Last week I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about food, abundance and the lack of it, in the context of World Food Day, Anti Poverty Week and ending hunger. I knew most of the topics, the preposterous numbers; before moving to Australia, I was working for the United Nations, with and within vulnerable communities. Yet the numbers are still too big to comprehend. Did you know about 800 million people across the world go to bed hungry every single day? I cannot even begin to understand the implications. And it’s not only people struck by natural disasters or war. There are also less visible cases of daily undernourishment, daily hunger that affects many more people; roughly 90% of all cases! About a million in Australia too.
Did you know that the body compensates for the lack of energy by slowing down its physical and mental activities? A hungry mind cannot concentrate. A hungry body does not take initiative. A hungry child loses all desire to play and study. (WFP)
And at the same time 40% of everything raised or grown on this beautiful planet of ours is not being eaten. So much food waste for such heartbreaking reasons makes me want to cry, all the more so when it’s so badly needed.
When was your last meal my dear reader? Probably a nourishing breakfast or a hearty yummy lunch and if you’re like me you probably already planned something for dinner too. I’m so happy if you and your family are well nourished, healthy and happy, but can you imagine not knowing when your next meal might be? No one should.
We have all the wisdom, kindness and compassion we are ever going to need to change these horrific numbers. We don’t need to wait until we become better versions of ourselves or until we have more. We also should not wait or expect for future generations to do what we can do today. Yes, we can put our faith in our children to make the world a better place, but is it fair to burden them with our responsibilities even before they are born? How about we start something today? How about they grow up in a world already on its way to being better, for all.
Take a moment and look within. How do you want to make a difference in your life? And in the lives of others? I recently realized all my life I strove for my future self to be better than who I am in the present, but it never occurred to me to think differently about it, to be better today than whom I was yesterday. Which is so much easier because I live in the present, not in the future! Today is all I have after all. Today I can be better if I choose to be. I can use today. I can use every single hour, every single minute, every single second to be the best that I can. I can live. I can love. I can do things for others. I can forgive. And I can be grateful I have the opportunity to create a better world with a full tummy, a sharp mind, energy and initiative.
I know what I want to do. Do you?
On the very same day I had these thoughts last week I followed them. I went on a do-good shopping expedition, for other people who do not have the means to shop for themselves. And I went crazy about it! For the first time I am happy I’m a fruit & veggie shopaholic because on this particular occasion more IS better.
I’ve been supporting Manna for about a year or so, ever since I found about their existence. I was in awe and admiration at first read; what Bev and John accomplished in few decades is nothing short of inspiring and rightfully rewarded. About two decades ago, they started to make soup for the homeless and go to a city park to share it. Soup then became a meal and shortly after they invested all their retirement funds in it. Volunteers joined in! Today so many vulnerable people depend on the hot meals that Manna reliably provides every single day. They are a compassionate and caring organization; they provide hope and inspire positive change.
We believe that by nourishing the homeless and the vulnerable in a non-judgemental and compassionate way, we give hope, raise awareness about poverty and provide better outcomes to the wider community. (Manna Inc.)
I am ever so grateful Manna provide easy opportunities for busy folks like me to get involved. Last week, I shopped for produce, donated it to them to be used in their meal prep. Can it get any easier? A mere $200 AUD in WA will buy you heaps of produce that go a really long way! I had a car load of items I would personally eat and feed my family. I got kilos and kilos of rice, beans, chickpeas, lentils, pasta, tomatoes, onions, carrots, potatoes, even cabbage, leeks and oranges which I was fortunate to find on special. Seasonal and local is the key to getting a bang for your buck.
In my excitement of doing a good deed, I went and handed over the goods the very same morning and I was very fortunate to finally meet Bev and John themselves. As lovely and considerate as I pictured them to be all this time.
My dear readers, there’s so many organizations that have already embarked on a journey to help those in need of nourishment and love. Food is a basic human right, at the basis of everything – education, health, equality, dignity, security, life. Look them up in your city. I’ll bet you they won’t turn you down if you knock at their door offering a helping hand. No matter what you offer, money, time, an open heart.