For most North Americans, nourishment is easy. We go to the grocery store, head to a restaurant, or drive past a window where prepared food is handed to us in a matter of seconds. We turn on a faucet, and clean water flows instantly into our homes.
We are an exception.
More than 1.1 billion people don’t have access to clean water. In many parts of the world, women and children carry 40-pound jugs for miles to retrieve their daily allotment—and even then, the water may not be safe to drink. It’s a critical situation. Every five seconds, a child dies from hunger-related causes. Every fifteen seconds, a child dies from water-related diseases. And with the global economic slide, Another 100 million people have slipped into extreme poverty.
As an act of solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the globe, we encourage you to eat for five days, April 12-16, as the bottom economic half of the world does every day. Eat the three meals of your day using only the options below. Set aside the money you would have spent on additional groceries, and donate it to support those who struggle with hunger and thirst.
- Plain oatmeal or Cream of Wheat
- A tortilla, rice, and beans
- Rice with bits of fish or chicken, and a vegetable
- Tap water
Portion sizes around the world are much smaller than a typical Canadian meal. One cup or eight ounces is a generous portion. Meat is a luxury, with the average African consuming about ¾ ounce per day—the size of a small chicken nugget. Fresh fruit is rare, available only if locally grown and in season.
While these meals seem small by our standards, they actually represent average diets when compared to the rest of the world. Half the world’s population lives on no more than $2 a day. Approximately 1 billion people live on even less – only $1 per day.
Public water systems in Canada generally provide adequate, accessible, clean water for the common good in environmentally sustainable ways. Choose to only drink water from the tap and not bottled water (or any other beverage) during these 5 days. As you do, remember the more than 1.1 billion people who don’t have access to clean water.
Involving Your Kids
This is also an experiential opportunity for you to form compassion in your family: seeing a need and doing something about it.
Throughout this challenge, use discernment with your children. Be wise with dietary limitations, and encourage honest conversation about how each person feels. Those
discussions will be key in opening your family’s eyes to the needs of others. Set aside time each day to talk about the experience, and to pray for families around the globe who face hunger and thirst every day of their lives.
If you have school-aged kids who are participating in the challenge, you may need to be creative in what your pack for lunches but please take time to help them determine how to explain global hunger and thirst to friends who ask about the food they eat.
Limit Your Consumption
During this entire series (April 11th – May 2nd) we will also look at making small but purposeful changes in how we steward our spending.
Choose a few sustainable ways you can limit your consumption, then redirect those dollars to help alleviate hunger. Through the money collected, we will be providing meals for children at our ministry partner PACE in Kenya. During the school year PACE feeds 200 people morning tea and lunch and 60 people supper. The monthly cost is approximately $1300 Cdn. 50% of your donation will go to PACE for meal costs. The other 50% will be used by our Walk Compassionately Team to help meet needs within our own community.
Every time you limit your consumption, put aside the money you saved. Enclosed is a label. Place the label on container that is symbolic of how you are limiting consumption (eg. A bean container, a Tim’s cup, etc.)
Bring your container and what you saved to church on May 2nd, and celebrate how our small changes in consumption will be used to fight hunger in our world and community.