Thursday, October 9, 2008

World Hunger Day, pt. 2 - How you can help

Bellini Valli of More Than Burnt Toast and Ivy of Kopiaste had a wonderful idea: put together a blogging event that would honor World Food Day, October 16, 2008.

The basics of the event are the following:

*Create a dish that would serve 6 and have it represent your country.
*Send your creations (virtually, via photo) back to Val and Ivy and see how far our dishes will spread back to back. Maybe we can feed the world, eh?

To get the full details for participation in this worthy event, please go here.

I just finished my breakfast - a bagel and coffee. I'm incredibly blessed because neither I, nor any of my loved ones, have ever experienced a period of real hunger in our lives.

Many of us take this for granted. We take it as a right to get our three squares a day - to be creative with cooking, to choose the best ingredients, to serve the planet and ourselves through food.

The reality, however, is that millions of people are starving every. single. day.

As horrifying as the thought of our being hungry might be, for those of us who are parents or work with children or are those who care for children in some way, the real terror would be to here our children's hungry cries. Knowing they need food and knowing we have no power to get it to them.

This is a time of incredible difficulty globally. Our world financial markets are in a downward spiral. Military actions are taking place on most continents. The effects of global warming are beginning to have a huge impact on our daily lives.

It's hard to think of giving to others. We want to hoard. We want to protect what's ours.

But think... think of those who truly have nothing. Who don't know if they'll wake to another day. And if you can, reach out. Please.

I was originally planning to include links to local hunger projects, and I'm going to do that, but I decided that I want to include global and national links, as well. These links are pretty random. These are organizations I know and that I've worked with/given to. There are many, many other organizations out there just waiting for your help and/or currency. If you can help, choose one that makes your heart sing.


CROP walks take place all over during mid-fall. Support one of my favorite bloggers, Sister Sassy of Sisters of a Different Order, in her efforts to raise money for hunger both in Michigan and Africa, by going here.

Locally, we have a wonderful organization called Food Gatherers. Food Gatherers is a food rescue agency that gathers food from area restaurants, stores, and residents and then redistributes that food to people who need it. If you're local to the Ann Arbor area, clear your shelves of that food you really aren't going to get to and bring it to the Food Gatherers site on Carrot Way, off Pontiac Trail. Directions are on the website.


Feeding America (formerly Second Harvest): Feeding America has been working as Second Harvest for 30 years distributing food to hungry Americans. It works in a similar manner to Food Gatherers. It's recent name change is an effort to promote more awareness of its mission.

Meals on Wheels: Meals on Wheels provides daily meals to those who are housebound. There are local chapters throughout the nation. If you don't have money to give, maybe you can volunteer to deliver meals a couple of times per month.

Angel Food Ministries: No matter your religious orientation, Angel Food Ministries provides good, quality food for all. This is the place to go if you need to stretch your food dollar. They operate on the "what goes around comes around" principle, and if you take advantage of their program, they'd like you to help in some way, although it's not a requirement. Their mission is unique - they provide enough quality food to feed a family of four for a week for around $40 - $45 (not counting breakfasts, and some lunch additions). These packages are ordered monthly and there are add on packs for more meat or for more fruits and vegetables. This is good, basic food and can really help to get healthy food on the table for families or individuals.


Heifer International - this is based on the "if you give a man a fish" principle - communities propose an agricultural or husbandry project, and Heifer International provides the start up materials or animals. Once the new project is properly running, each family is asked to pass on an animal, seeds, knowledge, etc., to help another family in the community. All projects must be ecologically sound, as well.

UNICEF - while the main mission is fighting poverty,
UNICEF has always made hunger a priority. For those who don't know, this project specifically focuses on children and is through the United Nations. Again, if you don't have money, maybe you can "trick or treat for UNICEF" this year.

Save the Children - Again, a children's organization. While this focuses on community projects for the most part, it also runs massive campaigns to help areas in times of crisis and getting food, water, etc. to areas that need it. The "latest news" section on the main web page will generally let you know about current emergency initiatives.

So now I have a question for you: as I said, these are random links and a very small selection - what hunger organizations do YOU support? What should I have included here?


anno said...

Excellent list! And I was glad to see one of my favorite agencies, Heifer International, on it. I think community branches of the Salvation Army may also provide some emergency food assistance as well.

thailandchani said...

"Free Rice" is a site right on the web.

Great thoughts here! :)


Anonymous said...

Good list. Also:

In Ann Arbor, the shelter assn has links to some food helpers.

The SOS Crisis Center --- -- in Ypsi also accepts food donations and helps with emergency food, as well as other assistance for families in need.

Núria said...

Yes, you are right, we give it for granted...
My parents and grandparents starved of hunger during the Spanish civil war. Their stories are horrible!

I'm really grateful for what we have and wish that everybody could feel the same!

Jen said...

Thanks, Anno, Chani and Mae. Chani - we LOVE freerice around here - I can't believe I didn't think of that.

Mae, thanks for those thoughts. Anno, you brought up another one I can't believe I forgot. One of the great things about most of the Salvation Army sites, too, is that you can just walk in and pick up food without being questioned. That's very freeing for many people.

I think I'm going to post updates with everyone's ideas/suggestions.

Jen said...

Nuria, I think we cross-posted! I can't even imagine what your parents and grandparents went through. I, too, have heard the horror stories of that time and terrible period in your history.

Unknown said...

A wonderful reminder that a "me first" orientation is fear-based. It is important to always remember that each of us can help. Blessings to all.

Ivy said...

Thak you Jen for taking our event one step further in letting people know where they can donate or get involved even if in just a small way. No one should have to be hungry in todays society:D

Anonymous said...

I support my local food pantry in the Pittsburgh area. The thought of having no home and no food terrifies me...I try any way that I can to support the people right in my own back yard first...and then I move on to the much to do and so little time and too few dollars...if everyone would just give $1....what a difference!!!

THanks for your usual excellent post!

Diana Dyer said...

I cook for a book club that I organize for which everyone who comes donates $5.00 (or more) for their meal that I in turn give to Growing Hope in Ypsilanti, not a food pantry but an organization that is dedicated to improving individual lives and communities through growing food.

In addition to the other local and national and international organizations already mentioned, my family has also supported America's Second Harvest, which just changed its name to Feeding America (

Momisodes said...

I think you've compiled a wonderful list here. I've also found They have a great list of anti-hunger organizations :)

painted maypole said...

This thanksgiving we're going to have a meal at our church and raise money to feed school children in Haiti

Jen said...

Greg - the fear-based thing is an important reminder. We can never be our best when scared.

Ivy, again, thanks to you and Val for organizing this wonderful event!

Hotmama - very good point - we'd raise millions in the U.S. alone if every citizen pledged $1 to alleviate hunger.

Diana - Growing Hope is, indeed, an important organization in the food dialogue. And I DID include FeedingAmerica - it's one of my fave organizations, and I also supported Second Harvest for many years - I agree - we need to get the word out about them! ;-)

Sandy, I ran across when I was looking for other links here, and I was intrigued but didn't know enough about them. THanks for giving them a thumbs up!

Painted Maypole, I think efforts like that can really help awareness, especially for children. The camp I went to had no food other than rice for one day (although we got as much rice as we wanted to) and all the money that was saved was given to UNICEF. We'd always watch the documentary "Hunger in America" the night before, and it was very affecting. I think the more children can get involved and aware, the more likely they'll be involved and aware adults... um, duh, but you know what I mean, I think.

Virtualsprite said...

We have a number of shelters and food pantries in our area, and one of the biggest ones is right across the street from my office, so every day I see the impact that pantry makes on our community. It's humbling to realize how many people in our area need extra help, but I'm glad they have somewhere to go. So I support them whenever I can.

Jen said...

When we keep our eyes open, it really becomes apparent how many "have nots" we have in our very wealthy society.

glamah16 said...

Great post Jen.

Meg said...

Great list. You make me realize that I don't do enough in that area and that I haven't made my kids aware of the issue--ever since Dr. Barry Brazelton told us it was OK for our kids not to finish the food on their plates, a whole generation has lost the "starving people in China" speech from their parents.

My own mother grew up poor and never remembers feeling full.

Jen said...

Thanks, Glamah.

Yeah, Meg, it's so easy for us to forget that almost all of us know someone who has experienced hunger. It's sort of a "dirty secret" here in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of some of these organizations. Thanks for listing them. I am amazed and appalled that even in these difficult economic times, we still have so much more than many, many other countries yet we have hungry people right on our doorsteps. Sometimes literally, right on our doorsteps. No one should go hungry.

Sister Sassy said...

Thanks Jen! World hunger is so important, especially now. I'm really excited for the walk-its supposed to be beautiful on Sunday!

Jen said...

Dingo, this is one of the reasons I wanted to post things - to spread the word! I know City Meals on Wheels is a wonderful organization in NYC, too. And yes, it is disgraceful that there are hungry people in our very wealthy country.

I hope it goes beautifully, Sassy!

April said...

I don't know how you find the time to be so incredibly productive. You rock, Jen!

Jen said...

Because I only post occasionally, April. ;-) Actually, I'm not being nearly as productive as I'd like.

Maggie said...

Two other good organizations for the Detroit area are Forgotten Harvest and Gleaner's Food Bank.

I love playing on Free Rice too!

Jen said...

Hey Maggie, thanks for stopping by! Gleaners and Forgotten Harvest are, indeed, wonderful organizations, and both operate in similar ways to Food Gatherers.

Anonymous said...

i'm now def. going to participate. I'm blessed also in that i've never gone without food on my table, but unfortunately, where i come from, hunger is far too common. for some reason the ills of communism that have hurt the cuban people are just not exposed the way it deserves. uve inspired me to talk about it on m blog! :)

oh and now i want coffee, though i was really trying hard to stay away from it today--not feeling well at all thus drinking unsweetened green tea :)

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Oh Jen thanks for posting this! I'm going to edit my post today and add the info...I'd say the baked eggplant feeds 6 and represents southern Italy well :)

Great list of organizations, too; I know how much work you put into compiling them, so thank you, thank you, thank you!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Thank you Jen for letting people know what they can do to help and where they need to go. We are so fortunate to be able to help the wolrd hunger situation in some small way:D

peter said...

We usually give Heifer I. creatures "to" our friends & family come holiday time. Then we gorge ourselves on grotesque piles of food. So it evens out, right?

Alex Elliot said...

Wonderful post as usual! I'm a big fan of Heifer. I went to a wedding where instead of favors, each guest had a card saying what animal had been donated in their name. We gave bees. We just started an allowance with my older son and we're planning on matching what he donates to them and of course give more ourselves or else the total donation would only be about $5!

Goofball said...

hi Jen, how are you doing? Are you getting enough rest or too busy teaching?? I'm missing your posts.

Take care!!!!!!!

Núria said...

Hi there Beauty! Since there's no new posts... just wanted to stop by and tell you that your hard work for this elections seems that it will be rewarded :D :D :D
Keep my fingers crossed and hope that Obama makes it to the end ;D

Lo said...

Great thoughts. Super list. This was a great event that dove-tailed nicely with Blog Action Day. It's great to see so many people speaking out about these issues and building a community of support for solving problems... one person at a time!

Unknown said...

I'm glad you're posting on this. I have a very tangential anecdote that you might appreciate:
Someone was offering to sell 10 cookbooks (nice, James Beard and similar cookbooks) on Craigslist for $15. So, I emailed him. I now am committed to getting 10 cookbooks tomorrow...and have no idea how I'll get them back to my apartment!