Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Support Pope’s Plan With Food for Peace

Pope Francis has been outspoken about ending world hunger, and getting the church more involved. This has to be done. What, though, are some ways citizens can help in terms of advocacy?

Read the full article at the Huffington Post.

 

 

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Pope to Launch Plan to End World Hunger

Pope Francis can unite the world in ending hunger

Pope Francis can unite the world in ending hunger

Catholic Relief Services announced that Pope Francis would be leading a major initiative to end world hunger.

A global wave of prayer will start at noon on Tuesday, December 10th on the Pacific island of Samoa. The prayer will move through each time zone for the next 24 hours.

The public is asked to become a voice for the hungry. There are 842 million people worldwide who suffer from hunger. Children perish each day because they cannot get food, even though there is enough on the planet.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS), in its 70th year, will play a leading role along with Caritas International in the campaign.

CRS emerged during the darkest hours of World War II, when civilization had seen the greatest level of devastation. They lit a candle with caring and generosity to light others and change the world.

The mission was clear. From the Philippines to Austria, there was widespread suffering from the war. Relief had to come quickly. There was also the need to rebuild as millions were left hungry and homeless long after the guns of World War II fell silent. The catholic community came up with a plan called, “Give Thanks by Giving.”

When the holidays came, churches were not just for services, but also collection points for canned goods and monetary donations. Supplies were then shipped overseas to the starving.

CRS, then known as War Relief Services or Catholic Welfare Conference, got its start. During the Korean war CRS aided refugees. Ever since that time, CRS has been coming to rescue those in need.

At this very moment, CRS is providing aid in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. They are putting up emergency shelters for those who lost their homes to the high winds and flooding.

In Mali, CRS is feeding children with meals at school, thanks to a grant from the US McGovern-Dole Food for Education program. Mali has been through drought and conflict just within the last year.

In Burkina Faso, CRS is also using grants from the McGovern-Dole and Food for Peace programs to provide school meals. CRS looks at the long-term. Local production of food is an element of the Mali and Burkina Faso programs. In the long run communities must be able to stand on their own. That is the right approach to ending hunger.

Both Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole need funding on the coming Farm Bill legislation. It is absolutely critical to support these U.S. government programs to end world hunger. The public can make this loud and clear to their elected officials.

Food for Peace is the largest support of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which is the largest hunger relief organization. WFP is providing food to Syrian war victims and millions of others around the world. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they are feeding the hungry. This may soon tragically stop because of lack of funding.

To end hunger you must build peace. And to preserve peace you must end hunger. This is an area CRS specializes in. In South Sudan, CRS has a food security program in the state of Jonglei, a region that has been through immense conflict and hunger.

Gabriel Kuereng, a CRS field coordinator, explains, “The war left us in bad shape. We still think that this community did this or this community did that. We need the government to intervene and help us forgive each other. We need to build an identity of nationhood where we all say we are South Sudanese — not ‘I am a Dinka or I am Nuer.’ When we reconcile, cattle raiding will stop, because we will not blame others.”

There is far more that binds religions and faiths than divides them. All share the goal of feeding the hungry. The famous European Relief Council following World War One was made up of many different religious groups.

It’s all about coming together. If that happens, hunger can be defeated. If that happens, then weapons of war can be put down and people can be fed. But only if people remain united behind this cause.

Sara Fajardo of CRS talked to a farmer in South Sudan, Zakariah, who said, “Working together, we’ve realized we produce more as a group. We can produce something that can be taught to many people. We have a saying… ‘If you have one stick, it is easy to break. But if you have a bundle of sticks, it is hard to break.’ That means when you bring a group of people together, you become very strong. It is hard to break a group.”

True for South Sudan and true for the world, as we embark on the quest to defeat man’s ancient enemy of hunger.

originally published at The Huffington Post

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Pope Can Unite World in Ending Hunger

Pope Francis can unite the world in ending hunger (Vatican photo)

Pope Francis can unite the world in ending hunger (Vatican photo)

Pope Francis can be a powerful leader in uniting all people and faiths in ending world hunger.

For any perceived differences that might exist among world religions and their followers certainly disappear when it comes down to the basic staple of food. Everyone on the planet needs access to food. The saving of human lives, the improvement of standards of living, and peacebuilding all rest first and foremost on food.

In 1920 when people were suffering from hunger in the aftermath of World War I, Pope Benedict XV praised a newly formed “European Relief Council” calling it “truly wonderful and providential” as it fed the hungry. The Pope said praised it “seeing that your work is not confined to any one people, but that it embraces all that are in need without distinction.”

This relief council had brought together organizations including the National Catholic Welfare Council and the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. When a famine struck Russia in 1921 these groups continued their relief work saving countless lives. Pope Benedict sent trainloads of food and rallied support to help the starving people.

After World War II churches served as collection points where people dropped off donations of food to be shipped overseas to starving people in Europe and Asia. There were many countries still suffering from the destruction of the war. The hungry were not forgotten.

Pope Pius XII said, “We must not allow death to engrave on millions of tombs of innocent children the tragic words of accusation: The little ones have asked for bread and there was no one to break it to them.” Around this time a new organization called Catholic Relief Services got its start.

The Pope embraced ingenuity in fighting hunger, whether it was the CARE package of food which people sent overseas or the Friendship Train. This was the train that crossed America during 1947 collecting food for the hungry in Europe, which helped fuel the reconstruction of a continent.

Pope Pius said when the food arrived in Italy, “Such a cheering contrast in the news of recent days has been the conception of the idea of a Friendship Train and its immediate and generous reception over the entire area of the United States, resulting in the donation of an impressively large quantity of foodstuffs destined and dispatched without delay for the relief of the hungry.”

Now today, the resources exist more than ever to help the 870 million people worldwide who are suffering. These are people starving in the war-affected areas of South Sudan and Sudan, in Syria, and other countries impacted by conflict, drought and poverty. They are small children, who because they cannot get nutrition early in life either perish or suffer lasting physical and mental damage. Many of these children can be saved if more resources and effort are dedicated to fighting hunger.

Last year, the director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, José Graziano da Silva, met with religious leaders trying to build unity in the fight against global hunger. There should be a shared commitment on the part of world religions to eradicate world hunger. The new Pope has the great opportunity to make this happen.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food.” Jesus called for the starving and poor to be fed and we each have the opportunity to carry out this mission every day. Hunger must not be a condition considered inevitable, not when we have the ability to end it. What is needed is the spirit and faith to win the struggle against man’s ancient enemy, hunger.

Article first published as Pope Can Unite World in Ending Hunger on Blogcritics.

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