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January 17, 2024

| Jim Cantelon |

Every New Year the number one resolution by us westerners is to lose weight. We seem to be chronically over-fed and under- exercised. In light of the World Food Program’s reports we might consider being ashamed of ourselves.

The WFP reports that 783 million people in our world live with chronic hunger and 300-350 are food insecure (meaning they don’t know if there will be food tomorrow). The main cause is war. Indeed 70% of hunger is conflict based while the remaining 30% is caused by climate crises and operational underfunding. Apparently international donations to the WFP are down by 50%. The greatest hunger emergencies are reported to be in 14 areas: Afghanistan, Central Sahel, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Myanmar, N.E. Nigeria, Somalia, S. Madagascar, S. Sudan, Gaza, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. There would be few in these regions, if any, resolving to lose weight in 2024.

Contrast these devastating realities to a headline I just read on the BBC news website: “Weight-loss Surgeon Told Patient to ‘eat, eat, eat’ in Order to Qualify for his Gastric Sleeve Surgery”. He owns and operates a weight-loss “holiday” business that provides cut rate surgeries in Turkey. But to qualify a patient must meet a minimum weight. So, if one is on the cusp of that weight minimum one must eat copiously to gain the needed pounds.
There’s no need to moralize here. We all can see the gross inequities that plague our world. Yet we live in a parallel universe of entitlement and complacency. Nevertheless there are millions of compassionate souls who care and act. Multitudes of charities raise millions of dollars in mitigating the hunger gap. These are thoughtful, loving people who look at our suffering world and say,” There but for the grace of God go I”.

These are the ones who choose every day of the year to change the world by ministering to “the least of these” one hungry soul at a time. Let’s resolve to be among them.


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