During the holidays, with the busyness of Christmas and the prevalence of consumerism and shopping inundating our culture, it can be easy to forget that there are more than 800 million people in the world who are feeling the effects of starvation and hunger. You can find them in the slums of a city in the United States, in the rainforests of South America or in the deserts of Africa. You can find them anywhere, and every single one of them is in need.
It is estimated that more than 1.2 billion people live on less than $1 a day. And unlike many wealthy Westerners, their hard-earned wages are spent on keeping their families alive. They live without luxury, possibly even without many of the things most of us consider necessities. Most of us have so many blessings. We don’t have to live in pain or in fear of not knowing where our next meal will come from. But, especially at Christmastime, it’s important to ask, “How are we using these blessings?”
That is the same question Dallas Harris asked himself at the beginning of 2007. What am I doing with what I have, and how can I help someone else? After a lot of research, Harris discovered Feed My Starving Children. This organization purchases cost-effective, nutritious meals to ship to impoverished areas around the world. As a nonprofit, they operate on volunteer work and donations. As Harris talked to this group, he realized that he could use his abilities and blessings to help them help others.
After working through the statistics and logistics, FMSC figured out a need, and Harris figured out a solution. His job? To raise funds for the transportation of food from the blessed to the impoverished.
FMSC ships to more than 45 different countries, including the United States, Uganda and Haiti. This transportation is a big bill for the nonprofit to pay, so Harris set out to raise funds to help with the cost.
Once Harris figured out what he was going to do, he began designing merchandise and planning how he would sell the things he’d designed. Harris named his organization Feed Just One, taking the name from something Mother Teresa had once said: “If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.”
He also got some friends involved. Mark Zebley and Cheyenne Matthews started working with Harris in his fundraising. Mark works as the head of the FJO Nation, a group of people from around the country who are representatives for Feed Just One in their own area. Cheyenne works in the public relations area, dealing, for the most part, with the bands that support the cause.
But just how does it all work? After Feed My Starving Children has purchased the meals and packaged them, Feed Just One takes over on the cost of sending the meals. The money raised by merchandise sales and donations goes to pay for sending meals. It costs only four cents to send one meal, so each piece of merchandise pays for many meals for these starving people.
As the year flies by, Feed Just One’s cause is gaining momentum and rallying support. People of all ages are getting involved and using their resources to raise money for the hungry of the world. The word is getting out about this up-and-coming group. The FJO Nation has grown in the past few months, with a lot of people taking on the responsibility of selling merchandise and getting the word out in their areas. More and more bands are supporting the cause by wearing shirts onstage and talking about Feed Just One during their shows.
Hunger and poverty are tremendous problems in the world today. It is saddening to see that some people live in such excess when others have next to nothing, but Feed Just One is helping to empower individuals every day with the resources and opportunity to make a difference.
Feed Just One is a relatively new organization. Harris is intent on people knowing the severity of the problem of poverty and hunger, and allowing those people the opportunity to get involved. He says that when he first envisioned FJO it wasn’t just his thing. It was for everyone. “Anyone can do what we do. It’s just a matter of getting started,” he says.
Hunger is an overwhelming issue in this world, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. A single meal can be transported for just four cents, and $1.20 will feed someone for a month. So gather up your spare change, and change some lives.
You can learn more at www.feedjustone.com.