By Kimberlee Hauss
The people who suffer from hunger total 925 million worldwide. More than 3 billion people, almost half the world’s population, live on less than $2.50 each day.
While these staggering statistics may grab our attention momentarily, they rarely move us to action because we cannot comprehend the magnitude of such statements. The overwhelming sum of 925 million or 3 billion can often garner one of two emotions: intimidation or apathy, both of which lead to inaction.
Those who feel they can do nothing to solve such an enormous problem are intimidated and, therefore, quickly become overwhelmed and give up. Those who think the crisis is too far removed from them are apathetic about a situation they feel has little to do with them. However, when you shrink the numbers down and put a face with the facts, the statistics may hit a little closer to home.
Imagine a 10-year-old boy named Ernie who loves to run around and play soccer. He lives with his sister and her two children in a small shack on the side of a mountain in Central America. When his stomach starts to grumble, he ignores it because he knows food is nowhere to be found.
I have been to Ernie’s one-room house, which has no electricity or running water. I have met his family and visited his church. After seeing where he sleeps and watching him play outside on the crude steps that lead down the mountain, I began the hike down to the car. He followed and asked if we had any food for his family because they had nothing to eat that day.
Ernie is a real boy who faces the realities of hunger and poverty on a daily basis.
For those intimidated by the millions who starve to death every year, think instead of one person like Eddie, who did not have lunch today. Instead of trying to solve world poverty and hunger overnight, focus on making sure one stomach goes to bed full and satisfied.
For those who may be tempted to forget about the situation because it seems too far removed, remember poverty and hunger exist not only around the globe, but also in Jackson. Regional Inter-Faith Association’s soup kitchen, in one year, served meals to 49,057 people who had nowhere else to turn for food.
As the holidays draw near, RIFA and other organizations offer many opportunities to make a difference in one person’s life and, thus, begin to combat the hunger that affects 925 million people, as well as the poverty that threatens 3 billion.
Although it is easy to get caught up in trees, lights and presents at Christmas, may we all remember that both holidays originated from giving rather than receiving.
Let us start by helping one. Do not be overwhelmed by the number, intimidated by the enormity or apathetic because of the distance. Instead, do what you can to reach out to one this Christmas.