Want to Change the World? Here’s a Simple Place to Start.

“Hunger is not an issue of charity. It is an issue of justice.”
— Jacques Diouf

I was just remembering a little kitty I met when I was living in my sweet stone cottage in rural England. Her parents (owners) had chucked her out and left her to fend for herself. She was the most affectionate, purring, loving little ball of fur, just aching to be cuddled and she was always ever so grateful for every scratch and stroke, and every bit of food I gave her.

I kept food and water for her in the porch, along with a box with a towel in it so she had a warm little bed when it was cold and wet outside. Thank heaven for cat flaps, and the fact that there was already one in the door when I moved to that cottage several years earlier.

Every morning, I found her waiting patiently for me to feed her. She would always begin meowing like mad as I opened the little pouch of prawns, chicken, fish, or other kitty favourites. Purring loudly in between gulps, she devoured her food hungrily, almost as fast as I could squeeze it out onto a plate. It always made me remember those times I’d seen her in my rubbish bins outside, or eating chicken bones she’d pulled out onto the drive.

Knowing she belonged to someone in the village, when I saw her at those times I thought she was just having a little snack — until she wandered into the garden one day when I was out on the patio and I saw how frighteningly bony she had become since she used to come and visit. That’s when I realised she was not being fed at all anymore. She had been thrown out, full stop. I went to into the village that day and got some cat food from the shop. And so began my little rescue mission.

After making sure she was fed each morning, I went to the fridge in search of my own breakfast. It was always filled with cheeses, fresh vegetables, eggs, yummy soups, lentils or other dishes I’d made, and more. The cupboards were also filled with biscuits and pasta, rice and snacks, tins of beans, jars of pickles and sauces, and all sorts of other goodies.

Having just fed that starving little kitty, it always made me even more grateful for the blessings in my life, and particularly the huge blessing of having whatever foods I wanted.

Every time I eat something, I am grateful for it. I’m grateful for the fact that I live in a part of the world where there is an abundance of food, and that I was not born into a country where there is none.

And every day I am ashamed to live in a part of the world where so much food is wasted, when every moment that I am eating — in fact every moment that I am breathing — there are people wasting away in the world and starving to death. Mothers holding their skeleton children who are too weak to move, too weak to cry, until they draw one last breath and slip away to a place where there is no more suffering.

I don’t ever forget those people and I sit in tears while watching the adverts that plead for just a small donation every month to help feed them. I give them as much as I can but of course it’s a drop in the bucket.

And of course, there are plenty of people in our parts of the world who do not have enough to eat. First World countries where citizens are starving. It is a crime that if you live in an affluent country, there is no guarantee that everyone will be fed, or have a home, or access to good medical care.

Throughout much of the year, people are busy living their lives and focusing on taking care of themselves and their families. In spring or summer, they’re contemplating holidays, warmer weather coming, barbecues, picnics, days at the beach. In the autumn, they’re preoccupied with “Back to School” and adjusting to the normal routine after summer fun.

And as Christmas pokes up its head and waves a little “hello,” there are people who begin to think about those who have no jobs, no homes, no food, and they decide it’s time to do their bit, get involved, give to a charity, work at a soup kitchen for a few hours, or feed the homeless.

When you’ve got food in your fridge and in your cupboards, even if it’s not a lot and it’s simple fare, it’s so easy not to think about the horrors of hunger, and what it must be like to go without food.

“Poverty is a very complicated issue, but feeding a child isn’t.”
— Jeff Bridges

There are people in the world, both near and far, who need your help. There are people who need food, who wake up sick with hunger every morning, and go to bed the same way every night. There are people who have to watch their children go hungry, who feel the shame, the heartache, the trauma of hearing their cries, knowing they’re desperate for food, and some of them are right here, down your street, across the lane, in your village, at your children’s school.

We can forget their hunger. We can ignore it. But they cannot. They do not have that privilege.

“If you cannot feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
— Mother Teresa

Can you give £2 a month to a charity? Or $2? Or a couple of tins of food to the nearest food bank? Can you ask at the schools or churches if there’s a family in need and see if you can help with a meal now and then, or perhaps a bag of groceries? Can you give that university student or struggling young waitress, who is away from family and living on beans on toast, a proper meal?

Can you help to get the world just a little nearer to a place of balance, a place where everyone is properly nourished and no one has to worry about when — or whether — they will eat again?

Of course you can. But will you?


This post was previously published on Liberty Forrest’s blog.



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The post Want to Change the World? Here’s a Simple Place to Start. appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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