Combatting Global Famine



Justin Goldstein



Compares Avrams emigration from Canaan to Egypt and links to current issues of immigration, poverty, and famine.



Most of us in America are protected from drought and famine.  Droughts still happen, and farmers may suffer, but rarely does the consumer feel the effect as strongly as the producers of our food.  Those food consumers who are dedicated to a local or regional diet may be more tied into the ebbs and flows of seasons, but nonetheless we always have the option to visit a grocer or supermarket and meet our needs of sustenance.

Yet, the adage “act local, think global” reminds us that for much of the world, this is not the case.  In fact, millions of people around the world suffer from severe famine.  There may have been a time in the world when famine cause migration, such as in this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Lekh Lekhah, when Avram emigrates from the Land of Canaan to the Land of Egypt because “the famine was severe in the land,” (Gen. 12:10).  However, in today’s world of established nation-states with firm and enforced borders and immigration policies, the ability to move so freely is no longer the case.  The result, for much of the world, is devastating hunger and, at times, even civil unrest and conflict.

At the end of the September the United Nations held a summit of the Millenium Development Goals which has the ambitious intention of ending global poverty by 2015.  Whether or not this goal will be achieved in the next 5 years is difficult to assess.  Yet, one of the issues discussed at this summit is the effect of famine and hunger on the poor communities around the world.  The statistics are staggering, with over 900 million malnourished global citizens suffering, in part, because of famine.

While we are focused on our local communities by supporting CSAs, we cannot forget our global communities who suffer day in and day out from severe famine and hunger.  While giving charitable money to nonprofts can help, there is a particular nonproft which has fought to combat hunger and famine for decades which does so by distributing livestock to produce food and sustainable income, rather than dispersing funds for relief aid.  Heifer International, which can be accessed online at, provides animals to families in need around the world, allowing them to work for themselves.  For as little as $30 hope can be restored and hunger can be combatted.  If you can, please support the efforts of Heifer International and work to end famine and hunger.
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