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Saturday, October 16, 2010

What CAN You Do Today?

  Today is World Food Day, a day that commemorates the establishment of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization but more importantly inspires many people to look closely at the issue of hunger.

 My now-deceased grandmother didn't need a day to think of the poor. Growing up during the Great Depression, she was acutely aware of the fact that many people become sick and do die because of a lack of access to enough food. As she aged, she became a person one could count on if he or she was hungry. The door was always open, a sandwich and tea followed by a hot bath could be had for the price of a conversation. Everyone from myself and my poor cousins to the town drunk and more enjoyed a moment of safety at the kitchen table that welcomed anyone who came in peace.

  My grandmother and her giving spirit are things that I hold very dear. I aspire with each moment to become more selfless and less judgmental. One of the ways that you and I can do this is by respecting that the hungry are often that way through little or no fault of their own. Natural disasters, poor economies, and endless poverty cycles mean that one in 6 of us are without enough to eat at any given time. When I was that hungry child I had my grandmother, and every time I smell ginger I still think of her and her commitment to the less fortunate.

  We should all have something that reminds us to consider those who are suffering- it could be a memory, a person we see on the street, or stories like the one I've told you this morning. And it could also be World Food Day. But whatever it is that inspires you to consider the well-being of others, it is a gift that you need to recognize.

  What you can do today is simple. Be grateful for your blessings and use that gratitude to help someone up from the brink. We may not be able to help every starving child, but we can help one or two. This World Food Day, consider sponsoring a child in an impoverished land or making a donation to the World Food Programme. Look through your cupboards and take some of the excess to your local food bank. You could commit to volunteering at a soup kitchen or simply living a less wasteful life.

  Let today inspire you to consider what you eat and what others are unable to because of their circumstances. While the news agencies aren't covering the disasters in Haiti and Pakistan, their victims are still hurting, still homeless, and still hungry. People talk about the economic rebound and forget that not everyone has witnessed the benefit of a recovering economy. I sincerely believe that every life has meaning and that we should not enable a far-too-early end. What you can do today and every day is love your neighbour and the planet that you both occupy.

To buy a fruit tree for a child in Haiti click here. Only $5 really CAN make a difference.

Photo: The Sun. Every one of those children was homeless in 2009.

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