Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Global Food Crisis Hits Closer to Home

As a Compassion blogger, I was supposed to post something yesterday concerning the global food crisis. However, I really didn't have a thing to say. I knew any post I tried to write would seem forced, because it would be... But today I have something to say.

I've been hearing more about this crisis recently. While rising food costs may put a small crimp in our style (to be honest, I hadn't even noticed an increase so I wasn't feeling the pinch at all), to people in Third World countries who barely made enough money to survive as it was, the increases in food costs are devastating... even deadly. I've read this, understand this, and feel badly for these people, but there's only so much one can write on the topic and so many others have covered it so much better.

But this afternoon, my phone rang. A mother of one of the children I worked with told me that she had no food for her son, and could I help her?

I have never ever had a family ask me for food before. It has happened where I've discovered that a child has been without food, and of my own accord, I've delivered some, but the family didn't ask me to do it! I was really taken aback by the request, and while I don't mind helping the family, I knew I needed to be cautious, too.

I first went through all the resources I was aware of.

"Have you called Community Action?" "Yes, they don't have any food right now." Ouch.

"He gets WIC, right?" "Yes, but I've already used all his coupons for the month..."

"Do you get food stamps?" "Yes, but I'm out. Food costs so much now that the food stamps just aren't making it to the end of the month anymore."

That's when it struck me. The "global food crisis" isn't just having a severe effect on children in Third World countries. It's hurting children right here in my own town. Children that I work with don't have enough to eat anymore because of it. If this family is completely out of resources, how many others are, as well?

The mother asked for elbow macaroni and some 99 cent Chef Boyardee meals for the child. I told her I'd check around and see what I could do. She said, "They're only 99 cents each! But I'm flat broke." Sigh. To have literally no money, no food for your child, and several days left before the month is over and more resources and money becomes available -- how desperate this mother must be. No wonder she's calling me and begging for food. And how can I not buy it, despite the possible consequences (such as setting the family up to repeat the request on an ongoing basis or to become dependent on my help), when to not to do so means a toddler has nothing to eat for the next four days?

So I encourage you to look around with eyes open to the crisis, and recognize that a GLOBAL food crisis includes your town as well as the impoverished countries of the world. Maybe someone you know is significantly impacted by the crisis. And you can help.

Tying into this, I've also joined the 40 Day Fast. Check my sidebar for links to the other bloggers participating each day -- you'll discover lots more ways you can help with the needs of the world.

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