Every day, 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. That’s about one child dying every five seconds, and about 360 that died in the amount of time it took you to eat lunch today.
If you are considering putting this article down, I beg you for just five minutes of your time to read on. I realize that it’s sometimes hard to care about the starving kids in Africa while you sit there with your frappacino and iPod, but if I cannot engage your mind, let me engage your heart.
I recently participated in an event called the 30 Hour Famine. The idea is to starve yourself for thirty hours and have people pledge money for each hour you fast. This has two purposes: 1) to raise money to send to famine-stricken areas, and 2) to help you realize, even in a very small way, what it’s like to go without food.
During the time I fasted, I suddenly became more aware of how America has food everywhere. We have vending machines, convenience stores, food courts, and an all-you-can-eat buffet known as the dining hall.
We’re so obsessed with food that sometimes we consume things that we don’t even need; we just eat it because it’s there. Cookies, chips, candy, and other assorted foods that we eat all the time have no real purpose or nutritional value whatsoever. Is it any wonder that America is so overweight?
As I researched the famine-stricken countries, such as Sudan and Ethiopia, I tried to imagine what it’s like to live in a place where there is no food at all. No Taco Bell, no C-Store, and not even the stash of Easy Mac that I keep in my closet. Can you imagine? I found a picture from Sudan where children were searching the desert for bugs to eat because they had nothing else. The thought just blows my mind.
And the craziest thing about all of this is that most of is in America don’t really know or even care. As college students, a lot of us are just trying to get ourselves through life, let alone anyone else. We use the excuses that we don’t have the time or money to do anything about it. But are these legitimate excuses?
I have come to the conclusion that I have the money, even if it is a small amount, and it’s merely a matter how I spend it. For $1 a day, I could buy one iTunes song, one cheeseburger, or save my money for four days to buy a tall frappacino. Or, for that same dollar a day I could sponsor a child in Ecuador or India so that they can eat and go to school for that day.
If you like things a little more tangible, for $20 I can have a fancy dinner at South Beach with my friends, or I can send a flock of chicks to Zimbabwe. How cool is that? You could buy a flock of chicks that will feed an entire family and give them a means of making money.
Lastly, I do have the time, but that’s up to me how to spend it. I just spent some of my time bringing all of this to your attention. And now I ask you: how will you spend yours?
Sixty children starved to death while you read this article.
Kendra Moll is a sophomore majoring in Psychology. She may be contacted for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.