Archive for Hunger

10 Resources to Teach Youth about Hunger

1.       30 Hour Famine experience, resources, videos and games!  Feeling hunger (even if it is just a juice fast) and doing it with others!

2.       Do a Food Packing Event  – Pack food (rice/beans and more) for people internationally that are served by organizations and churches who follow up with them

3.       Rice and Beans Week….or Month  Save money and time, feel hunger,  gain perspective

4.       Play Games

5.       Resources to Teach:

6.       Search through trash for Food

Get clean recyclables and put food (pieces of paper that list what food or lack of food is found) in the pile of “trash”.  Have kids search for their food.  What did they find.  I have the papers already on file.  Get that here: HUNGER GAME

7.       Go where people are hungry – Homeless Shelters, Food Kitchens or on an international trip where one is quickly humbled by our food intake, options, etc

8.       Books  – Tight Times by Barbara Hazen, The Good Garden by Katie Milway, Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan

9.       Stories of Youth Hungry 

The best ones are on the DVDs of the 30 hour famine


10.   Stories of Heroes (if the Justice League is doing it….us Christians ought to be more!)

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What’s for Dinner?

My friend Megan just emailed me, wondering if I will remember how to cook anything besides rice/beans after this month.  I admit that it has been nice to not think of meals and spend time/money on some other things we wanted to focus on this month.  I also admit, I’m glad the month is over.

Tonight, with our last beans/rice in hand, we sat down to watch Journey to Jamaa – It is a short movie production by World Vision of a true story of 2 kids.  It was excellent.  You can watch it online or host an event at a church (it is just over half an hour so it is good sermon time material).  It was an excellent way to bring our thoughts from the last month into real stories (less about famine, but just about poverty…disease and then into hope and sponsorship).  It was wonderful since our kids sponsor kids and the film made contrast of sponsored kids vs the dangers lurking for kids who don’t have resources or sponsorship were obvious.  I saw these constrasts in clear day when I went to Mozambique and the film did a great job.  I recommend it!

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Facing Famine -week 4

I confess we are slowing down in our general impact of our famine awareness exercise.  The kids have just decided to skip dinner all together because they are sick of rice and beans with nothing else in it.  This serves us in saving money and all, but not as much in reminding the kids to be grateful for food.  I think it’s maximum impact was the first 2 weeks.

Lukas chose to give saved money to fishing supplies to World Vision and Adelaine chose to give fruit trees:

We’ve read some more good books, which I added to the book sections and I’ve gathered some amazing resources specific to hunger from World Vision resources, including games, real stories that I am using with my kids and plan to use with other older youth soon that I am teaching and perhaps doing the real 40-hr Famine with.   My friend Christine sent this link to me and I love it.  Many get annoyed at celebrities on this campaign, but I am grateful for them…and humbled that they church has often been over shadowed by Hollywood getting more involved then we often are in these issues.  This isn’t a video for kids perhaps, but I appreciate its desire to state what is truly shocking in this world right now. campaign has achieved some remarkable things.

Lastly, at the end of the month we plan to go to an Ethiopian restaurant, in honor of our little boy we will be adopting (and thanks to a half  off Group-On that I just got that can also double as Adelaine’s birthday dinner – woo hoo).  We also plan to watch to end the month off, reminding us that child sponsorship is one of the best fights against famine because it is long-term community development.

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Facing Famine – Week 3

Gas is tempering down

No inappropriate hugging from Lukas to small children in class due to over-excitement to hug a little adopted brother

Saving some good money on dinners and serious time too since the kids want to pass on dinner most night so I just put it back in the tupperware.  Why haven’t I tried this method before?  What a time/money saver!  Though…true – not  the point of teaching about famine, poverty, hunger.

We read some amazing books today.  I added some to the Children’s Book post under the Books Category.  The refugee books really impacted my kids, particularly because we have known several refugee families through ESL (English as a Second Language) situations in Oregon and now in Connecticut.  Real stories are intense and so personal.

We’ve also, through a lot of this focus, sensed a different sort of famine in our son.  Though this is somewhat unrelated, we sense in him (have on and off since he was little, but now that he is away from  us all day at school ) that there is a bit of a famine in his heart.  A famine of his identity, of his purpose..not just of who he is, but ultimately WHOSE he is.  It feels tragic that I can love someone so much and they can still be so insecure, unmoved by how much  love is just aching for his sweet life.  It has reminded me though, in the midst of caring so much about these global issues, that I care more about my child knowing who he is, and how he treats others, and  what he knows about God’s heart for this world…then if he is cool.  I can’t give a crap if he is a little socially awkward (though it can hurt to watch sometimes in big crowds) or if he is “well rounded”.  It’s a load of bull really anyways.  Who wants to be well rounded.  I am well-rounded (currently in more ways that one even in spite of this dang rice/beans situation).  I am really good and knowledgable at a lot of things, but never really quite settling into anything or into myself.  I am still feeling so much on the inside like what my little boy looks like on the outside when he walks in a crowd.  I hide it more, but sometimes, I feel just as awkward and unsure as to how to start a conversation and just as weird when I am left standing alone.  If only I knew not just who I was, but WHOSE I was to the core and didn’t have to remind myself or fight lies all day long.   I long to give that to my children…to give them identity and purpose.   I’m so grateful God gives me eyes to see the lack of nutrition in my son, though it hurts to see.  I do pray we figure out how to feed him.

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Facing Famine – Week 2

So, basically – we are going strong, as is the gas-x consumption in our home on our rice/beans diet.  Our poor children have been running in and out of the room so much they could pose for a great ritalin commercial for how little they can sit still.

We haven’t been as good this week about talking each night about famine issues before dinner…though just the mere complaining before the rice/beans creates the reminder that children around the world are grateful for the common meal of rice and beans and are literally dying without it.

I’m not sure why there has been a change in my daughter recently.  Granted she is just 4 and empathy is usually more verbally expressed at 5 and 6, but she has been asking to read more books about kids without water and listen to an Adventures in Odyssey story about the Underground Railroad.  She said, “I want to listen to it because then I might know what it would have been like to be a slave.”  I looked at her shocked as if she had just read a line directly out of an empathy book.  No matter what spurred it on (even if she knows it is what I want to hear) I am so grateful for it.

Granted we talked about our adoption from Ethiopia in general with our kids before now, the rice/beans reminder of the Famine reminds us of the country that our child is/will be born in.

  • Lukas got in trouble last week for hugging a little boy from school.  It was an entirely strange conversation with him and in the midst of it, I asked, “Why did you hug him so much?” He said, “He was just so cute”…..after some investigating on what he meant and why Lukas had uncontrollable hugging, he said, “I just want to squeeze him, Mama, he is so cute and small”.  Oh Lukas (and poor poor little boy in his class).  It serves me right – 1 – for squeezing my little boy so much when he doesn’t want me to and being a bad example and 2 – for talking so much about how fun it will be to hug and kiss our little African boy that now Lukas picks the smallest African American child in class to hug to peices.  Just figures it would backfire.
  • Adelaine has been talking lately (again maybe due to all this extra conversation about Ethiopia) about how excited she is to hug her little brother (or brother and sister if we get siblings).  She is excited to the extent that this morning as we snuggled in a late morning slumber and said, “Mama, can I pray?”  Um, yeah – Of course you can! Go right ahead.  She prays then and there:”God, please help my little brother run up to me and hug and kiss me when I come home from school.  Amen…….(long pause) ……Mama – that’s all I had to say.”  Sounds good to me!

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30 Days of Famine – Week 1

I’m not sure what I expected in our first week of family famine reflection, but I’ve been a little surprised how it has been.

Before rice/beans dinner each night we did one of the following things:

We have viewed some different videos about famine:

We have read 2 books on life in Ethiopia (particularly because that is where we are adopting from – shows the hard parts of life and the beautiful parts of life there).  We read Beatrice’s Goat – a sweet children’s book that shows how life changing a goat can be to a child’s life (so the positive part of making a difference and not just the horrors of famine).

We reflected on the quote from Mother Teresa:  “When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”  We asked “what does that mean?”  Lukas plainly answered, “It means that that is someone dies of hunger it is because others didn’t help that person.”   Alright.  So you get it….to some degree.

In a family discussion, we had asked the question “Did you do anything special to be born to a family that had food, had a home?”  “Did a that is starving in Somalia right now do anything wrong to be born into a family that doesn’t have food?  “What does that mean?”  “Do we OWN our things, our money? Whose is it?”…etc…the conversation seemed very one-sided and like the kids didn’t really listen…and I was disappointed that they didn’t reflect more to take it further at the time.

But, how did the rest go?

Well – I mostly expected the kids to despise the rice/beans (in this situation you don’t want rioting, but you don’t actually want your kids to love the food, because they are supposed to reflect on how lucky they are other times to have other food).  Well – it totally figures:  My kids have NEVER been very into rice and beans – but the day I start this famine – all of a sudden, they LOVE IT – they can’t get enough of it.  They say “I just could eat more and more of this rice and beans – we are so lucky to have rice and beans….ummmm it takes so good”.  It is entirely possible that my son is being sarcastic after picking up my cues on what I am looking for and my daughter is just mimicking him, but honestly – it is ticking me off.  If they keep this good behavior and food habits up – we will move to cornmeal by the end of the month and see how they like it! he he he (evil laugh).  No, but seriously – while their initial enthusiasm certainly wasn’t expected, they are just now starting to tire of the rice/beans and if they don’t “feel” all I intend, I may consider even limit the rice/beans buffet.

It is in fact my poor husband that has suffered the most.  I don’t want to go too far into his bathroom habits or into the extent of the hilarity of the things he has said to me in the past couple of days, but the rice/beans diet has massively messed up his digestive track.  It is really sad, yet somehow hysterical, to watch.  Example:  The second night of it, he SWORE he was experiencing something similar to labor in his sporatic stomach cramps and began to yell from the couch calling out for ice chips for his lips.  (I cannot recall if in fact his legs were up as if in stirrups as well – not sure).  There have been some amazingly funny and inappropriate comments made.  What a good sport.

With the kids, they hadn’t had any profound moments beyond “that is really sad” or “I’m so glad that isn’t me” until after the night that we asked them about if they “deserved” to be born into our family and what was truly “fair” about them having good things and others not.  Entitlement is a big thing to me (or actually the lack of it, because I find entitlement disgusting thought I am sure I reak of it).  During our conversation, they were messing around with each other and driving me crazy so I thought surely the night was a waste.  However, at bedtime, I came upstairs to overhear Adelaine in her room talking to herself saying, “Well, that is just not fair that my girl in South America (her sponsored child) doesn’t have as many blankets as I do or as many toys as I do.  I am her friend and that just isn’t fair”  I walked in and asked her about it all.  She insisted that she needed to give her toys and blankets to her sponsored child (who is her exact age/birthday through World Vision).  I convinced her that her money could go further if she saved up her allowance to send it to her little girl to buy her own blanket and she agreed.  So far the last couple days, she has had some VERY TEMPTING times to spend her allowance and has declined in order to continue save up her money.  AMEN!

I’ll update you again in a week – gotta go – I have a rice/beans cramp!  Where’s that Metamucil?

Some other good links that are helpful in thought and ideas:

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Facing Famine

Famine has never felt very close or real to me.  I don’t think any of us have experienced severe hunger, unless you’ve fasted for medical procedures or for spiritual disciplines and have tasted just a bit of what hunger pains can do to the rest of your system.  I remember when I was little there were commercials for child sponsorship with balloon-bellied kid and flies around their face.  They were from Ethiopia and I knew they were starving, but they felt very far away and they looked very different than me…and the channel was usually changed by someone in the family or by me.

The last couple of years I’ve forced myself to look at this pain.  I cannot come close to understanding these experiences that our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world have.

However, every since God called us to adopt from Africa – famine has meant something different to me.  All of a sudden the famine in East Africa is affecting MY FAMILY, MY CHILD.  I know I should have always cared this much, but I admit the pain is closer to my heart than it has ever been.  My child is possibly born, soon to be born or will be conceived soon and will be growing and developing in the midst of the greatest famine in 60 years.  That means that his little brain may have little holes in it from malnutrition (though God is gracious how the brain can recover once nutrition is given).  That means that his mother will be in physical pain of hunger beyond the pain of pregnancy.  That means that thousands and thousands in his country – mostly children will die of hunger – one of the worst and slowest ways to die.


1 – There wasn’t enough water so crops died, then livestock died, then people died

2 – Food prices went up, people started fleeing their villages in search of water and food

3 – There are no back-up government infrastructures to support them so relief workers have come in (though areas with sponsorship already in place have much better support already….with wells, etc)

4 –  The rest of the world isn’t doing much about it.

Because I’m always trying to educate my kids about the world and because I particularly hope to connect them to the child that will enter our home, we are doing a 30-day Famine project – (as opposed to the 30hour Famine project).    Before you pick up the phone and call Child Protective Services – I’m not going to starve my kids for 30 days so they know what it’s like to be in a Famine.

This is my plan:

We will have only rice/beans for dinner every night for 30 nights.  The kids will have super healthy lunches and breakfasts and vitamins to ensure that they get the rest of the normal nutrition they need and that way I get avoid awkward emails from nutritionists.  I plan to stick with just rice & bean plus one fruit and veg for the month (and add vit D/calcium supplements)..

The kids have agreed to all this, though I fully expect mass hysteria starting tomorrow night at dinner and every day there-after, but that is why at the same time we will do Famine education at that time – books, videos, prayer…each day at dinnertime to remember why we are doing it.  Whatever money we save with our rice/bean substitution will be given to different organizations/projects as decided by the kids for Famine relief.  Hopefully this will be one small step toward understanding and compassion.

I will post a list of resources that we use, as well as a reflection on how the month goes.

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