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Niger - What to do?

I keep reading news about Niger, thanks to the reminders of my mother - the famine has really captured her attention - that and watching the baby panda (this is in lieu of grandchildren, which she'd rather have, but she'll take the panda for now). I feel quite helpless, and frustrated. I've read several news stories which said: "We knew this was coming. No one responded. Now it will be too little too late." I've seen the terrible, terrible images of starving children. And I think, what can I do? What can we do? What should we be doing?

What do you think?

I don't have many ideas, but here's a couple thoughts.

1) UMCOR, our United Methodist relief agency, could use our donations. Find information, worship resources, and bulletin inserts here. They don't have an online donation set up for this as they did for tsunami relief, which is frustrating, but there are still several methods available to use.
2) Be thankful for every day you are not hungry. I am not thankful enough for what I have.
3) Be less wasteful. Shamefully, I sometimes throw away food that I've purchased and then not used because I was never in the mood for it, or I forgot about it, or I was too lazy to prepare it. Or, I choose fast food and restaurants instead of cooking at home, which uses more money and makes more garbage (and hurts the environment too).
4) Redirect resources. Spending less on ourselves is good, and healthy, but even more effective when we redirect what we have to others. (see #1)

I know that's not much of a list. Add to it! It is baffling that there is a famine going on, isn't it? We have so much power, and so little interest in using it in the amazing ways we could.


Anonymous said…
Thanks Beth. A friend was just talking about wanting to contribute, but not feeling comfortable with some of the big relief agencies.
Anonymous said…
Hi Beth. This is my first visit to your site, and I've enjoyed it very much.

What strikes me as ironic is that we live in a nation that can produce enough food to feed the world three times over, and farmers actually come up short at the end of the harvest year. The commodities prices are not high enough to cover their costs, etc. What really struck me was a statement a year or two ago in which someone stated that the reason market prices were so soft was due to a "glut" of food on the market. HUH??

Like you, I am not nearly grateful enough for all I have and all I've been entrusted with. I try to remember that eating is nothing more than refueling the body; it is not a competitive sport or a national pasttime. This has helped me in the the past to (TRY VERY HARD) to be happy with whatever is put before me.

Still, in this country, we just don't appreciate what it might mean to be hungry and uncertain about tomorrow, and we've failed to fully appreciate the passing generation that could help us to understand.

I love Heifer Project. They have the means to help in emergencies sometimes, but their solutions are more long-lasting and enduring. The chain reaction their ministry causes has more potential than any I've ever seen.

I'm afraid, however, that unless or until we are forced to deal with genuine hunger, we will never be as giving as we ought to be.
Andy B. said…
Thank you for posting this and linking to the UMCOR info. I'm going to present it to the congregation this weekend.
- Andy B.

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