Welcome to the World Hunger and Poverty Blog! This site was created by Scott Hughes (me!) and is based on the idea that it is totally unacceptable that any person go hungry or be deprived basic necessities, especially when there is more than enough food to feed everyone and more than enough resources to provide clothes, clean water, shelter, education and healthcare to everyone. Yet millions starve to death every year. I want this blog to act not only as a call to action but as a place to share information and openly exchange ideas about these incredibly important issues. Immediately below on this page you will find the most recent blog posts.
I think we often see the best of humanity in the face of the worst. Even within the terror and brutality of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, we find the sadly beautiful heroism such as that of Teacher Victoria Soto and Teacher’s Assistant Anne Marie Murphy who each died using their own bodies to try to shield the young children from gunshots.
In the broader sense, we find a similar bittersweet positive side to the statewide and national reaction. The horror at this unfathomable tragedy comes hand-in-hand with an amazing outpouring of sympathy and support and of well-deserved nationwide attention.
I post about this on this blog now because I cannot help but juxtapose this horrible tragedy that entailed the murder of 20 young, innocent children against that to which we have otherwise become accustomed: the over 18,000 children who die from world hunger every single day, and the 6,000 more that die from lack of clean water, and the thousands more from other preventable and treatable diseases. That’s over a 1,000 kids an hour; that’s nearly a Sandy Hook level devastation every minute.
Please in no way take this to mean that I think the 20 brtually slaughtered children and other victims — including not only the dead but their loved ones — of the Sandy Hook shooting deserve any less attention, help or sympathy than they are getting. They deserve all that they get, more maybe. My heart breaks for every single one of them.
I can understand in many ways how the tragedy that occurs minute-after-minute, day-after-day feels like too much to bear and its regularity lends a hand to complacency. I am guilty myself. I am guilty of being too complacent about the horrific tragedy of children dying by the thousands every hour of painful, sickening hunger — in a world that has more than enough food to feed everyone and more than enough resources to provide clean water, clothes, shelter, healthcare and education to everyone. I truly believe it is literally child murder — and one in which you and I are accomplices. To think of it must make one sick — sick of all humanity, sick even of oneself.
Again, as I already said, in the face of tragedy we find some of the best examples of humanity. By being out of the ordinary, I think the Sandy Hook tragedy breaks through that sickening complacency, shattering the selfish shell the hides our true, suppressed humanity made up of our deep philanthropy and willingness to be dissatisfied.
The victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy deserve this huge public outcry and the Sandy Hook victims and their families deserve all this wonderful support and demonstrations of philanthropy. Do not at all think I would diminish that in the slightest. I would not have our hearts break any less for any one of those poor children at Sandy Hook, the dead and the unimaginably scarred living. I just wish our hearts would break just as much every other day and every other month and every other year for every other child who tragically starves at our hands, by our decisions. We have been unusually woken up by this unfathomable, horrific, devastating nightmare at Sandy Hook; let’s stay awake this time.
Posted by Scott Hughes
Categories: Child Poverty
Despite our high tech gadgets, jaw dropping skyscrapers, and speedy bullet trains, the fact still remains that more than 7 million children under the age of 5 are dying each year.
The truth is that children die by the thousands each day because of malnutrition, pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria. What’s even more devastating is that these untimely deaths could have easily been prevented or treated with very simple cures, medications, and interventions.
Here we take a look at the most solvable problems and how you can help.
Commonly referred to as the “silent killer”, malnutrition is most common in underdeveloped countries where food sources are scarce. Recent statistics also reveal that roughly 40% of all deaths in children are directly or indirectly triggered by hunger and starvation. Malnutrition is also the leading cause of physical and mental retardation in children.
While babies and toddlers slowly dying of hunger may seem uncommon in our modern world, the fact that it exists and continues to claim lives of helpless children should be impetus enough for us to act.
Donating a Dollar
Food rations in impoverished countries cost roughly 29 cents and a dollar donation can go a long way to feeding these children who are unable to get enough sustenance to keep their body healthy.
As per recent reports by the World Health Organization (WHO), the figures for young lives claimed by malaria still averages roughly 3,000 daily in Africa alone. That’s roughly 1 child per minute.
Donating Mosquito Nets
Millions of families in Africa still lack access to protective mosquito nets which can help stop malaria. By donating insecticide-treated mosquito nets or 10 dollars, you can help reduce the death toll for malaria.
Lack of clean water sources, proper sanitation, and access to medical care are three of the most basic reasons on why diarrhea still ranks as one of the leading killers in children.
Donating Oral Rehydration Salts
Diarrhea and dehydration comes hand in hand and more often than not it is the latter that claims the life of a child. By providing these children with a supply of oral rehydration salts, you can help give these babies and tots a better fighting chance at winning this battle.
Donating Water Purification Tablets
Providing these little ones with access to clean water will help prevent diarrhea in the first place. One of the simplest and most effective ways to do so is through the use water purification tablets. With just one small tablet, you can help give a child a gallon of potable and safe drinking water.
None of these actions take much time or money, but they will have a huge impact on the life and health of children around the world. Take a moment to be thankful of the life situation that you’ve been given, and consider sharing some of that goodness with child who is less fortunate.
Mandy is a writer for http://www.onlinenursingdegrees.org/ and passionate advocate for global child health.
Posted by Guest Blogger
With so many wonderful charities out there, it can be very difficult to select the one that is right for you. The good news is you do not have to be rich in order to give back. In fact, studies show; those who make lower monthly incomes actually give a higher percentage of their yearly wages to charity than do those who are considered ‘higher class’. Every little bit helps and even if you are not able to donate money, you can donate your time and still help those in need.
Giving back feels great. It doesn’t matter if you give $1 or $1,000. Not only does it help others, but it helps you as well. It gets you out of your ‘bubble’ in the world and really changes your outlook on life. Even within your own community, there are people or animals living in situations that are much different than your own. It’s hard to be too caught up in your own troubles when you see others in the world who are much worse off than you. Charities truly bring the world together and best of all; it just feels good knowing you are doing your part and making a change.
What Are You Interested In?
The first thing you want to think about when it comes time to select a charity is what types of things you are passionate about. What situations in the world bother you most? Many people like to donate their time or money to charities that relate to their past or experiences they have seen those close to them go through. Maybe you were homeless for a period of time in your life and food wasn’t always readily available; this may mean you feel most connected with helping out homeless shelters and giving food to those who cannot afford it. There is nothing like a personal connection to a charity. It feels good to help people (or animals) from being in tough situations because everyone deserves to have a healthy and fulfilling life.
Research A Few Charities
Now that you have selected the type of charity you are looking for, it’s time to make sure you choose the best charity for you. Whether you are going to be offering money to help animals, children, the hungry, people who need their homes rebuild etc, it’s important to make sure your money is truly going to the cause. You have worked hard for your money and you deserve to know exactly where it is going to be spent.
Check out each charity’s values. What is their goal and how do they go about doing it? Are they helping people locally or in other parts of the world? Most people stick with giving to charities that are well-known and that they have heard of before. If you are unsure whether or not the charity you are considering donating to is legitimate, go to the Internal Revenue Service website. All charities will be listed there.
Many charities may contact you via mail or on the phone. Do not give your personal information to them before doing your research. Every charity should have a working phone number and address. If you cannot find these pieces of information, do not waste your time donating money. The sad thing is, there are many scams out there and people who either want to steal your money or even your identity.
Consider Companies That Have a Tough Time Making Money
Do not hesitate to give to organizations that you may not have ever heard of before. Many charities that are either new or struggling do not have the money or manpower required to really get their name out there and receive the donations they need. If you find an organization that you think sounds like something that you would like to give to, just take a little more time getting to know them and you should have nothing to worry about. Charities that typically go unknown by the masses are homeless shelters and food banks so keep them on your radar.
Much of the time, most people are giving to the same charities and there are people around the globe who are still in need and not receiving the help they require. If you can find an obscure charity that is trusted and that you know will get help to those who need it most, then this is something you should definitely consider.
The same goes for charities that help locally. So many charities these days give money to other countries and while that is fantastic, you may want to put some of your charity dollars (or time) to people who are right in your own neighborhood. It feels great knowing you are helping your own community and making a difference in your city or town. This will also make it much easier for you to keep better tabs on your money and take part in the organization yourself to see first-hand how things are being run.
As part of your research, it is important to contact the charities you are looking into and ask them questions. They should be able to tell you how much money they have donated so far to those in need, how many people were helped and how much of your donation is going to go to the cause. Be cautious of organizations that struggle to answer these types of questions. A charity should be able to tell you about their goals, future of the organization and things of that nature without hesitation.
How Much Money Goes Where
There are some organizations out there that end up giving most of the money that is donated to pay their workers as well as their expenses. Watch out for charities that keep high amounts of your donation. Some have been known to keep as much as 95% of donated money. Your money should definitely be going much further than that. However, there are exceptions to the rule. Many new organizations have larger expenses and are not able to give as much of your money so this may be something to keep in mind.
A good rule of thumb is to stick with charities that are going to donate around 60% to 70% of your money to the cause. This way, you know your money is making an impact. Keep in mind just how much money it takes in order to run an organization. Even if everyone were working for free, there are all types of expenses that may include rent, food, utilities, and transportation. This is why it’s next to impossible for every single penny you donate to be sent directly to the cause.
You Can Also Choose to Donate Time
If you do not feel comfortable donating money and you are unable to donate time, you may want to contact charities and ask them what kinds of things they are in need of. A lot of the time, charities are using tools or vehicles that are outdated and they may be very happy to have such items donated to them in order to keep their organization running smoother.
Keep Your Information Safe
It is always important to keep your personal information safe. It is a good idea to avoid giving your credit card information over the phone or via the internet if you can help it. Typically, the safest way to give is to pay via check.
Trusting your gut when it comes to most things in life is extremely important. Something not feel right? Listen to your feelings and consider searching for other charities instead. Donating should be a fulfilling and rewarding experience.
Make Sure Your Money Goes Where It Should
It is important to do what you can to make sure your money goes where it is supposed to. While giving cash may seem quick and simple, it isn’t a very good idea. If you give cash, there is no way to track your money. Offering a check that is payable to the charity you are donating to is the best idea because your money is less likely to get lost along the way.
While it’s impossible to guarantee that your money is going where you want it to, taking the proper steps to make sure you are giving to a charity that is trusted is going to give you the peace of mind that your money is being put to good use.
To know that your contributions are helping those in need, you may want to consider doing charity work instead of just giving money or you could do both and you’ll get an insider view of the organization. This is going to give you an opportunity to get a larger view of the charity; learning about exactly how they run things. Oftentimes, you are going to meet some pretty amazing people and end up being a part of the charity for the rest of your life.
Sebastian is a freelance writer and a blogger. He writes for a UK based charity job portal and through his posts advises about how to go for the best ngo jobs available in UK.
Posted by Guest Blogger
Categories: Ways To Help
It’s very easy to confuse philanthropy with ‘giving away stuff you don’t want.’ This is so much the case that it’s become something of a comedy staple. There’s an early South Park episode called ‘Starvin’ Marvin’ where the boys have to donate to a pledge drive for starving children in Africa, the whole enterprise fails pretty quickly as the only thing that arrives at school to be air freighted over is a small stack of creamed corn, a food that pretty much no-one in their right mind would want to eat and so processed and nutritionally bereft that it would almost certainly do as least as much harm as good. This type of thinking is present when you robotically dump your change into whatever charity coinbox is present at the counter, without checking to see which cause you’re donating to. This isn’t the worst crime in the world but it is a particular symptom of Western privilege – that compassion is only afforded when it is eminently affordable, when it is in fact costs the giver nothing at all. You might argue that “at least I’m giving something. Every little donation helps, right?” Well, yes and no. Sure the small change unthinkingly given by one hundred people will help a cancer charity, but it depends entirely on the quality of their annual reporting and accounts management as to specifically where that money goes. If a charity is poor at handling its accounts, your donation could be paying for stationary. Or somebody’s bonus. And that’s fine, but don’t expect to be called a philanthropist because of it. This is the moment where your money becomes creamed corn – it exists but it is utterly insubstantial, it feeds but it cannot sustain. And with just a little forethought, we can all do better.
So how do you give mindfully?
Giving meaningfully to charitable causes boils down to three key principles:
The first step is to give up mindless giving. Pledge that you will not reach into your pocket or dusty food cupboard purely in order to dispel guilt. Instead, know that you’re going to give something, be it money, time or goods to a charity which you believe in and concentrate your resources on finding the causes that you’re passionate about. This is an ideal opportunity to support smaller charities who don’t have the promotional resources of behemoths like Amnesty International or Oxfam. An important part of identifying need is also to evaluate what kind of help would most benefit your chosen cause.
It might be the case that you don’t have a lot of money to spare, but consider the other ways in which you can give. Perhaps you have professional expertise that would prove useful in a volunteer capacity – you might be a skilled events organiser, a gifted web developer, a facility with a white van or just have an excellent soup ladling arm. Smaller non-profits and charities are often crying out for the kind of skills you take for granted and if you are able to donate even a small but consistent amount of your time, the value of your work will be so much higher than emptying your pocket change into a plastic bucket. It can also help you gain valuable experience and even lead to an opportunity to explore charity jobs as a paid career option. Equally, if you’re time poor but cash rich, you can source the most deserving charity by looking at a site like New Philanthropy Capital in order to analyse which place your money would be best utilised. If you earn enough to pay taxes, make sure to declare your charitable gift on your tax return so that the charity can reclaim the basic tax rate.
This applies to situations where you are donating goods rather than cash or services. When it comes to donating items like food, toiletries and clothing, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate what would be most useful to your given charity rather than just ridding yourself of useless tat. For instance, a lot of food shelters have websites where they list the food and personal items that are running particularly short. Always make sure to research a particular organisation so that you’re offering the most relevant help. It often surprises people that camping equipment is in high demand – unwanted tents and sleeping bags can make a real and tangible difference to a homeless person’s quality of life.
So there you have it. Go forth and give, but give mindfully. Leave the creamed corn in the cupboard, the world will thank you for it.
Neil Golman writes about Third Sector jobs, philanthropy and working for not-for-profits.
Posted by Guest Blogger
Categories: Ways To Help
My younger brother has been training for months to run the Boston Marathon in April. In addition to running a sum of more than 900 miles in training, he has pledged to raise over $5,000 for Harvard’s Summer Urban Program. Neither of these are easy tasks.
What is the Summer Urban Program? “The Summer Urban Program is one very busy summer camp or, technically, 12 camps spread out through Boston and Cambridge. Together, these Harvard student-run programs teach some 800 school children a variety of subjects: science, English, history, music, and visual arts. Harvard students also take their campers on field trips to museums, parks, forests, and more in pursuit of building a truly rewarding and enriching summer experience. To tap into the youth perspective, local high school students help with curriculum development and direct activities for the campers. In addition to the 12 day camps, the Summer Urban Program also includes an evening English as a Second Language program.”
You can help my brother and support the Summer Urban Program by donating at: crowdrise.com/hcmc12/fundraiser/BrianHughes — Anyone who donates $26 dollars or more before the 20th of February has a chance to win an iPad2.
Posted by Scott Hughes
What is Martin Luther King Day? If a child asked you this question, you might respond confidently, ‘This is a day we remember a great man, Martin Luther King.’ But is it? Sure the day is named after King, but do we remember him on it? Do we really remember him at all?
Considering the overwhelming santaclausification of King into some jolly impotent figure from long past history, I would say that the fearless radical anti-war activist criminal alive just a few decades ago who the FBI called “the most dangerous man in America” is hardly really remembered. Misremembered, yes. Truly remembered, no.
As Professor Cornel West said back in 2010, “We have to resist the ‘santaclausification’ of Martin Luther King. I don’t want to sanitize Martin Luther King. I don’t want to deodorize Dr. Martin Luther King. I don’t want to disinfect Dr. Martin Luther King, and we’re not gonna domesticate Dr. King!”
We misremember King as an unreal impotent, PC black Santa Claus politely asking if his friend Rosa can sit down when what makes him worth remembering is quite the opposite: He was a fiery, controversial, unresting activist arrested multiple times whose powerful, radical challenges to the war, economic inequality and of course segregation scared the living hell out of not only the average white conservative but the governmental powers that be. His commitment to non-violent methods and focus on love only made it harder for his enemies to undermine him and undermine his powerful criticisms in the eye of the public. While arguably most of his grand, vast, radical vision was shot to death with him in 1968, much of the hard progress that was made then and since then is thanks to him.
Although racial equality and non-racism in America is still far off, and although King’s unrelenting, vociferous attack on the Vietnam war may have garnered him the most dangerous enemies, this is after all a blog about poverty. The adamant, revolutionary critic of poverty demanding economic equality has been greatly forgotten not remembered. The man who was brought to tears upon seeing schoolchildren in Mississippi fed their meager lunch of a slice of apple and some crackers is generally not remembered.
“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization,” Dr. King said. “The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”
Of course he was more revolutionary than one just asking for more charity and handouts: “True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring,” Dr. King said.
Unfortunately, Martin Luther King’s “Poor People’s Campaign” was unsuccessful after his assassination. Globally, 18,000 children die every single day from world hunger. In the United States, millions suffer in poverty including millions of children as well as millions of working poor. Like his dreams of a colorblind society and an end to American militarism, Dr. King’s dream of abolishing poverty has also gone unfulfilled and its creator misremembered.