Ten years down the track my husband and I are aiming to educate our children about the simple reality that children just like them go to bed feeling hungry. We recently took up a challenge and lived on $2 per person per day for a week (livebelowtheline.com/au). As a family we learnt so much about poverty and how much of the world live day to day.
"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." (Deuteronomy 15 verse 11) The Bible clearly says there will be poor people. Where there is wealth, just around the corner there is someone living under a cardboard box.
Surely in a country like ours, not too many are experiencing day to day hunger. In this Australian society, surely there is plenty to go around. Surely hunger is something only places like Africa experience. This is sadly not the case. Each year two million Australians turn to charities for food (feedmelbourne.org.au), while 700,000 tonnes of usable food gets taken to the tip.
In Melbourne alone about 300,000 people will go hungry this year, choosing to spend what little money they have on rent and utility bills. Hunger is no longer confined to the homeless or unemployed, with working families, students and pensioners turning to relief agencies for meals (whereilive.com.au). But in this city there is hope for the hungry.
This May and June, FareShare, Leader Community Newspapers and the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation encourage Melbournians to donate to Feed Melbourne. All donations of $2 and more are tax deductible, and all donations up to $225,000 are matched by the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation. Two-thirds of all money raised will be distributed to food charities across Melbourne and regional Victoria and the remaining third will go to FareShare for them to build a new kitchen.
FareShare is a community group cooking 2000 meals per day from 'rescued foods' (food normally ending up at the tip). In the first three years Feed Melbourne gave $800,000 to almost 80 community food programs (feedmelbnourne.org.au). What a difference this has made.
Such campaigns and charities are living out what the Bible is requesting of us. "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." (1 John 3 verses 17-18) As we reach out into the community in whatever way we can, we take the love of Jesus, in the hope that people may ultimately have not only their physical hunger satisfied, but also their Spiritual hunger.
Laura Veloso is wife to John and the mother of 3 young boys. She is trained in child welfare and primary school teaching and has experience in overseas missions and youth leadership.
Laura Veloso's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/laura-veloso.html