My son was recently challenged by someone very close to him as to why we would want to help people in another country when we have so many hungry people right here in the United States. The conversation did not end there, but I want to address this question first.
Are we not all God’s people? The bible is clear that all people are God’s creation (Colossians 1:16), and that God loves the entire world (John 3:16), but only people that are born again are children of God. (John 1:12, 11:52, Romans 8:16, 1 John 3:1-10)
I believe that as a child of the Lord, it is my duty to help others. I fail at this every. single. day. I get wrapped up in my own luxuries (smart phone, facebook, cable television) and often forget what I am here for. As a child of God, I am supposed to mission to others, disciple to the lost. The mission of 7:10 is not only for the people of Haiti, but Haiti has definitely captured the hearts of all of us that have been there.
My goal in this post is not to “defend” our decision to focus on Haiti. I am fully aware of the need worldwide. As much as I would like to be able to wave a wand and fix every where, I have to have a main focus, or I would be overwhelmed with the sense of failure.
Here are some facts that I have found about hunger in America.
~16.1 million people or 22% lived in poverty in 2012.
~ 1 out of every 6 Americans is hungry.
~ In 2012 the poverty level for a family of 4 was set at $23,050 for a yearly income.
What about Haiti?
~54% of the population is living on less than ONE DOLLAR a day
~80% of the people live below the poverty line. Living on less than two dollars a day.
~90% of Haitians do not have running water
~Haiti is the 3rd hungriest country in the world.
I often wonder what you many think the definition of hungry is? I had the privilege of visiting a church this last Sunday for my nephews baptism. During the sermon, the pastor said that we should be thankful for everything. Even the dishes that need to be washed. Huh? Who wants to be thankful for dirty dishes? He followed by saying that the dirty dishes mean that you got to eat today. When we think of going hungry in America, how many days are we going without a meal, or is it how many meals in a day are we missing?
Let’s take a look at a severe form of malnutrition called Kwashiorkor. Which is just one form of malnutrition. Real Hope for Haiti has a wealth of information on this on their website. www.realhopeforhaiti.org The Merriam-Webster dictionary medical definition is this:
: severe malnutrition chiefly affecting young children especially of impoverished regions that is characterized by failure to grow and develop, changes in the pigmentation of the skin and hair, edema, fatty degeneration of the liver, anemia, and apathy and is caused by a diet excessively high in carbohydrate and extremely low in protein—compare pellagra
From this website, a government website, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002571/:
Kwashiorkor is very rare in children in the United States. There are only isolated cases. When kwashiorkor does occur in the United States, it is usually a sign of child abuse and severe neglect.
There is not an accurate way to determine the number of kwashiorkor cases in Haiti. There are several types of undernourishment, and it often goes un diagnosed.
I rest at night knowing that there is more hope in America for the hungry than in Haiti, and that is why I want to help in Haiti. There are so many resources in our very blessed nation of America. The opportunities to eat are more available to our children than the children in Haiti. There are so many wonderful programs that we as parents can turn to, to help feed our kids. There are many wonderful people that have been lead to help right here in our own country. Even our government, while not flawless, has several funded programs to help feed the hungry. The U.S. department of agriculture alone has 13 programs. Google did not yield any results for a government funded agency in Haiti. I was able to find plenty of foreign aid programs, but not any that were funded by their own government. This speaks volumes to the needs.
Another thing that America has going for it is education. The lack of knowledge and literacy in Haiti is just one of the many reasons why they are hungry.
Help is needed every where in our world. And my question to those that are asking why would you help in Haiti is this. What are you doing to help? Regardless of where, or how, what are you doing? The bible is not prejudiced. I don’t think that the Lord above sees me any differently than he sees a Spaniard, or French man, or a Haitian.
1 John 3:18
Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.