Category Archives: hunger

Ask Al Gore – or not

I got this e-mail recently: We’re hoping Ramblin With Roger will support our No Hunger campaign on July 13th. Thank you for your previous interest in our organization, Action Against Hunger, which you referred to in one of your articles. We would like to invite you to participate in our upcoming campaign.

And I do support them. To have hunger on this planet with the resources available is utterly insane. And the organization that wrote to me, Action Against Hunger, a/k/a Action Contre la Faim, or ACF is a fine, fine organization with an excellent record of using its resources wisely.

So, the next paragraphs:

The global humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger is launching No Hunger with a trailer to Al Gore’s next film—a film that doesn’t exist yet—about acute malnutrition, a disease that kills 5 million children each year. We’re asking people to view the trailer and sign the petition asking Gore to make the film. The petition will be presented to Al Gore this December at the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

You can view the movie trailer at www.AskAlGore.org

Just as An Inconvenient Truth helped reshape climate change, an Al Gore film called No Hunger could mobilize the support needed to end childhood deaths from malnutrition—a predictable, preventable condition that threatens 55 million children every year. We now have the tools to end acute malnutrition; we just need the support.

I guess my ambivalence is twofold: 1) the passion he has that showed up in An Inconvenient Truth about global warming goes back decades, long before he was in public service, and is not necessarily transferable to the issue of hunger, though there is a linkage between global warming and hunger; and 2) I don’t know that Al Gore even HAS another movie in him, and that in any case, I’m not inclined to badger him into making another film, however worthy the cause.

So, my message to Al Gore is more muted; if your heart is into making a film about global warming, then by all means, please do so.

All that said, please consider contributing to the organization. You can follow them on Facebook and and Change and YouTube.

ROG

O is for Opportunities

OK, I am a sucker for good causes:
BlogCatalog and Heifer International are partnering to call for the end of world hunger and start of hope on April 29. All we ask is that you join thousands of other bloggers and write a post about world hunger on April 29.
You Can Make a Difference.

I am posting this a day early in case others want to join in.

* Right now, more than 500 million people are living in “absolute poverty” and more than 15 million children die of hunger every year.
* World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the population is underfed and another third is starving.
* Even in the United States, 46 percent of African-American children and 49 percent of Latino children are considered chronically hungry.

Organizations like Heifer International are the solution. Every day in April, Heifer International is lifting people out of poverty by providing communities with livestock and agricultural training to improve lives and inspire hope.
What can you do for Bloggers Unite For Hunger And Hope?

* Join this event by visiting Bloggers Unite and adding a badge to your blog before April 29.
* Visit Heifer International to learn more about Pass On The Gift.
*Make a small donation or take some other action to end world hunger.
*Blog about world hunger on April 29 with links to solutions all over the world.

I was stuck for an idea about what different perspective I could bring to the topic, until yesterday, when my American Institute of Philanthropy Charity Rating Guide and Watchdog Report showed up in the mail. Among other information, the website designates the top-rated charities in a variety of categories. For hunger, they include, with links:
Action Against Hunger – USA A+
Bread for the World B+
Bread for the World Institute A
Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest) A
Food Bank for New York City (formerly Food for Survival) A–
Food for the Hungry B+
Freedom from Hunger A–
Global Hunger Project A
The grades are based on “rigorous analysis. Groups included on the Top-Rated list generally spend 75% or more of their budgets on programs, spend $25 or less to raise $100 in public support, do not hold excessive assets in reserve, and receive ‘open-book’ status for disclosure of basic financial information and documents to AIP.” Knowing this information is extremely helpful, for, in the words of the newsletter, “As the unemployment rate continues to rise and home foreclosures increase, it is more important than ever that those who are able lend a hand to their neighbors who need it.”

I am interested to hear from any of you , especially outside the Unites States, to find out if watchdog groups such as AIP exist elsewhere.
***
Also, here’s something I learned about watching Bill Moyers’ Journal on PBS, American public television:

Playing For Change — Songs Around The World CD/DVD in stores now

After 4 years of filming and recording musicians around the globe, we are finally releasing our album “Playing For Change: Songs around the World,” featuring a 10 song CD and 7 track DVD. This is a collection of songs and videos featuring over 100 musicians from around the world that have never met in person, but have been brought together through the power of music.

Today is our chance to show the world that independent projects designed to connect and inspire people can be successful.

The album demonstrates that regardless of our religion, race, gender, or political views we can unite through music. The time is now to unite as a human race and this global collaboration driven by your love and encouragement is designed to lead us in that direction.

The CD/DVD is available online or at that increasingly popular purveyor of music, Starbucks.

ROG

The “War on Poverty”: Not Won


I was surprised to learn that when the FOCUS Churches of Albany started a food pantry 40 years ago, the thinking was that it would be a temporary measure. Certainly, once the Viet Nam war was over, the government could spend more money on “butter” issues. Or fairer, more equitable distribution of wealth would take place.

Instead, the food pantry has become an ever-larger commitment for FOCUS, and no doubt other food providers all over the country. Even before this recent economic downturn, the need had never been greater.

I’ve long been puzzled by the notion of poverty in a wealthy country such as the United States, as opposed to other parts of the world. The business news touted how much more wealth the nation as a whole was creating. American workers were increasingly more efficient. Still, there were more and more people coming to the food pantry doors.

Now Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor statistics note that the national poverty rate has increased from 11.3 percent in 2000 (a record low) to 12.5 percent in 2007, an increase of 5.8 million Americans living below the poverty line. Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate has risen from 4 percent in 2000 to 6.1 percent currently.

One of the great fears of most organizations that deal with the poor and near-poor, I’m sure, is that given the current economic uncertainty, contributions will dry up. Indeed, I saw a number of stories on the news pointing to half-empty shelves. Yet, I have read long ago that, proportionally, people with relatively little give far more than those who are well off.

Please contribute to and/or volunteer for a food pantry near you.

ROG

End hunger

One of the other things I do (beside family, library, church and blog), is serve as web person for the FOCUS Churches of the Capital District. The FOCUS community minister, Deb Jameson, sent me an electronic package of material this week about legislation designed to END HUNGER BY 2015. I’m a bit too much of a cynic to necessarily believe that will succeed, but I DO believe that NOT taking action will have its own (negative) consequences. So, if you want, check out the “End Hunger Legislation-June 2005” button at the left column of the FOCUS page. Some of the information is specific to the Albany area, but unless there’s no hunger in YOUR neighborhood, some of it could be modified to meet your community’s needs.

Another thing you might do is check out the article and website below:

Hunger Basics from Bread for the World

More than 800 million people in the world go hungry.
In developing countries, 6 million children die each year, mostly from hunger-related causes.
In the United States, 13 million children live in households where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet. That means one in ten households in the U.S. are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger.
But we CAN end hunger.
We have the means. The financial costs to end hunger are relatively slight. The United Nations Development Program estimates that the basic health and nutrition needs of the world’s poorest people could be met for an additional $13 billion a year. Animal lovers in the United States and Europe spend more than that on pet food each year.
What makes the difference between millions of hungry people and a world where all are fed?
Only a change in priorities. Only the will to end hunger.
Want to learn more? Bread for the World Institute collects facts on domestic and global hunger. It also generates answers to frequently asked questions about hunger. Or you can learn about what issues Bread for the World members are working on right now to bring an end to hunger in the U.S. and around the world. You can also get involved or write a letter to your member of Congress.