We’re surrounded by a great irony, a great tragedy, a great opportunity. In parts of America, and in many places around the world, getting too many calories is one of the biggest threats to our children’s thriving. Too much soda, too many French fries, too many empty snacks, too many desserts. But at the same moment in history, the United Nations estimates that 850 million people around the world go to bed hungry each night, including 300 million children. And every day about 24,000 people’s hunger has been so extreme that they die from their hunger, either directly or indirectly. A child dies of hunger every 5 seconds. Many medical issues are important and deserve our support, but lack of basic nutrition kills more people each year than does heart disease, cancer, or AIDS. And we already have the means to stop it!
A friend of mine suggested to me giving up one dessert a week and sending the saved money each month to help feed those who need it. She shared a touching 1-minute video from the United Nation’s World Food Programme. You might wonder, how would you do this and know the money will get where it is needed? My family supports our local food bank (where my daughter helped carry off the largest canned food drive in history). We support Vitamin Angels. (About half a million young children go blind each year from vitamin A deficiency. It takes only two vitamin tablets a year to prevent this in a child (25 cents per child per year), so we’re trying to make sure this never happens again, as soon as we can. Ending the hidden hunger caused by this and other micronutrient deficiencies (like iodine and iron) seems to be the most quickly achievable way to decrease death, disability, and disease from malnutrition.). We support Save the Children (whose focus, like mine, is children) and the World Food Programme (where you can direct your donation to feed those in Darfur, or southern Africa, or East Africa, or just to feed hungry children, or to supply food where it is needed most immediately). I hope you will join me and my family in sharing for the holidays and beyond.