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Archive for the ‘hunger’ tag

World Malaria Day is April 25th

Rachel Finn and Nina Pine, Faiths Act Fellows for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation

by Nina Pine and Rachel Finn, Faiths Act Fellows for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation

While the two of us have been planning the San Francisco CROP Hunger Walk as our World Malaria Day Event, often we are asked the question, “Why are you supporting malaria prevention efforts at a hunger walk?  Isn’t that a conflict of interest?”

The fact of the matter is, however, that malaria and hunger are incredibly intertwined.  Just check out this video [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GElrSm2hF2g] from one of our volunteers, who explains her own experience with malaria and why it’s such an important cause in the fight against extreme poverty as a whole.

Delivering food to a community in need is a noble act.  It is a life-saving act.  And yet unfortunately, it is not a sustainable act.  Extreme hunger worldwide is not caused by a lack of food, but rather, systemic social corruption and flawed distribution.  To change the narrative on hunger, we must change the systems of power and the societal structures in which communities live.  To do so is a daunting task, and incredibly complex.

Yet, one effective step we can tangibly make is on the issue of malaria.  Malaria is a disease of poverty – it has been eradicated in parts of the world with access to needed finances, such as here in California.  Malaria is both treatable and preventable.  And yet, a child still dies every 60 seconds from this deadly disease.  It is less a problem of complexity than a lack of resources.

Malaria prevention, elimination, and hopefully one day, eradication, are excellent goals in and of themselves. And yet, the ripple effect from treating it has far larger reaches.  It improves education, because children do not miss days of school due to severe illness.  It improves maternal health by significantly decreasing the number of deaths in pregnant women.  Perhaps most importantly, malaria elimination would drastically improve the situation of extreme hunger around the globe.  Individuals will not have to miss days of harvesting crops due to illness.  Families will not have to decide whether to spend their money on medicine for a sick child, or food for the rest.  Men, women, and children will have the strength they need to fight against the societal blockades keeping them impoverished.

We hope you’ll support us this World Malaria Day in taking a holistic approach to tackling extreme poverty, by recognizing the interconnectedness of problems around the world.  Please visit cropwalksf.org to learn more about our Walk and how to be a supporter.

Will you walk with us?

Why This Atheist Still Needs His Former Pastor

by Chris Stedman
from Relevant Magazine

“It’s been a long time, Tiffer,” he said through one of his characteristically gigantic grins. It had been nearly as long since anyone outside my family called me that name.

“It sure has, Doogie,” I said, returning his grin, imagining he hadn’t heard that nickname in a while, either. As an espresso machine rattled and steamed from across the room, Matthew informed me that he had recently left a call in parish ministry and was now in Massachusetts working for an organization called Outreach Inc. – Kids Care, which organizes meal-packaging events for churches and conferences that want to give back. In addition to coordinating these events, he donated his Sunday mornings to traveling around New England and preaching at churches, hoping to inspire them to get involved in the fight against hunger. I asked if he’d be interested in expanding his partnerships beyond churches and Christian conferences and working with an atheist organization on an interfaith program. He didn’t even hesitate.

It’s funny because, when he first asked me to get coffee, I hesitated. “What will he think of the work I do now?” I asked myself. “Will he feel like he failed me as a pastor? Will he want to debate theology? Will he try to bring me back into the church?”

Such hesitance was unmerited; he sat and listened as I updated him on my life, smiling and nodding as I described how I’ve come into my own as an atheist, an interfaith activist and a young man. Now, Matthew and I have a better and more honest relationship than we ever did in my youth.

It’s been a more productive one, too: in less than six months, we’ve mobilized hundreds of people to come together in interfaith coalition and donate their time and money to package over 30,000 meals for food-insecure children in Boston. Most recently we held an event (planned with Boston University’s Interfaith Council) called HUNGERally, where over a hundred student representatives from eight Boston-area colleges and universities spent a Saturday night learning about the problem of hunger and pledging to work together across lines of religious difference to address it.

All of this is the direct result of a partnership between an atheist and his former pastor. In light of this, I cannot help but wonder what the world would look like if we were more willing to forge unconventional alliances. What would happen if we were more radical about whom we saw as our collaborators? What would happen if we took the risk of reaching out to the unfamiliar? If atheists and Christians started seeing one another as necessary partners in making the world a better place, what might we come to understand about each other? What might we come to better understand about ourselves? What might we accomplish together?

Click here to read the full article

An Empty Place at My Seder Table

by Ruth Messinger
from the Huffington Post

Last spring, my organization, American Jewish World Service (AJWS), asked its supporters to set an empty place at their Shabbat tables. This was a gesture to show solidarity with the hundreds of millions of people who go to bed hungry every night.

As I prepare for Passover, this year, I’ve decided to incorporate the empty place at my table as a new Seder ritual. This empty place will stand for all those around the world who still lack the basic freedoms that our Seders celebrate. I want my guests to understand that none of us will be truly free until marginalized people everywhere can realize their human rights — access to food and water, gender equality and freedom from violence, government accountability and transparency, access to education and health care, and the list goes on. So, before we begin to sip our first cup of wine, I and my guests will be reciting the lines below.

As we enjoy bountiful food and drink this night and remember our starvation in Egypt … We commit to support those who struggle today with the horrors of hunger.

Among those I’ll be symbolically inviting to join my Seder are the hungry. The Hagaddah itself invokes, “All who are hungry, let them come and eat.” This is more important today than ever, as more than a billion people globally are now living on less than a dollar a day. It is common for people in the Global South to spend 75 percent of their income on food, yet food prices have skyrocketed recently. And in Washington, politics have trumped compassion. Our government is putting the final touches on a federal budget that cuts by 11 percent food aid that is designed to help those who are starving.

By setting an empty place in solidarity with the hungry, I commit myself to promoting food justice by protesting cuts to humanitarian aid, and by supporting communities’ work to grow food.

Click here to read the entire article

April 19th, 2011 at 12:09 pm