The Shame of Hunger in America
Years of hunger portends a future of decreased abilities to achieve.. Girls
and boys who endure a childhood of hunger will battle health problems and find it harder to keep up with advanced studies--
no matter how great their teachers.
Our country has an abundance of food. Every day 263 million pounds of food is thrown away every day.
It makes no sense.
Fifty million Americans live with hunger. More than 15 million children get up hungry, get through the day hungry, and
go to bed hungry.
A third of elderly Americans find they must choose between paying for food or paying their utility bills or getting
You can help. Volunteer at your local food bank or make a donation.
go to Feeding America
go to Food Bank Directory
go to find Food Pantries
|Gary Sinise at the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago.
Gary Sinise stands in front of a sculpture made of 58-thousand
dog tags, symbols of U.S. losses in Vietnam.
Besides being a formidable bass guitar player, Gary is the busy award-winning
actor in "Truman," Lieutenant Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump," Ken Mattingly in "Apollo 13," Mac Taylor in "CSI-New York"
and numerous other films.
He does USO tours with his "Lt. Dan Band," named
after his "Forrest Gump" movie character-- for people the world over have seen the movie and immediately recognized him
as "Lt. Dan." He has a deep commitment to the welfare of our military, and is executive producer of the documentary
"Brothers at War."
Seeing children in Iraq without so much as pencils in schools, Gary,
along with author Laura Hillenbrand founded Operation International Children in 2004 which ships
pallets of supplies to school children. American military personnel deliver the materials. Gary says he's "just helping
the soldiers help children."
|Gary Sinise and Laura Hillenbrand.
go to Operation Internetional Children
more on Gary Sinise
|On the Road with Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band. click to enlarge.
"Giving" sites to check out:
go to Guide Star Database
go to the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance
The former First Lady's passion is improving mental health care-- and
finding housing for the homeless who are mentally ill. She leads the Rosalynn Carter Institute for
Caregiving, promoting the mental health of the disabled, ill, and aging, along with their families and caregivers.
At The Carter Center Rosalynn works for human rights and non-military
conflict resolution. And, with her husband, she is still physically involved in building homes for
Habitat for Humanity. Every day she makes a difference.
go to Institute of Medicine
go to The Carter Center
|Melinda French Gates. Photo: Norman Jean Roy.
"We have the opportunity to create the world we want to live in-- a
world in which all children are treated as if they are worth saving."
"Everyone agrees that the failure of our high schools is tragic. It's
bad business, and it's bad policy. But we act as if it can't be helped. It can be helped. We designed these high schools;
we can redesign them."
- Melinda French Gates
Go to Melinda profile in Fortune
go to Melinda's Wiki bio
Nearly 2.5 billion human beings live on less than $2
a day. More than 820 million suffer from chronic hunger.
go to Center for Global Development
Elephant checks out Peace Corps quarters in Botswana.
go to the Peace Corps
What's really going on?
Secrets shines light on our government. The Center for Responsive Politics is a guide to
how $$$ influences elections and public policy.
go to Open Secrets
Watch the interviews on Bill Moyer's Journal.
They're illuminating, and always get to the heart
of the matter.
go to Bill Moyers Journal
"You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will
do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but to live until you die."
- Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement.
go to Hospice Foundation of America
The devastating hurricane in New York leveled whole towns and cut
residents off from basic information. With no electricity people were desperate for help. While water flooded the subways,
tunnels, and even the memorial museum at Freedom Tower-- heroic men and women risked their lives to help, and New York City
showed the world how to respond to disaster with amazing expertise and empathy.
go to Global Giving
go to Shelter Box
go to Americares Disaster Relief
go to Save the Children
go to more ways to help
"Everybody can be great because everybody can serve."
- Martin Luther King. Jr.
|Kids--the biggest victims of the foreclosure mess.
In the endless opinion blogging and reports of America’s
financial meltdown, a central question is where to place blame. It’s foolish to exonerate predatory banks pushing foolish
mortgage loans. It’s silly to consider no-money-down homeowners as villains. But this controversy is irrelevant to the
homeless children who are the innocent victims of the fiasco.
Children are collateral damage. More then
two million children have been foreclosed on (i.e. shut out). Even children in rentals have been thrown to the streets when
landlords didn’t inform their parents of the pending property foreclosure.
Most are living in motels and shelters. The
main thing they have to look forward to is school– but they often have to change schools mid-year. They absorb distress.
In an environment of instability, frustration, worry, and low-spirits, dislocation has emotional consequences. Parents are
haunted by the horror of seeing their children victimized.
More than 300 school districts report an alarming
spike in homeless students. Teachers see the tears and fears first-hand. Some districts are helping families by setting up
homeless stores where kids can get clothes and school supplies.
Older kids are often called upon to watch over their
siblings while their parents scramble for income.They deal with grown-up concerns. Many lose their health insurance because
of parents cut-backs to squeeze out mortgage payments. Some foreclosing banks seize cars, stocks, and children’s college
savings accounts. Even the IRS gets involved by garnishing their parents wages. Family pets are left behind. For kids, the
pain doesn’t stop.
go to National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
First Focus is an advocacy group for children
in federal policy and budget decisions.
go to First Focus
Our Torture Calamity
Abhorrent torture methods of the Soviet State Polical
Directorate (GPU) differ only slightly from the "Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape" (SERE) program of the U.S. Military.
Hideous SERE procedures, considered "crude
but effective," have occurred with regulatiry on "high-value detainees" at "black sites" on foreign land.
Torture is deemed illegal by Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Supreme
Court. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has investigated
and reported U.S. torture crimes in detail.
go to the ICRC Report on Torture
The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization
ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and other situations of violence.
go to International Committee of the Red Cross
|Michael J. Fox, a tenacious optimitist.
Michael J. Fox was
30 when diagnosed with Parkinson's, a disease that typically occurs to those over 60. Now, at 50, he has a new book out:
"Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist." This follows his "Lucky Man," in
In spite of severe debilitation, his demeanor is still boyish-- albeit
with an old man's wisdom.
So why does he think he's so lucky? Because he's completely
alive, has a great family-- and his celebrity has drawn attention and funding to Parkinson's research. His overwhelming
desire is the discovery of a cure. And he's still acting, with a role in the top-rated "Good Wife."
His foundation focuses on one thing: the eradication
of Parkinson's through direct donations to research. Until now, funding has been steady. He says "All these Wall Street
guys grew up idolizing Alex P. Keaton (his "Family Ties" character). So in a way their help with the foundation was
a way of giving back.
"We see subtractions when we're ill. They're not
just subtractions. I'm not minus anything. I'm me-- plus this experience.
"The disease has changed my path, the way I look
at things and what I do. I started the foundation, wrote two books, and have met people and traveled as I otherwise never
would have done.
"People react to my message that we can change things--
not out of panic-- but out of hope and a sense of purpose."
go to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
|Smiles for Relief International
In the Gaza Strip a million and a half residents
are dealing with the brutal effects of military conflict.
Relief International is providing food,
water, sanitary supplies, blankets, candles, and medicine. More help is needed for the most vulnerable, homeless, and injured.
go to Relief International
|Kampung in Jakarta
Corps Indonesia works to improve living conditions in the Penjaringan
slums of North Jakarta.
Their project is called "Healthy Places; Prosperous People,"
or "Lingkungan Sehat Masyarakat Mandiri."
Target issues are water supply,
sanitation, and solid waste. Working in neighborhoods, Mercy Corps initiates programs and then lets the locals figure them
out among themselves. Once slum residents understand the benefits of change, they are happy to engage in group efforts. Joining
together with a purpose, they are upgrading their maintenance and trash disposal habits.
One initiative is a program for organic and
non-organic recycling to create compost and fertilizer.
Residents see this as a big step up– because,
as one woman said, "It makes something from the garbage." Neighbors working on projects together has also generated a welcome
boost in economic activity.
go to Mercy Corps Indonesia
In Africa, people yearn for the capacity to feed
themselves. Food security is everything.
Africa is a continent of farmers (70%), yet food is scarce. A third of
the people in Sub-Saharan Africa suffer from malnutrition. While food production has increased during the last thirty years,
production per capita has dropped by ten percent.
Obvious reasons are population growth and the erosion of natural resources.
Most Africans suffer from severe water shortages.
They lack the wells, canals, reservoirs, pumps, and irrigation infrastructure
needed to make use of the potential water supply that could make them successful farmers.
|Sustainable, i.e. "smart" agriculture brings rewards.
With prices rising, aid organizations can’t keep up with daily
People already living on the edge will continue to suffer until production
rises. Along with food insecurity comes a range of
other health problems, environmental degradation, and poverty. When food security improves, most facets
of rural Africa life improve as well.
go to Africare
|Cholera epidemic in Haiti. From the field: "If she doesn't drink, she will die."
Devastating 8.9 earthquake hits Japan followed by tsunamis-- with
more to come. You can help.
go to see satellite photos of before and after the earthquake and tsunami
Incoming mail usually includes donation requests.
Before you give, check to see how your money is used (and that includes regular or long-standing
recipients of your generosity).
Some charities are bloated with high administrative salaries,
drowning in overhead and debt, or suffering losses from inefficient fundraisers or advertising. They are off-track.
The Charity Navigator is
a reliable guide. It evaluates the efficacy and financial health of institutions and has a one-to-five-star rating system.
Counting stars makes for a more sensible philanthropic marketplace, and more thoughtful donations.
go to Charity Navigator
Most children born in Africa die before their 5th birthdays-- from
malaria, polio, respiratory infections, and diarrhea. Many are born HIV-positive. And millions of AIDS
orphans are called 'the silent crisis.'
go to Global Health Facts
"We are such spendthrifts with our lives... The trick is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss
you can muster.... I'm not running for sainthood.
"I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what
he takes out."
- Paul Newman (1925-2008)
go to Newman's Own Foundation
attributed his good fortune to random luck.
When he saw random bad luck he was passionate
about giving a little "uplift." He started the "Hole-in-the-Wall Camps" for children with serious medical conditions--
from which more than 40 thousand kids have benefited.
"I wish I could recall with clarity the impulse that
compelled me to help bring this camp into being. I’d be pleased if I could announce a motive of lofty purpose.
I’ve been accused of compassion, of altruism, of devotion to Christian, Hebrew, and Moslem ethic, but however desperate
I am to claim ownership of a high ideal, I cannot.
"I wanted, I think, to
acknowledge luck-- the chance of it, the benevolence of it in my life, and the brutality of it in the lives of others,
made especially savage for children because they may not be allowed the good fortune of a lifetime to correct it.”
- Paul Newman
go to Hole-in-the-Wall Camps
|Jimmy Carter on construction site.
He builds it!
Besides his prolifiic writings and his role as international peacemaker,
Jimmy Carter is known as the biggest booster for Habitat for Humanity.
Just give him a hammer and some nails and he'll help build a home for a family in need anywhere in the world.
go to Habitat for Humanity
Choose a challenge.
Make your move. You will help put the world back in order.
go to 'Our World,Your Move'