Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hunger und Durst

I was supposed to do this yesterday, but world hunger is still a problem today, and would be so even if I had posted this when I said I would.

A few quick facts from the UN World Food Program

-25,000 people die every day from starvation, malnutrition, and hunger related issues

-Every six seconds a child dies from hunger (that means several have died while you've been reading this post)

-The countries with the most hunger related deaths are also the ones most affected by HIV/AIDS

Some folks much smarter than I have crunched the numbers and estimate that if the United States reduced its defense budget by 10%, we would have enough money to produce an adequate food supply and distribute it to the entire world.

Sadly, we know that's not going to happen, but it does show us that the problem of world hunger is one that can be solved. One organization that's doing a lot to solve the disease and not just the symptoms is Heifer International. They raise animals and give them to people in developing nations. They also teach them how to use these animals to build sustainable industries, thus empowering them to feed themselves.

The way Heifer structures charitable giving is really cool, too. You don't just give a dollar amount. You sponsor a flock of chicks, a goat, a sheep, or a cow. You can do shares of some of the higher dollar animals, since they can be pricey. Making the solutions tangible has enabled Heifer to be one of the most successful non-profits in the world today.

While I've got your attention, there's another cool way you can help solve some of these issues. The same countries that are affected by hunger issues and HIV/AIDS usually also suffer from access to clean water. Shawn Wood, one of Jessica's authors, created a campaign called 5 Days in May, where people pledge to drink nothing but water for 5 days and donate the amount they would have spent on drinks to Water Missions

Jessica and I are participating, and we haven't calculated the amount yet, but we'll probably be depressed at how much we spend on coffee alone.

If you only take one thing from this post, let it be this: the suffering caused by hunger issues and lack of access to clean water is horrible, but we have the resources to solve the problem. I'm trying very hard to be part of the solution. I hope you will, too.

1 comment:

Jessica Miller Kelley said...

I get most of my coffee from the communal office pot, but for the sake of 5 Days in May, I'll place a $1.50 per cup value on it. I've already had four cups today...