This is the Lower School Chapel Talk given October 16, 2018 - World Food Day - by Ms. Mary Via, Director of Service Learning and External Engagement. As an adult chapel attendee, it was incredibly powerful and I believe, impactful. So much so, we just needed to share it.
Good morning! It’s so good to be with you all today. And yes, I do realize it’s not Halloween. But this is not my Halloween costume. Even though I am a teacher by profession, what you may not realize is that I am also a Hunger Fighter.
And I will not rest until every child in every corner of the world has enough food to eat! And today, my friends, is a very special day because October 16th is World Food Day. And on World Food Day, hunger fighters from all over the world teach others about how we can stop hunger in its tracks. Our goal? ZERO hunger by the year 2030. I believe we can do this.
Here are the facts. First, no one can live without food. That’s obvious. But here’s the thing: we also need access to food that is healthy and nutritious. If we don’t, it can be really bad for our health. Children who don’t have good food to eat are more likely to get sick and they might not do very well at school. It’s not right and it’s not fair!
And you know, hunger isn’t just a problem that exists in far away places. Hunger is right here in America. There are children right here in our own city of Alexandria who will go to bed hungry tonight. Some organizations estimate that 1 in 5 of our Alexandria neighbors have to wonder sometimes where their next meal is coming from. This is unacceptable.
Since this is a problem that affects so many people, you may be wondering, how will we ever feed all these people? There’s no way!
And you know, Jesus’ disciples said the exact same thing once. Jesus had been teaching a huge crowd...I’m talking thousands of people who had come to hear what we had to say. But as the day came to a close, Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “These folks are hungry. Let’s get them something to eat.”
And to the disciples, that just sounded absolutely ridiculous. They said, “Where in the world would we find enough food to feed all these people?”
Jesus said, “Well, what have we got?”
What they had was a few loaves of bread and some fish. It didn’t seem like much. But Jesus blessed the food and told the disciples to start handing it out. And miraculously, it was enough! It was as if the loaves and fishes multiplied over and over again. Everyone ate that day! Thousands of people were fed. The Bible says that there were even leftovers.
This miracle story reminds me of something very important. And it’s something I believe very deeply. By the power of God who is Love, there’s always enough to go around. When we share what God has given us, there will be more than enough for everyone.
I believe that everyone, every child of God, has a right to food that is nutritious and delicious. I believe that we can end hunger in our community and around the world.
There are lots of ways we can do this, and I encourage you to learn as much about the problem of hunger as you can so that we can work toward solutions. Maybe you can talk with your teachers and your classmates about actions that you can take together to fight hunger.
A food drive is one way to fight hunger, but there are many things we can do, as well. Things that might surprise you. We can eat to reduce food waste. We can commit to eating at least one vegetarian meal a week. We can buy food from local farmers. These things can make a difference too.
And even though I’m wearing my superhero Hunger Fighter outfit today, I want to be clear: You don’t need to be a superhero to fight hunger. We all have the power to be hunger fighters...and when we work together, our powers become SUPERPOWERS! And that’s when we can change the world.
I want to leave you today with a prayer that originated in Latin America. It’s a grace you can say before meals. And it’s also a bit of a rallying cry for Hunger Fighters around the world.
The first part goes like this, “To those who have hunger, give bread.” [Your turn]
“And to those who have bread, [repeat]
give the hunger for justice [repeat].”
Repeat 2nd time: One side each
Repeat 3rd time: All together
Amen and amen.