All of the Kids Against Hunger meals from now through October will be focused on the children in the Horn of Africa. More than 12 million people across the Horn of Africa are in dire need of humanitarian assistance due to a deadly combination of drought (worst in 60 years), escalating food prices (staples rose 80% overnight!) and armed conflict. Hundreds of thousands of children are facing death due to starvation in the next few weeks. Among the most vulnerable to the drought and famine are 2 million children under the age of five in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Here's just one story:
This is Umar Usman, a 7 year old boy. The woman to the right behind Umar's thin body (being prepared for burial) is his mother. She, like nearly half of the population of Somalia - walked in extreme heat up to 200 miles, carrying the few possessions left, in hopes of escaping the bleak horror of the region. Packing little water, eating leaves for food and burying your children along the way. Although they made it to Mogadishu, soon after, Umar died in the makeshift hospital. He was too weak and died suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
Droughts from last October and this April killed the last of the livestock and crops, creating a famine and a mass exodus in Somalia. The death of Umar is something we can wrap our thoughts around. It's easier to focus on the death of one little innocent 7 year old boy than imagine this reality for 12.4 million people. Or fully comprehend the estimated 170-350,000 children in Somalia who – like Umar, are so malnourished they are not likely to survive the month.
How can we relate to the 30-60,000 children (again, like Umar) who have already suffered this agonizing death? Try to imagine yourself walking 2 weeks in extreme heat with children and the few possessions you still have in tow. What does it feel like to bury your children one by one along the way? Our lives are so completely different - but our feelings are the same, the death of a child, an innocent child is inexcusable. When it begins occurring at the rate of thousands and tens of thousands every day we have to ask ourselves as human beings, what can we do to help?
The United Nations is calling the crisis the world's most serious humanitarian disaster in over a generation; it's called
"The Children's Famine".
"We can be the generation that no longer accepts that an accident of latitude determines whether a child lives or dies – but WILL we be that generation? Will we in the West realize our potential or will we sleep in the comfort of our affluence with apathy and indifference murmuring softly in our ears?" Bono
Most of us know the story of the good Samaritan - we see ourselves as the good Samaritan - I mean, who would just cross to the other side of the road and do nothing, right? If it were within your means to help Umar sitting on the side of the road literally starving to death in front of your – wouldn't you stop and help? And if it were your child, wouldn't you hope there would be enough humanity left in the world that someone, perhaps a mother or a father, a grandparent or uncle, aunt - SOMEONE would stop to help your baby? There are many of us and there are many Umar's on the side of the road right now. I believe there is enough humanity left in the world - and I know that through Kids Against Hunger everyone reading this has the opportunity to stop and help.
Lincoln Kids Against Hunger is teaming up with Kids Against Hunger in Cincinnati to ship 4 million meals to the Horn of Africa (transportation will be paid by World Help) by the end of September. We'll ship as much as we can in a second shipment in October – our goal is at least 1 container if not 2 (250-500,000 meals out of Lincoln!). But we need your help.
So now I am asking you - WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? Are you going to cross to the other side of the road (reason doesn't matter) or are you going make the decision to help?
“You see, Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice. It makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties. It doubts our concern. It questions our commitment. Because there is no way we can look at what's happening in Africa, and if we're honest, conclude that it would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else.” Bono
1. Give your time. Gather friends, family, co-workers - groups, schools - come in and package - dates are listed on the left for September. Two hours of your time will produce about 270 meals - that's per person!
2. Donate to feed a child facing the inexcusable death caused by starvation. $72 feeds a child for an entire year - here are some ideas to get that $72:
- Skip going out to lunch, dinner, buying icecream, pastries
- Don't buy that new purse, pair of shoes, tool-etc.
- Skip golfing, the football game or that weekend get-a-way, this will make you feel MUCH better
- Sell something you don't need - have a garage sale, bake sale, lemonade stand and TELL people where the money is going.
- If you're a kid, get your grandparents, aunts, uncles - whoever to "sponsor" your time packaging - just send them to our website to learn more maybe they will get involved too
* Sign up for a one time gift of $72 to feed a child in need for an entire year.
Or $6/month to feed one child, $12 to feed 2, $25 to feed 4 children for a year!
* Ask your employer if they have a matching gifts program.
3. DO BOTH - Volunteer and donate online to buy the ingredients (if you package for 2.5 hours, you will prepare food for a child for a year and the cost is $72). That's how we get the most meals out the door and that's what it's all about.
BUT WHATEVER YOU DO - PLEASE DON'T CROSS TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD, YOUR HELP IS DESPERATELY NEEDED NOW. YOU can make a difference in the face of one of the most devastating humanitarian disasters in our lifetime.
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