Walk to Feed the Hungry
By Charles Elliott, Buddhist Global Relief


Buddhist Global Relief is happy to announce its fourth annual Walks to Feed the Hungry, an opportunity for people to gather together to help relieve the suffering of hunger.  BGR is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that provides grants for global hunger relief programs, including programs in education, ecologically sustainable farming, and women’s livelihood — all aiming toward food security. 

The 2013 Walks to Feed the Hungry are being held in eleven U.S. cities from coast to coast, and in Cambodia, India and the U.K.

This year, BGR has supported hunger relief projects in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Rwanda, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, New York, and Santa Clara County, CA.  Recognizing that each community has different needs, we support a wide range of projects that combat hunger in different ways.  Examples of our recent projects include:

  • funding the expanded use of crop intensification techniques in Haiti, Cambodia and Ethiopia that reduce the need for chemical inputs and result in crops that are more resistant to climate extremes, pests, and diseases. Yields can increase by 50%-150% within one or two cropping seasons;
  • providing support for Helen Keller International’s (HKI) “Making Markets Work for Women” that trains Bangladeshi women in agricultural skills such as pest management, organic fertilizer use, and intercropping, as well as food processing techniques and marketing skills;
  • increasing food production in Cote d’Ivoire by teaching women in community garden groups the skills needed to create year-round gardens and farms;
  • recognizing the wealth of data showing that educating young women is one of the surest paths to reduce poverty and hunger, we help fund girls’ education in some of the poorest areas of Cambodia, Haiti, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.
  • supporting the Reciprocity Foundation’s program for vegetarian meals for homeless youth in New York City, more than doubling the number of meals and young people served, and upgrading its kitchen to help provide nutritious meals far into the future.

Our agricultural projects focus on helping people use small-scale, ecologically sustainable methods of cultivation to acquire more food for their families and communities. We also support projects that educate people about right nutrition and healthier dietary practices. To tackle the roots of poverty and malnutrition, we provide food assistance to poor families so they can permit their daughters to continue their education and to give women the chance to launch right livelihood projects to support their families.

You can read more about BGR’s programs here: http://www.buddhistglobalrelief.org/active/projects2013.html

Our Walks to Feed the Hungry are not only a great way to support compassionate efforts to help feed those who are suffering from chronic hunger, but also a positive way to spread compassion by harmoniously gathering together. Mindful walking, generosity, and making new friends are great ways to heal, brighten, and develop the mind.  

To walk a few miles may not seem like a demanding act, but when we view this event in context we can see that it has far-reaching implications. The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that food is a basic human right, which must be fulfilled without discrimination of any kind. Sadly, our world has fallen terribly short of this commitment.

 But hunger is not just an isolated phenomenon.  Buddhism stresses the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things, so we must recognize hunger as a symptom of the world’s larger problems of poverty and injustice. Every year governments spend billions of dollars on weapons and wars, yet close to a billion people suffer from hunger and chronic malnutrition and two billion endure serious nutritional deficiencies.  We also recognize the deep truth of cause and effect.  The natural world – the acorn and the oak – and the human history of social justice movements teach us that from small causes large effects can flow.  When we walk to feed the hungry, we do not merely place one foot in front of another.  Rather, we manifest the whole basic human spirit to help one another. In joining together, we bring about great change.

We invite you to join any of the upcoming Walks to Feed the Hungry. Coming together in the spirit of good will and compassion to help others who really need it brings so much joy. And every dollar raised will make a real difference, enabling children to eat, girls to go to school, farmers to grow more crops, and women to support their families through dignified work.

To learn where this year’s walks are taking place, please visit the Walks to End Hunger World Food Day Page at http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/hunger_walk. You can also register to walk at http://www.firstgiving.com/BuddhistGlobalRelief

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