Thursday, April 15, 2010

Poverty: Food

What did you eat today?  I can remember if I think hard enough.  Can you remember what you ate yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Can you remember what you ate last week?  Sometimes when I try to look back and recall what I ate a few hours before, the answer completely eludes me.  Have you ever done this?

There are currently millions of people around the world who also can't remember what they last had to eat, but it isn't because they didn't take their meal into enough account to record it within their short term memories.  Many people cannot remember the last thing they ate because they last ate so long ago. 

As you probably know already, food is necessary for survival.  If you go without eating for even a few days, your body will react with natural consequences.  When your body does not have enough nutrients, it begins to go into survival mode.  You start to consume fat cells stored in your body.  When your fat cells are gone, your body turns to muscle tissue and then to internal organs.  Your heart is a muscle, so many people who are malnourished die from heart failure.  Eventually, your body shuts down completely because there are no nutrients left and you die. 

You will die within three days with no water, but it can take more than three months to die from lack of food.  Starvation is a very slow, painful, and terrible process, one that no child should ever have to endure. 

Did you know that over 800 million people in third world countries are suffering from severe malnutrition?  However, starvation is not only limited to third world countries.  According to the US Department of Agriculture, 2002, thirty-three million Americans live in households that do not have an adequate food supply.  In 1998, Europe and the United States spend more than $17 billion on pet food, while only $13 billion was used to provide basic health care and nutrition for people lost in poverty.  When I see these statistics, it makes me wonder if we care more about our dogs and cats and hamsters than we care about little children who have absolutely nothing to eat. 

Obviously, hunger is an issue throughout the world.  According to the World Health Organization, out of the ten most common causes of death, starvation wins at 36%.  The second most common cause of death in the world is heart disease, at 7.2%.  There are so many starving people that are dying without knowing Jesus.  What do you plan to do about that?  If you're struggling to think of ways that you can help the hungry, keep reading for some ideas.

  • In your neighborhood and surrounding community: There may be someone living close by- or even on your street- who is going hungry.  If you personally know of someone who is struggling with money, there are many things you can do to lend a hand.  You can invite them over to dinner or bring them meals and even leftovers.  Help them out in simple ways, such as offering to babysit for free (if there are kids in the family), mowing their lawn, or leaving anonymous gifts of clothes, gas cards, and blankets.  More than anything, invite your neighbor to go to church with you and frequently let them know that you're praying for them.  Everyone could use a prayer.
  • In your city: If you knew how many people from your city were currently going hungry, you might think twice before throwing away your leftovers.  Consider donating canned food or money to your local food bank.  If you can't spare any of these things, then volunteer your time.  Serve meals at a homeless shelter one Saturday out of the month. 
  • In your country: There are hungry people in every city.  Donate to organizations such as Red Cross, Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, or Angel Tree.  There are many different places where you can donate used food, clothes, and toys to children (and adults) around your country who need them.  Ask around at your church and see if you can plan a mission trip to a big city and volunteer your time to serve the needy in larger inner city communities. 
  • In your world: There are many, many nonprofit organizations focused on providing food for the hungry.  Donate money.  Start a fundraiser to raise money that you can donate.  Sponsor a child with Christian Relief Fund or World Vision.  Go on a missions trip to a third world country and see poverty with your own eyes. 
There are so many ways to serve the hungry, but more than anything, you need to pray.  Pray for your needy neighbors.  Pray for the hungry in your community.  Pray for the starving people around the world.  While prayer does not substitute actions, it is still important.  God hears your prayers.

When you eat, don't take your meal for granted.  Thank God with a genuine heart for giving you plenty of food.  Try not to waste what you don't eat.  Appreciate what you are eating, even if it isn't your favorite.  There are so many people across the globe who would be extremely grateful to have your discarded food.

This may seem like a stretch, but one day, try fasting out of solidarity for the needy.  Donate the money that you would have spent on food to your local food bank or to a global relief program.  During meal time, instead of eating, pray for those who are hungry. 

More than 80% of all people survive on less than ten dollars a day.  How much have you spent today?  Even if you are struggling financially right now, remember that God has blessed you so much compared to the majority of the world.  Your something is better than their nothing.

You may be having an awful day right now.  You may be struggling with something difficult in your life, be it finances or something else.  When somebody asks you, "Hey, how are you doing today?" instead of miserably thinking, "Today was  horrible!" try to remember this:  You're doing better than you think you are. 

Have a great rest of your day.

How do you plan to help fight to end poverty?  Leave your comments below.


  1. Thank you for posting this! In my science class, we have to do a report on a current science topic, and I chose malnutrition. I just feel that it is crazy that some Americans are eating so much that they become obese, while other people in the world are literally starving to death. So thanks for this post.

  2. I completely agree with you, Kelly. In the same way, I feel that anorexic people who have the money for food and yet starve themselves are being unappreciative of blessings that God has provided them.

  3. Hi, ya i quite agree with u. I think that we should be thankful for whatever we have now. We ought to consider ourselves very lucky and fortunate compared to the people who are starving in Africa.

  4. so many people think about those poor African children .... it is so awful that they are starving but did you not thoroughly read the article? It is not just talking about overseas it is talking about here as well ... stop living life with colored glasses on!! If you have kids when you take your kids to school look at some of their class mates you know the one .... the little girl that everyone makes fun of or the little boy everyone picks on.... you do not know what those children are going through at home! Did you as an adult take the time to talk to that little boy or girl .... or are you just a guilty as the children that make fun of them? Look around people poverty is every where even in your own neighborhood things are not always what they appear! I live in a nice neighborhood and just two blocks from where I live a woman was locking her children in the closet while she went out to do drugs.... talk to your children and ask them about their classmates .... you could be the one who saves that little boy or girl from the cruel things that could be happening.

  5. I have no time for people who eat like pigs after which try to find magic pills, diets and programs. When you eat a lot of, you will be fat no mater what. And i am not particularly slim but I actually do run and feel healthy, without feeling hungry all the time. Get a grip people!

  6. I think praying is not the most important thing that you can do for starving people...I would have to say FEEDING them might be a better idea. Then you can pray.
    And by the way, Anorexia, is an illness.