Monday, March 16

ReLentless Love: Week 5: Hunger

Welcome to our reLentless Love series and Make a Difference Monday link-up! If you missed the first four weeks of reLentless Love, we shared about Access to Medical CareOrphan Care, Single Moms and Human Rrafficking. Today, we're highlighting hunger around the world and ways we can all help.

Hunger is such a large issue, one that impacts people all over the world. The statistics on food instability, especially in developing countries, is staggering. The World Food Programme reports:
  • Some 805 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That's about one in nine people on earth. 
  • Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five -- 3.1 million children each year.
  • 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.
Although hunger is a very serious issue around the world, the United States is no exception. People in our local communities, neighborhoods and schools are going hungry every day.


Since asking for help is something that we don't always do publicly, I thought I'd pose the question on Facebook as to whether any of my friends and acquaintances had ever experienced hunger. The response I got was astonishing. Here were just a few stories:
 - When we were little, my dad was a drunk and mom was supporting my brother and I on 6 bucks an hour. It was Christmas and mom had no money. She put her head down and went to the food shelf. We drank powdered milk and canned meat. We didn't care. Mom got a job at at a factory for 15 an hour and kept getting raises. Every Christmas she donates 100 to the food shelf and I pick up gifts for kids off the tree. I also tell people to contribute...most of us have more than we need.
- Years ago, I moved to Oklahoma City, leaving behind a good, stable job in my field of training, only to be initially reliant on temp agencies and an under-employed husband. Because I grew up in a middle-class family that was always comfortable and never taught me budgeting skills, when I went to the grocery store, I didn't know how NOT to buy whatever I wanted. That eventually caught up with me, and I suddenly became so poor that I had NO money and NO food. All I had was pride. Getting food stamps or aid of any kind wasn't even in my thought process. After all, I was a middle-class woman. A few times during this period, while dressed in my best business attire, I went to my temp office job on the 35th floor of a skyscraper, on little for breakfast, and went to my car in the underground parking garage and napped during my lunch hour, eating little or nothing for lunch. I usually scraped together something "fast food" for supper on my way to my evening job at an after-hours answering service. After several months of this, I went home to Minnesota on a vacation, and my family was shocked at how thin I was. I didn't see it, or maybe I didn't mind being a little thinner, but I knew I was living a desperate existence. Eventually, I got a job in my field and was able to tread water more with money. I don't know that I truly ever learned to budget but I am mindful that I don't have to buy whatever I want in the grocery store. I do barter and trade more with my neighbors so that less money changes hands. But I don't think I learned what I should have learned from that experience.
- When I was in 4th and 5th grade, my parents divorced and my mom had me and my siblings and three jobs. We barely made it some months. We were on food stamps for six months and got day-old breads and rolls from a church and the food shelf once a month. My mom worked so very hard.

There are so many hardworking people who go hungry, and we may never even know the secret struggle they face, but we can help make a difference. This week for Lent we are giving up a couple of meals and giving to our local food shelves. We did a little research and found that there are some things you can donate that you may not have known -- along with the typical food items you think of donating, things like diapers, wipes, formula, and hygiene products are always welcome, as well as snacks for kids, olive or canola oils and spices for cooking. Did you also know March is Minnesota FoodShare Month?! Find your local food shelf or bank here and donate this week!






Make A Difference Mondays is a weekly linkup designed to encourage and inspire us to live each day on purpose—making a meaningful difference in someone’s life in even the smallest of ways. Five women regularly co-host this link-up. Read on to learn more about the vision, mission, and how to link up!

Mission: Our mission is to provide a consistent gathering place for like-minded women to build online connections, share inspiration, and provide mutual encouragement and accountability as we seek to live intentionally and make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Vision: Every Monday we invite bloggers to link up any blog posts that encourage women to live life on purpose, including testimonies or goals from your own life, small acts of kindness or service, creative tips or ideas for showing consideration to others — the possibilities are endless. Our objective is to use our God-given time and resources to his glory! 

Also, just a heads-up: the Make A Difference Mondays team has created aFacebook community group to stay in touch beyond the blog posts AND we also have a new #MADMlinkup group Pinterest board: Make A Difference Mondays Pinterest Board.



   



2 comments :

  1. Thank you for bringing light to this issue "hiding" in plain sight. I did my very first "social work experience" at a food shelf. It rocked my world. The thing that sticks with me, almost more than the need for diapers, wipes, and decent shampoo and body wash was birthday cake. The food shelf I worked at had a woman who at one time used the food shelf and found herself in a position to donate to the place that helped her. She always gave cake mix with colored sprinkles in it, fun colored frosting with sprinkles, the little candies that can go on a cake, and crepe paper and balloons. I will never forget how excited parents were to be able to have a birthday celebration for their kiddos. I will let you guess what my household donates to the food shelf...

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    1. Yes! Thanks for the reminder Jackie! My sister Kristin has told me the same thing, and has donated birthday supplies, but I didn't even think of it when writing this post! Thanks for the reminder, it is such an important thing to donate too!!

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