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A Different Kind of “Food Issue”

Posted Apr 29 2009 10:58pm
One of the ironies about blogging about weight gain, loss and maintenance is that nearly two-thirds of the world’s population is underfed.

• Right now, more than 500 million people are living in "absolute poverty" and more than 15 million children die of hunger every year.

• World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the population is underfed and another third is starving.

• Even in the United States, 46 percent of African-American children and 49 percent of Latino children are considered chronically hungry.

I am fortunate to have the means to choose and purchase the food I want. As such, I believe I have a moral obligation to help those who can’t. As part of that effort, I’ve joined BlogCatalog’s Bloggers Unite this day to promote world hunger awareness and to support the organization Heifer International.

Heifer International provides communities worldwide, including 27 active programs in cities and rural areas across the United States, with livestock and agricultural training to improve incomes and to stop hunger. A sort of “teach a person to fish…” approach.

Rather than try to describe the group’s core goals myself, I’ll let Heifer’s website speak for itself:

“Heifer has learned over the years that a holistic approach is necessary in order to build sustainable communities. So we’ve developed a set of global initiatives – areas of emphasis that must be addressed if we’re to meet our mission of ending world hunger and poverty and caring for the earth.”

Agroecology

In a world where land is overused, community members need to learn how to protect and rejuvenate their land, water and other natural resources. Heifer helps by teaching environmentally sound agricultural techniques.

Animal Well-Being

Before any Heifer animal is passed along to a project partner, Heifer trains the new recipient in animal management, using our strictly enforced Animal Welfare Guidelines.

Gender Equity

In Heifer's view, gender equity is a social justice and human rights issue that directly leads to ending hunger and poverty. That's why our participants are equal partners in sustainable development projects.

HIV-AIDS

Today, we as a world community, confront AIDS, a virus that in the past 25 years has either infected or killed over 64 million people. It is not only a health issue, as it fractures every sector of society, for Heifer, it is a prominent concern in the arena of sustainable development. This is why Heifer is incorporating HIV/AIDS education in our community training groups.

Microenterprise

Heifer provides both "no-interest living loans" in the form of livestock, as well as small monetary loans to help people start and expand businesses that yield big benefits for families.

Urban Agriculture

Heifer is reconnecting city-dwellers with their food sources, building strong alliances and instilling an entrepreneurial spirit among adults and youth through our Urban Agriculture projects.

Young People's Initiative

Heifer weaves youth-focused programs through all our project work and emphasizes young people's needs.

These are initiatives I’m glad to support and hope you would consider contributing, too.

Not sure what to buy a loved one for their birthday? Consider the gift of cows, llamas, seeds and nutrition to struggling farmers through Heifer’s Gift Catalog. For $10 you can share in the gift of sheep, rabbits, trees, goats or pigs. For $25, share the gift of a water buffalo. $20 will buy a flock of ducks, geese or chicks. I pledge to gift bees in honor of my daughter for Mother’s Day.

Hunger and lack is prevalent where I live in rural Appalachia, as I’m sure it is where you live as well. Contributions to local food shelves are always welcome (and not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas). I’ll donate one item to our local food shelf for every comment posted on this entry through Friday, May 1.

I hope you’ll consider a contribution to your local food shelf or will seek out other means of helping someone struggling with a different kind of food issue, one that many of us who have lost weight or are choosing to lose weight don’t struggle with, that of lack of food and improper nutrition.

Thanks, as always, for reading.
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