In 1993 photojournalist Kevin Carter went to Sudan to cover a famine. He took a picture of a starving toddler trying to reach a feeding center when a vulture landed nearby. He sold the photo to The New York Times, and it was carried by many other newspapers around the world. Although Carter won a Pulitzer Prize for his iconic image, he later committed suicide. Why? Whenever he was asked what happed to the starving little girl, he couldn’t answer because he didn’t know. He just snapped the picture and walked away.
Of course, you don’t have to go to Africa to find hungry people. On September 5 the US Department of Agriculture reported that 50 million Americans are “food insecure.” That means 1 in 6 people in our country don’t have enough to eat. According to the World Food Program, some one billion—yes, that’s billion with a “b”—men, women, and children around the world struggle with food insecurity. I live in the wealthiest county in the wealthiest nation on earth, yet the problem of hunger exists even on my door steps. Every week I volunteer at our local food bank and see people—children, adults, and senior citizens of all races—who rely on charity to get enough calories. Jesus said that if we take care of even one of “the least of these,” the Lord will say to us, “*you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40).
There are many ways to help those who don’t have enough to eat:
- Give to a domestic or world hunger fund.
- Buy a few extra cans of food to donate to your local food bank every time you go grocery shopping.
- Keep fast food gift certificates in your car to give to those who beg for food.
- Volunteer at a food bank or soup kitchen.
- Plant a garden and give the produce away to someone who can’t afford fresh vegetables.
- Participate in a Crop Walk to raise money and awareness.
- Fast for 24 hours to build empathy for hungry people.
- Eat less beef. Hesterman writes, “Of the total field corn crop harvested in 2008 about 43 percent was used to feed domestic livestock and 15 percent was exported, also primarily for animal feed” (Fair Food, 6). It takes approximately 2,500 gallons of water and 7 pounds of grain to produce just one pound of meat. If people ate less beef, it would not only improve their health but there would be more grain available to feed hungry people around the world.
- Write your U.S. Senators and Representatives and ask them to spend less on bullets and more on beans. In 1953 President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, said in his famous Chance for Peace Speech, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
We can all do something to help alleviate hunger, not just snap a mental picture and walk away.