About 15 people die every minute from hunger or malnutrition globally.
The trouble with stats is they hide the personal. As Joseph Stalin said ‘A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.’
I don’t know anyone dying like this in NZ, or Dunedin, or my street. However, I do see thousands of families struggling with too little money and job losses. This shows up as food insecurity, with some kids arriving at school without breakfast or lunch. The NZ Baptists are right now setting up a ‘Food Insecurity Collective’ to explore this.
How should we respond? The disciples wanted Jesus to send the hungry crowd away to find their own food. Jesus reacted ‘You feed them.’ Ouch! And so as a church we run a foodbank, collecting food from church attendees to give to needy people, while also trying to make personal connections.
Of course we also need to assist people to afford and access their own food. But long term social and economic change is slow and hard. In the words of Helder Camara, a 1970’s Brazilian bishop who fought against the corrupt wealthy to assist the poor, ‘When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.’ Change is complicated.
In the meantime, last week our church supplied 6 families with food parcels.
Who will we share God’s food with this week?