Move over, celebrities. Students should spend more time helping those who truly need it.

Move over, celebrities. Students should spend more time helping those who truly need it.

perspectives

Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Dan Wheldon, Amy Winehouse. What do those four people have in common? In the past two years, these four celebrities have died, yet made a major difference in the culture of American history. Whether there death was a drug overdose or just doing what they loved, they all died with a life many people dream of. Lesser known however, in the past two years, over 30 million children have starved to death worldwide; most could not tell you a single one of those names.

There is a tremendous difference between four major pop culture stars and 30 million kids who will never have the opportunity to make a difference in the world. Michael Jackson, also known as “the King of Pop,” had over $1 billion the day he died and a legacy that will last for decades to come. On the opposite side of the spectrum, currently 3 billion people around the world struggle to survive on $2 a day. According to starvation.net, someone dies of hunger every 2.43 seconds.

So why do Americans care so much when someone with billions of dollars dies instead of kids living in poverty and desperation? People don’t want to think of a horrible and sad situation they think they can’t do anything about. What they don’t realize is every person can make a difference, but that change has to start somewhere.

At my church, Carmel United Methodist, we sponsor two children named Guidel and Jacquelin. This past summer I had the chance to go on a mission trip with 19 other kids to El Salvador and even meet one of our sponsor children. Jacquelin lives in a house made out of scrap metal and trash built with a dirt floor. She belongs to a program called Compassion International and for just $35 a month, we help her feed her family, get an education and cover other small basic necessities like clean water and shoes. Some, however, are not as fortunate as Jacquelin. I met so many wonderful children that seemed to be struggling to survive. Seeing kids play soccer without proper shoes and a deflated ball was surreal. Witnessing this firsthand gave me a perspective on poverty I never was able to see before.

Many organizations such as World Vision and Compassion International help children around the world obtain the resources they need to sustain a healthy life. Even on a smaller scale, there are food pantries everywhere across the United States. Just around the Indianapolis area alone, there are over 20 food pantries. These places always welcome volunteers to meet the high demand of food for the people they serve. Even if Indianapolis seems too far away, CHS has clubs like Invisible Children and Key Club that offer community service projects on a weekly basis.

I never realized that I didn’t have to go across the ocean to see starving children. There are kids and adults all over Indiana who suffer from hunger and lack the money to support themselves or their families. Instead of listening to The Jackson 5 or watching repeats of the Indy 500, I challenge all CHS students to take a few hours out of the week to go to an organization like a food pantry or a homeless shelter and make a difference in someone’s life.Helping even one person makes one less overlooked individual. With our school, we could make that one into thousands. Celebrities get so much attention, but the people no one sees are the ones who need to be seen the most.

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