June 25, 2008

Global Food Crisis


"The United Nations is currently proposing solutions to the crisis at a summit in Rome after months of food riots in 37 countries and looming famine in parts of Africa and Asia.

The UN says 100 million people are now malnourished or starving because of a 40 per cent increase in food costs.

The situation has been brought on by a combination of food crops being diverted to biofuels; more demand from expanding middle classes in Asia; rising prices for fuel and fertiliser; and weather disasters..."We don't know what real hunger is like. But if you go to Africa and you see people chewing bits of stick to quell the pangs of hunger you get a bit of an idea."  
Read more here.





Mountain to Climb

Children rummage through garbage in search of food in Mogadishu, Somalia.  See more here. 


















People push to receive food distributed by the Kenyan Red Cross in the Mathare slum in Nairobi.  Read more here.





























A global food crisis?

By Erik Tryggestad | The Christian Chronicle
May 23, 2008


From Mombasa to Missouri, churches deal with price hikes.

"When the people of Haiti can’t afford rice, some resort to cookies made of salt, vegetable oil and dirt.

The light-gray discs have no nutritional value and contribute to stomach worms, said David May, a church member in Minnesota who makes regular trips to the impoverished nation.

“But they keep a child from crying when he is hungry,” he said.


Hikes in food prices triggered riots in Haiti recently. In the capital, Port au Prince, a 100-pound bag of rice sells for $65.75 — more than twice what it was five months ago, said Roberta Edwards, a church member who directs a feeding program for hungry children.

Drought, unrest and gasoline costs have raised food prices around the globe. In developing nations, churches struggle to meet the swelling sea of need.

“So many innocent people are suffering,” said Julius Mwambu, a minister in Mombasa, Kenya. The price of cornmeal has doubled since Kenya’s post-election violence. “And to make things worse, there is no rain,” he said.

American churches that operate food pantries and relief ministries also are feeling the pinch.

The Mount Hope church in Webb City, Mo., is a host site for Angel Food Ministries, a Georgia-based nonprofit that buys food in bulk and sells it at a discount.

The price of an Angel Food box rose from $25 to $30 in February.

“Immediately, we saw a drop-off in orders,” Mount Hope minister Michael Lum said.

The falling value of the dollar against foreign currencies also hurts ministries that collect funds from U.S. members to buy food overseas. Amarillo, Texas-based Christian Relief Fund supports Edwards’ program in Haiti and similar efforts in 21 other countries. In the past year, the dollar lost about 9 percent of its value against the Kenyan shilling, said Julie Rawlins, African projects manager for the church-supported ministry.

In nearly the same amount of time, the price of rice and beans rose 20 percent in Kenya.

The price hikes make crucial good stewardship of donor dollars, Rawlins said. But even with the best management, “It is a continuing challenge to maintain the same level of humanitarian aid as costs rise.”

GARDENS AND GLUTTONY

The Mount Hope congregation plans to help its members decrease their grocery bills — and increase fellowship among age groups — by creating a “generation garden” on four acres of church property.

Gary Morrison, an elder of the Missouri church, got the idea while teaching a Bible class for older congregants.

“I said to myself, ‘Look at the skills and knowledge and wisdom in these people that’s not being used,’” Morrison said.

He and other church leaders developed a program that would help the older members, many of whom lived through the Great Depression, pass their skills to young believers.

In addition to gardening, the church will offer training in cooking, sewing, home repair and engine maintenance. Saving money on food is a side benefit of the program, but the economy did play a role in the church’s decision to start the program, deacon Andy Wilson said.

“From all appearances, we’re on the verge of all families needing to have a garden,” he said.

Although churches are increasingly aware of a global food crisis, preachers in Western countries seem unwilling to talk about what Jennie Keeran calls “the ‘g’ word” — gluttony.

Hunger is a global problem, she said, but statistics show that the United States has the highest rate of obesity in the world. Obesity rates also are rising in Canada and Europe.

“It amazes me that, as the world is literally starving to death … Christians are killing themselves with gluttony,” said Keeran, who launched ministries for the homeless in the Canadian cities of Vancouver and Calgary.

As part of addressing global hunger, church members should repent of gluttony and “openly talk about the fact that this is not only a problem of physical health, but spiritual health,” Keeran said.

In Cape Town, South Africa, Christians are working to turn their worship services into an opportunity to help the hungry, missionary Roger Dickson said. Church members who meet in their homes plan to follow Jesus’ instructions in Luke 14:13 to invite the poor to join them as they remember their savior.

“Every Sunday assembly, therefore, would be a soup kitchen,” Dickson said. “The point is … to focus on the poor, crippled, lame and blind — not just ourselves.”

Although travel is expensive, Bob Valerius urged church members to visit fellow Christians in developing nations, assess their needs and form partnerships to help them.

“I also think American Christians really need to look at their needs and ask God to guide their decision making,” said Valerius, a missionary in Cap Haitien, Haiti, who works with Abilene, Texas-based Haitian Christian Foundation.

“If my brothers and sisters are starving, do I really need to buy that 50-inch HDTV? Do I really need another cruise?” Valerius said. “I can’t answer those questions for anybody. But they need to be asked — prayerfully, with an open heart.” "

Article Source.





Crisis Inflation
Aid agencies struggle to up their efforts amid soaring food and gas costs.
Ken Walker | posted 6/09/2008 08:47AM


Jeff Palmer's mission to help alleviate the global food crisis recently took him to Zimbabwe, which is plagued by astronomical inflation and political unrest.

"There are grocery stores with no food on the shelves," said Palmer, director of Baptist Global Response, which administers the Southern Baptist Convention's world hunger programs. "People work all day and they can only afford a half pound of food because of the lack of buying power."

The southern African nation represents just one of many such strained economies. Food riots in places like Bangladesh, Egypt, and Haiti symbolize what the United Nations World Food Program has called a "silent tsunami"— a crisis that has confronted 854 million people with food shortages and spiraling food prices.

Citing an 83 percent rise in commodities over the past three years, in late April the U.N. formed a task force on global food insecurity, bringing together heads of key U.N. agencies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and others.

A combination of high oil prices, crops diverted to bio-fuels, droughts, natural disasters, increased demand, and other factors--such as crop diseases and the die-off of honey bees in the U.S. — have contributed to the problem, said Baylor University economics professor Earl Grinols. Although he sees markets adjusting to meet the need, Grinols said, "We should expect we'll see tight conditions for two more years."

"Some would say it's the perfect storm," said Sam Dixon, deputy general secretary of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which works with food projects in 92 countries. "Our ability to provide support is less than it was six months ago."

The situation has spurred former Ohio Congressman Tony Hall to ask legislators for increased funding for emergency food aid, including restoring money cut from the McGovern-Dole Food Program. (In May, a House-Senate conference committee boosted the amount by $24 million.)
An ambassador-at-large for Opportunity International, Hall said higher food costs threaten more than 200 million with starvation. "We have the ability to do a lot more for hungry people in the world," Hall told Christianity Today. "We need to step up to the plate and do it. I know the Lord wants us to be involved."

Christian agencies are forming new initiatives, increasing donor appeals, and advocating for changes in U.S. government policies. In late May, Compassion International created a special fund to insure that more than a million children in 24 nations don't lose access to nutritious meals.

In addition to soliciting donations from active sponsors, Kathy Redmond, a communications official for Compassion, said the Colorado Springs-based agency will issue regular aid appeals to the wider public. "It's unclear how much we need to raise; we're at the very beginning of this crisis," said Redmond. "We have children who are crying when they come to a project to eat because they know their family is starving."

Among other initiatives, World Vision is pushing for increased investment in sustainable agricultural programs to help others feed themselves, said Robert Zacharitz, director of advocacy and government relations. "[We're also] looking at reductions of agricultural subsidies in developing nations," Zacharitz said. "So in a sense, you can create long-term opportunities for access to markets for farmers in the developing world."

Groups such as umcor and the Alliance to End Hunger advocate similar policies. Alliance director Max Finberg said improved seeds, fertilizer, and irrigation projects, coupled with freer trade, would help farmers worldwide. In addition to supporting reduced subsidies and increasing hunger funding, Bread for the World has been urging Congress to release funds immediately so that starving people don't have to wait until the U.S. government's October 1 fiscal year starts to receive help.

Gary Cook, the agency's director of church relations, said it favors purchasing food in affected regions to help local economies instead of shipping food aid from the U.S. Cook also thinks that Christians need to examine the financial practice of speculating on commodities, which, though a small component, has helped to boost inflation."

View Source.
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Ok, but WHAT can just one person do???!!!!

PRAY.

Right this very day...FIVE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED and TWELVE people are fasting and praying over this crisis in the world!


GIVE.



  • Your gift of $13 can feed a child for about one month.
  • Your gift of $78 can feed a family of six for one month.
  • Your gift of $520 can feed 40 children for about one month.
  • Your gift of $3,250 can feed 250 children (an entire child development center) for one month!










1 comment:

Jen said...

Thanks for posting this. It was a good reminder on how much I have to be thankful for. I'm bookmarking this to show to my kids too.

 
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