Monday, July 07, 2008

Changing the Face of Hunger by Tony Hall

“Thousands of severely malnourished Ethiopians had made their way to Alamata and surrounded the compound, hoping for food and medical treatment…. ‘I have to pick six or seven kids that we can save…' Most of the rest of the starving would die within days.”

The reality of this picture will either cause you to read on or give you the desire to set the book aside and ignore the truth of what is happening outside of your comfortable life.

Tony Hall, a political leader and man of faith, describes his experiences with the poor and hungry around the world. He also offers hope and encouragement of how we can all work together regardless of differences in politics and faith to feed the hungry.

Hall also shares his successes of finding common ground with enemies of the US to get food into their countries and over borders to those starving. “Jesus teaches us to feed hungry people – even our enemies.” Hall says, “I believe that’s also good foreign policy.” Many bags of food are stamped in the local language with “Donated by the people of the United States.” This impacts hungry children and parents who have been taught that the US is an evil enemy.

While in Calcutta, Hall commented on the problems of the world being so vast and asked Mother Teresa how we could possibly hope to solve them all. To which she responded “You do the thing that’s in front of you.” This lesson carries throughout the book and made a big impact on me.

The experiences shared are not only in foreign countries. Hall reveals that poverty and hunger – although not usually to the point of starvation – is very much an issue in the US. The encouragement comes from his perspective of American’s response to New Orleans after Katrina.

Hall points out that the poor are often unseen in our cities. “…to see children falling asleep in class because they don’t eat well, to see parents and children living on the street, you have to go look for them.” But when they are discovered, as in the aftermath of Katrina, American’s respond with compassion. “When you … connect with them and educate them and they see the problems themselves – they don’t turn their backs… We are a compassionate people, a giving people.”

After sharing two decades of experiences around the world, Hall reminds us that none of us has to solve every problem. We just have to do the thing that’s in front of us. “That’s all we have to do to wage an effective fight against hunger and poverty and oppression around the world – do what’s in front of us.”

This is not just a book to open your eyes. It is a call to action. The Appendix offers a brief summary and contact information for two dozen national and international organizations fighting poverty and hunger. Whether it is responding to a friend or neighbor in need, contributing financially to one of these organizations or packing up and working with an organization away from home, together we can change the world.

Some 11.1 million people in the USA, including 430 thousand children, live in homes which experience hunger. Every day, almost 16,000 children die around the world from hunger-related causes—that’s one child every five seconds. (

What will you do to Change the Face of Hunger?

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the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
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