In uncertain times such as these I am reminded how helpless we really are as individuals and how vulnerable we are as human beings in the face of adversity, whether it be a big earthquake, a calamitous flood, a raging brush fire, an economic collapse, or even something as tiny as a flu bug. This Christmas season I am reminded by the line in Clement Moore's "Twas the Night Before Christmas" that goes:
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
Of course he was describing Santa's reindeer flying up to land on the roof but I am thinking of the dry leaves blowing before the wind and about how I feel as helpless at times. By the way, it is time to get something straight. Nowhere in the poem does it actually say that the reindeer fly up in the sky from house to house. On the contrary, it seems to imply that they travel on the ground and when they get to a house they give a mighty leap up onto the roof and pull the sled and old fat boy up there too with the momentum. But lest I digress, let's get back to the subject at hand. So, what could a handful of leaves do against a hurricane? Nothing! But if there were a billion leaves in a sack and it formed a big enough mound perhaps it would block the wind. So then how does one turn a handful into a billion? Perhaps through the power of the Internet.
I learned the other day some alarming statistics and I can't quite get my head around them nor get them out of my head. It is estimated by a credible sources that at least 1.2 billion people in the world are literally starving and that every six seconds a child dies from causes related to malnutrition. On top of that there are around two billion people who don't have access to a proper sanitary toilet and of those people there are 500 million who defecate and urinate out in the open right where they are without even a hole in the ground and without a shelter of any kind for privacy. Then, the same flies that gather on their excrement also gather on what little food they have and so it is a real miracle that any child survives that environment. One point two billion people is a lot of people to feed so how can there ever be any hope for them? Well it just so happens that for every problem there is a solution. There are about the same number of people affluent enough to be using the Internet. It costs twenty-five cents per day to give one of the starving people a large nutritious portion of porridge with enough calories and essential nutrients for survival. The World Food Program (WFP) of the United Nations is already feeding 100 million people that way. They are the most efficient group that I know of because 93 cents of every dollar that they receive actually reaches the poor people in the form of a hot meal. If every one of the one billion or so people on the Internet could donate 25 cents per day then we could make a big leap forward in wiping out malnutrition and give some more kids a chance to have their fair share of sun and sky and air and light along with the pursuit of happiness. That is only $7.60 per month to save a kid.
So why should we save a kid? What's in it for us? Well, somebody nourished us when we were kids didn't they? What was in it for them? One kid dying every six seconds adds up to over five million kids a year waiting for us up in Heaven to charge us with their doom. Hillary Clinton said that it takes a village to raise a child and the WFP says it takes a billion people to save a billion people. Well, does this have anything to do with Mexico? The answer is no and yes. No, the WFP isn't currently feeding any people in Mexico but they are feeding thousands of people in Guatemala, our poor neighbor to the south where 49.3% of the children under 5 years of age are chronically undernourished. Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world and the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean. So, come on, those of you who can afford it need to take some lumps of dough out from under your mattress and share it with a hungry child. You can find out how by checking out the World Food program website at: http://www.wfp.org/
Oh, and one more thing. It really isn't fair to say that everyone with an Internet connection is affluent. There are many people who use the Internet but are currently unemployed or underemployed and have families with small children of their own who lack resources. They are certainly excused and I beg their pardon if I have caused them any grief. That also means, of course, that about a half a billion of us who can afford it need to double our efforts to make a difference. But even those who can't afford to donate money can donate their prayers that this program will be a success. In any case, whether you donate or not, I will pray for you that you have a very Merry Christmas and if you mention me in your prayers as well we can be a team...a team of Comfort & Joy.
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