Our last discussion was about water and as much of the United States’ wild west has become a wildfire, many were able to relate to how precious water can be. For many of the world’s children, food is also a very precious commodity. These children should be able to go to school and play but instead they spend they days searching for just one bite of food. A popular children’s rhyme often used in basic yard games begins with “Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar…” so I wondered: “Just what could someone do with an ordinary twenty-five cents (two bits) to make it into something extraordinary?”
The United Nations World Food Programme or WFP answers that question. The largest humanitarian organization in the world, WFP is the United nation’s frontline agency whose sole purpose is to combat global hunger. In 2008 they provided 102,000,000 (one hundred and two million) people in seventy-eight countries with 3.9 (three million, nine thousand) tons of food. [Normally I do not use numerals in writing numbers because the text translates easier but these numbers are staggering and I felt their impact greater in both forms.]
Every ninety-three cents of each one hundred cents or a dollar is spent directly on getting food to those in need of it. That means .07% is spent in overhead and .93% of every US dollar (or equivalent) goes to people in need. There is no overhead eating up the donations. Four quarters equals a dollar so if you saved a quarter every day, then you could provide food to someone who is in dire need of it.
The UN World Food Programme does not just deliver food, though. They have created a sustainable food chain. They develop strategies to create long-term food production and work with local farmers, sometimes training them on the best ways to grow food in their region. Your twenty-five cents, when joined with others, can feed a hungry child for a day. The WFP is entirely supported through voluntary contributions so your “two bits” can really be much more than just a piece of a dollar. It can be a meal for someone in need – today and tomorrow.
I really like the idea WFP has of not just passing out meal packets but creating a food chain that includes the growing of food for tomorrow’s children. Having a sustainable food chain means an end to hunger in a region. By the way. their ambassador is actress Drew Barrymore. Kudos to her for getting down to basics and working with this great organization.
I have been asked how I classify this blog and that I needed to arrive at an exact definition. Is it spiritual or theological? Is it humanitarian or conversational? Quite frankly, I don’t see why those items are an either or. Why can’t something be spiritual AND theological? Why can we not put humanitarian topics into our daily conversation?
Theology is defined as the study of the “divine”. For some that is God; for others it is gods. Spiritual means not material, relating to or consisting of something of the spirit and yes, that spirit can mean a God or gods. All conversation relates to humans in one way or another. Even when we discuss alien life forms, it is in relation to humans because, quite frankly, we define alien as something not human or of this planet. Why then do we tend to isolate those things one from another?
If you follow me on twitter (and if you don’t, please do!), then you will have seen that today I posted a link to the Good Deed Time website, gooddeedtime.com. We all get so many tweets and emails about so many different things, most of which we disregard. I understand that you might be hesitant to sign up for yet another thing. Seriously, though, this is the answer to how you can turn this Ordinary Time of Pentecost into an extraordinary time.
The best way to have more time is to use your time to help someone else. This website will email you one specific good deed you can strive to accomplish that week. Perhaps you will not be able to do that specific good deed but it will most likely give you an idea for another. The result will be that more people will be focused on doing good, on creating goodness in the world, on making their lives more productive. For me, that is the very definition of turning the ordinary into something extraordinary. It is your opportunity to be a hero…. And it can start with just two bits.