Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Day of Fast

Today, on November 15th, "thousands of people around the nation will join together in one simple act to help end hunger. On this day people of all ages, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds will" (Oxfam America, 2007) either fast for the entire day or skip a meal. How simple an act no?

This day, the Thursday before Thanksgiving, a holiday in which the act of eating is taken to a level of excess in America, we should reflect, think about global hunger and poverty. Did you know...
  • Hunger is considered to be the most extreme form of poverty? You can't even meet the basic human need of food.
  • 854 million people across the world are hungry
  • One child in every five seconds dies of hunger
  • 35.5 million people in the United States live with hunger on a daily basis
  • Research shows that 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.
  • Countries in which a large portion of the population battles hunger daily are usually poor and often lack the social safety nets we enjoy, such as soup kitchens, food stamps, and job training programs. When a family that lives in a poor country cannot grow enough food or earn enough money to buy food, there is nowhere to turn for help. ( facts from -
Hunger is a very personal thing to me...having visited India on a regular basis, I have seen first hand the tragedy that is a person not having food to eat, its like the person is just a shadow, half of themselves. Food is such a basic need that I as a member of the human race cry at the idea that there are people out there who do not even have this, who have nothing to sustain themselves, that they starve to death.

Just think, in this country, in the middle-class, when we are hungry, we go to the kitchen, we visit the store, imagine not having that option, living with the pangs in your stomach, seeing food but not being able to touch it, the need for food grows but you can't assuage it - how terrible is that, so painful, like torture. Next time you're hungry, instead of going to the pantry, simply wait for a mere two hours as your hunger grows and just suppose that was your day to day living - how awful a feeling it is!

Please consider skipping a meal, fasting for a day, or even just not wasting food but eating everything that is on your plate the next time you eat, in honor of those who are hungry. Perhaps the money you save from missing a meal can go to a food charity and fight against this horrible epidemic and we can foster a more hopeful future.

Charities Combatting Hunger (just a small sampling of the numerous good people out there trying to help)


Blogger JoeinVegas said...

But would it not also be wise to support organizations like Planned Parenthood, which might teach people how to create smaller families? A woman's thought of 'my last two babies died of starvation, why, I'm pregnant again' are also depressing to have.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

sorry virginiagal - completely unrelated to your post. check out ed and ali's blog breathing in brum. there's a link from mine. they're in birmingham now. i miss them like mad, but they're doing good stuff there.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Molly Malone said...

hey, VA Gal: nice thoughts. i remember in college, one of the interfaith organizations hosted, each November - maybe even the week prior to Thanksgiving - hunger day. i participated a time or two. what i remembered was this: each participant in the "dinner" paid about $15. at the dinner, you were randomly assigned a meal. a certain, small portion got a bowl of rice, another MUCH smaller portion got a full meal, the vast majority of the rest got nothing. the point being that something like 85% go to bed hungry each night. only a small portion 5% or less have a decent meal each evening. the majority of the rest of the world is lucky to have one or two square meals a day. it was really a good way to illustrate the difference between what most of us Americans experience and what a huge amount of the rest of the world experiences.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Merci said...

I was a member of the College Activities Board at school (many years ago) and we hosted the type of meal described above. It had quite an impact.

I later tried it with a Jr. High youth group. The results were dramatic, but the kids weren't quite developmentally ready to be "cheated" of a meal while others feasted. Luckily, we had pizza ordered for everyone as a follow-up. The point was made, but the kids didn't go home hungry.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Joe - yes that is a good thought as well, but what do you do when the child is already here?

Kate - I bopped over, thanks for alerting me!

Molly - thank you, yes we had a similar thing at our school, through Oxfam actually (how I learned about the organization), it was very telling. I only wish more people participated. But I suppose it starts with one, no?

Merci - thanks for the story about the junior high, that's amazing! You know you probably made more of an impact than you know!

1:43 AM  

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