of cheese crackers and a beef jerky that I had kept to keep my blood sugar up. My hands poured them into his eager cupped hands. He lifted the crackers to his quivering mouth and devoured them as crumbs fell to the floor.

His huddled posture began to straighten a little as he ate. He began to make sounds like an infant getting it's first bottle. My eyes began to slowly fill with warm tears. For I for the first time in my life really looked into the face of hunger. A face that I will never ever forget.

World hunger is an enormous problem. But what about here in the good ole' U.S.A.?

Well in 2009, 50.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households that were made up of 33 million adults and 17.2 million children. This should be unthinkable in a country where we have two 24-hour channels dedicated to food, SUV's that get 15 miles per gallon and we are able to download movies to our pocket.  

What are you doing to help those in hunger in your community? We are starting to do something but we could do so much more!

To find out more about the enormous problem of hunger here in the U.S., check out the link at Feeding America

Locally there are several fine organizations that are seeking to feed the homeless and the hungry. Our local church is participating in a program that is run by Area Relief Ministries called 'Room at the Inn' where local churches provide those who are homeless with a hot cooked meal and a safe and clean room for the night. For information about this program and about other opportunities to help those in need contact Area Relief Ministries

If we can feed ourselves, we must feed others. 

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