By: Jade Luo <email@example.com>
A few months ago when I was asked this question, I immediately thought of the lunch line’s $0.35 Clodhoppers. Could I live on two bags of Clodhoppers a day? How about a bag of Doritos? A third of a Starbuck’s latte? Or a fifth of Hardee’s mouth-watering ‘Shroomburger?
The truth is, most Americans can’t even think of eating less than a dollar a meal, much less a dollar a day. And the harsher truth: 57 million people around the globe are forced to try to live on a dollar a day. There are 854 million people who are undernourished, or don’t consume enough calories to sustain an active life. There are 29,000 children who die every day because of a hunger-related disease.
Well, maybe this means nothing to you. Just another number, right?
Still, somewhere out there in Zambia, there’s a girl named Maggie who lost both parents to AIDS when she was 9. She and her cousins live with her grandmother and work long hours in a bare garden trying to produce food to survive. She goes to bed hungry, sleeping on the hard mud floor. No education, not even blankets or beds for Maggie.
Or have you heard of the orphan George Yaya from Malawi? He’s 16 years old, and already the caretaker of his 13-year-old brother Chikumbutso and his 8-year-old sister Livines. George dropped out of school to become like a father to the family. He cooks and works to support them with food. “I can’t buy them clothes…even food is difficult,” George said. “My dad had hoped for a bright future for me, but it was not to be realized. I just hope (my brother and sister) will have a bright future.”
If George were to see the opportunities and the bright futures of the students here at Carmel High School, he’d need shades.
And really, although these people seem so remote to us, how different are we from them? What did we do differently than them to get to eat three meals a day? Why do we get to live in houses and go to college? It doesn’t matter how we try to justify our wealth; the truth is we don’t deserve it any more than them.
Weeks ago, my youth pastor delivered a sermon that seemed to answer this question for me. His ending note was so profound, it stuck in my head for weeks.
“We are blessed to become blessings to others,” he said. “Will you be a cesspool of greed or a fountain of hope?”
In America, we have opportunities and bright futures. We have money. We also have choices. We have the choice to indulge on those $30 pair of jeans or to give food to a starving kid for a month. We can go see a movie or we can save a kid for a week. We can buy a video iPod or save a kid for half a year. Buying never is quite the same after you start calculating these luxuries in terms of children saved.
At the end of February this year, about 40 teens from my youth group and I fasted for 30 hours to both raise money for the starving and to get a feel of what it means to be really hungry. We’re done fasting, but we’ll be collecting money for undernourished children up until April.
Here’s my challenge to you: give up a little something to save a kid this month. It doesn’t have to be big; I’m not asking that you sell your new iPod to support a child for a year. It can be as simple as fasting from your daily Dorito munchies for a month and saving the money to donate. Maybe bringing in a water bottle instead of buying the Dasani at school and using that money.
Then take that money, find someone who’s doing the 30 Hour Famine and donate it. Or if you can’t find someone, go to www.worldvision.org to donate online.
You probably can’t change the world. But I guarantee that you can change the world for one person. A dollar can mean the difference between life and death for an undernourished child. So, will you hoard your treasures or will you share with others your blessings?
Today, 854 million will go to bed hungry. But tomorrow’s number depends on you. Jade Luo is a reporter for the HiLite. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.