The Oatmeal Challenge

Two Sundays ago we highlighted the vast hunger and malnutrition facing Somalia. In early September, the last time numbers were released, 29,000 people had already died from starvation and 750,000 more face death from lack of access to food. Regretfully Somalia is not the only place where food is scarce. Much of Central Africa, India, and Haiti face significant hunger issues.

While the political instability and access challenges do not always allow for aid, many avenues are wide open, and many organizations get food where it is needed. One such group is Stop Hunger Now. According to their website:

“Stop Hunger Now has packaged more than 34 million meals since the inception of the meal packaging program in Dec 2005. These meals have been used primarily to support school feeding programs in developing countries. Stop Hunger Now and hunger experts agree that hunger is solvable and is the common thread among the world’s most challenging issues. When hunger is targeted, specifically by supporting school feeding programs, you give leverage support to other causes including poverty, disease, education and the welfare of women and children.”

On Saturday November 19th we will join neighboring churches to pack the meals that Stop Hungry Now sends to the places where food is most needed, including Somali refugees in Kenya. However, I am not making you aware of this situation a month out simply for you to “save the date.” The meals we will send cost money, so our role will be both to pay for the meals and to pack them. The packing part simply requires that we show up. But unless you have extra cash sitting around, the paying part requires us to plan.

Hence the “oatmeal challenge.” This is an idea that Rachael found on a blog and our family has implemented for the past 6 months. Choose one night per week to have oatmeal for dinner, and set aside the money you saved on food. Let’s say you save $10 per meal over those 4 weeks. That may not sound like much, but that $40 buys 160 meals at 25 cents a piece. If only 30 individuals and families from our church took the challenge, that would provide almost 5,000 meals for hungry children worldwide. That is quite a provision from simply eating oatmeal for dinner.

So save the date–November 19th–for our packing day and plan on eating an oatmeal (or rice or beans or whatever) dinner for the sake of those without adequate food.

For the display of Christ’s mercy,

Pastor Chris

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