Yesterday I shared my experience in Costco that almost brought me to tears and my heart on the topic of hunger. Today I want to share with you the first of three posts that will give you a starting point for how to begin to understand the hunger need (Head), some ideas on ways to guide your family to an internal response (Heart) and practical suggestions on how to respond outwardly (Hands).
Because I believe that you cannot fully address a situation until you understand it, lets begin by immersing ourselves in some facts/statistics and videos that will help us get a better understanding of the Hunger needs both domestically as well as internationally.
I watch very little television. Not because I don’t enjoy it, but because I just have a hard time justifying it. I also watch very little news. The downside to this is that I can become very uninformed of topics facing our world and miss the opportunity to prayerfully consider how I might respond. When the topic of hunger came up for my family, I will confess that I was almost fully unaware of the famine in the Horn of Africa. As I began to research, I was blown away by the situation. I know that seeing something again and again on the news sometimes has a numbing effect so in reality, being uninformed and then immersing myself in the situation probably helped me to be more emotionally raw.
I would encourage you to try to dig into this topic with “fresh eyes.” Instead of looking at it as a far away problem, instead try to imagine how it would be if it was YOUR country caught in a famine, if it was YOUR children that needed to eat, and YOUR family that needed to travel by foot for miles to try to find relief. Ask God to soften your heart to see the need with new eyes.
-Every day, about 925 million people experience hunger. That’s more than the population of North and South America combined!
-The poor have to spend up to 75 percent of their income on food. And food prices just keep going up.
-Faced with higher food prices, many children have been forced to eat cheaper and less nutritious food. Others may have to cut back on meals, or go days without food altogether.
-Worldwide, approximately 145 million children are underweight and at risk of dying — simply because they don’t get enough nutritious food.
-A child dies from hunger-related causes every 15 seconds. (This means that my children’s small school could be wiped out in less than a half hour by hunger related deaths!)
-More than one-third of all child deaths are caused by hunger — one of the leading child killers in the world.
-Every year, nearly 5 million hungry children die.
-Most cases of chronic hunger — around 9 in 10 — occur in just two regions: Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (578 million and 239 million hungry people, respectively).
-Particularly hard-hit are drought-prone countries like Ethiopia, where about two in five people are still undernourished, despite improvement over the years. Also vulnerable are countries like India, where millions living in urban slums cannot afford the high price of food.
-35.5 million people – including 12.6 million children - live in households that experience hunger or the risk of hunger. This represents more than one in ten households in the United States (10.9 percent).
-4.0 percent of U.S. households experience hunger. Some people in these households frequently skip meals or eat too little, sometimes going without food for a whole day. 11.1 million people, including 430 thousand children, live in these homes.
-6.9 percent of U.S. households are at risk of hunger. Members of these households have lower quality diets or must resort to seeking emergency food because they cannot always afford the food they need. 24.4 million people – including 12.2 million children – live in these homes.
-Preschool and school-aged children who experience severe hunger have higher levels of chronic illness, anxiety and depression, and behavior problems than children with no hunger, according to a recent study.
The videos below were chosen because I feel they address the topic of hunger from a few unique angles. Some are more fact based while others show those affected. I would encourage you to preview them all first to get a feel for the content and then prayerfully consider which might be most appropriate to watch as a family. I believe they are a great starting point to helping our children really “see” the hunger need.
“Hunger isn’t just a stomach thing | World Vision” (1 min 46 sec)
“If you had just one dollar . . . | World Vision” (2 min 17 sec)
“Famine No More | World Vision” (1 min 36 sec)
“East Africa’s Food Crisis Worsens” (1 min 50 sec)
“What is World Vision doing in the Horn of Africa?” (5 min 33 sec)
“Famine In the Horn of Africa” (1 min 59 sec)
“Special Report: Famine In The Horn Of Africa” (2 min 4 sec)
“Dadaab Grave Site” (29 sec) Note: This video shows some shallow covered graves in the background.
“Relief For Drought Victims In Kenya” (2 min 43 sec)
“Horn of Africa Relief” (1 min 50 sec)
Ready to respond? Great! Lets move on to the heart response.
P.S. Please take the time to read the blog post link in the comments below. Brandy has offered a gut wrenching new piece of information to the depths that the hunger crisis is effecting people with AIDS.