Day 14: Donate to a cause

With the above earthquake in Haiti fresh in everyone’s minds, I think it’s important now more than never to take heed of how blessed we are and donate to those whose lives have been devestated by natural disaster or circumstance. Thousands are dead and thousands others have lost everything in the earthquake that happened Tuesday. Do your part here by donating to the relief fund and help to bring food, shelter, clothing and medicine to those in desperate need in Haiti. To give to the Haiti relief fund: Text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross relief for Haiti. http://newsroom.redcross.org/2010/01/12/disaster-alert-earthquake-in-haiti/

Other important causes I also often donate to are UNICEF (www.unicef.org) which helps children in need as well as The Hunger Site (http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1) which helps feed the billion people worldwide facing world hunger. This site donates 1.1 cups of food with each click (and its free!)

Being in the health field and studying nutrition puts world hunger especially close to my heart. While at school, I wrote a column in my how to section about helping world hunger, which i have pasted below. For more of my articles and how tos visit http://www.gadaily.com and search for Claire Gallam.

How to help end World Hunger

 “What exactly is hunger?” you might ask? According to the World Food Progamme, hunger is the body’s way of signaling that it is running short of food and needs to eat something. It is that innate force, that growling in our stomachs that tells you to fuel up. But what would you do if you had that hunger pain every hour of every day? What if you did not have the money to overcome the continuous growl? Then you would be included into 820 million people worldwide who are chronically hungry.

To put this more into perspective, there are some key words that are imperative to the understanding of the issues, many very fatal, which can result from excessive hunger. According to bread.org, a United States based hunger organization, hunger is just the beginning. Under nutrition leads tomalnutrition, and is a condition that results from an inadequate consumption of calories, proteins, and the other nutrients that need to be met for basic physical requirements. Malnutrition is a condition that results for continual hunger, results from a long period of under nutrition or inadequate consumption. Malnutrition can impair mental and physical health, and can cause infections disease.

According to Janna Pennington, who is the administration specialist in GSU’s office of Student Leadership and Civil Engagement, there are 1.4 billion people [of the 6.6 billion total population worldwide] who live in extreme poverty and face malnutrition. “Extreme poverty is defined as living on $1.25 a day, which equals to about $500 dollars a year,” Pennington said.

To put that in perspective of our consumerist nature, $1.25 cents is a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola from the University bookstore. Could you live on just one Coca-Cola a day? Without any other means of nourishment? The most alarming, and emotionally upsetting, statistic involving hunger relates to the daily deaths to children caused by malnourishment. “Every 2.9 seconds a child dies due to hunger.

Daily, 30,000 children worldwide are dying due to not having enough food,” Pennington said. In the time it took you to read that statistic, a child died due to critical hunger. Hunger is not an issue that just affects those living in third world, undeveloped countries either.

The United States, which is apart of the wealthiest fifth of the world, also has citizens who live in poverty and face hunger related illness and deaths. According to bread.org, 35.5 million people in the United States live in households that experience hunger, with 4 percent of this total, goes without food for days on end. That equals to about 11.1 million of the 35.5 million, and includes the 430 thousand children. These statistics have not been altered, nor are they exaggerations. 21 percent of the world’s population is living under these types of conditions. So if you are like me, which I hope many of you are, and these statistics bring you to the point of tears, there are ways you can help prevent these millions of men, women and children from dying due to hunger related causes.

Before I became aware of this problem, I often had the misconception that the only way to help these people is to donate tons of money to the on-air personalities who are sitting beside a child who is hungry. However, through my research, I have found there to be many ways students can do their part to help this cause.

 The first step that needs to be taken is awareness. Although I have mentioned many statistics, there is still so much more out there to be learned about hunger and how to help it. By being more aware of the problem, you will have more information on how you can help it. Once you learn, as much as I have, there is no way that you can go on without helping.

Secondly, since Georgia Southern is sponsoring a week dedicated to the cause, make sure you check out the activities being offered. Tomorrow, for starters, there will be a hunger fair at the Russell Union Rotunda from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will be multiple tables’ set up with information from many organizations that are dedicated to helping end domestic and worldwide hunger.

Two organizations that will have booths in the Rotunda tomorrow include Oxfam International, which is a confederation of 13 organizations working together to fight for justice, empowerment, and the ending of poverty. “Oxfam is dedicated to helping end injustice and poverty worldwide.

One thing that Oxfam offers is a toolbar that can be downloaded straight to someone’s computer, and every time they click on the toolbar, there is a donation made to Oxfam, which is an easy way to do your part,” Pennington said. If you are interested in Oxfam, visit their website at http://www.oxfam.org.

Another organization that will be featured is Heifer, which has a unique way people can help end hunger. “Heifer, which is my personal favorite, provides people with animals they can have and raise. If a family is given chickens, for example, they can raise and breed the chickens, which give them food they can provide for themselves. Instead of just giving them 20 dollars, which disappears after a short while, this organization gives them gifts that can last for a while,” Pennington said. For more information on how to donate to Heifer, visit http://www.heifer.org.

 Another example Pennington advises is buying Fair Trade products. “Fair trade products ensure that the farmers who grew the ingredients for the product [coffee and chocolate for example] are being paid enough to provide food and shelter for their family,” Pennington said.

According to The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) half of the 1.4 billion hungry people are farming families, surviving off marginal lands prone to natural disasters like drought or flood, and one in five belong to landless families dependent on farming. By purchasing products with the Fair Trade emblem, you are doing your part to ensure that these farmers are able to survive.

Another way you can help end hunger locally is to donate food to a Food Bank. Food banks takes canned goods and used clothing to be distributed to people living in poverty conditions nearby. 

 If you want to donate without leaving the comfort of your own home, there are websites that you can donate money, or donate for free, just by singing up. The Hunger Site, http://www.thehungersite.com, is a website that makes donating as simple as clicking your mouse. All you do is hit the “click to give” button at the top of the website, and the website sponsors pay for cups of food to be distributed worldwide to hungry families.

Another website that you can visit that donates food and money worldwide is http://www.feedthechildren.org. Feed the Children is a non-for profit organization out of Oklahoma that takes donations and gifts for hungry people. There are many ways that we, as students, can donate and volunteer to help end world hunger. By the time you have read this article, at least 160 children have died due to hunger related causes. This number can be greatly reduced if we all do something to help.

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~ by therealnutritionist on January 14, 2010.

One Response to “Day 14: Donate to a cause”

  1. how can i donate clothes? i have 2-4 large bags of clothes for spring, winter, fall, and summer and possibly things other than clothes. they are used, but in very good condition. i have jackets, t-shirts, polos, long sleeves, button ups, etc. please email me with info.

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