Wednesday, April 29, 2009

World Hunger Day

When you see a map of current swine flu victims, it’s an instant reminder of how one person somewhere distant can affect thousands around the world – for good or for ill. Today, April 29, is World Hunger Day.

A group called Bloggers Unite has asked bloggers to post a reminder to readers about the number of people around the world who do not have enough to eat. Here are some statistics:

Right now, more than 500 million people are living in "absolute poverty" and more than 15 million children die of hunger every year.

• The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the population is underfed and another third is starving.

• Even in the United States, 46 percent of African-American children and 49 percent of Latino children are considered chronically hungry.

Organizations like Heifer International are the solution. Every day, Heifer International lifts people out of poverty by providing communities with livestock and agricultural training to improve lives and inspire hope. What can you do?

If you Google World Hunger Day, you’ll find several other sites that are devoted to lessening hunger in the world, opportunities to have a positive effect on an individual, a family, or a community here in America or in a distant place.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tradition Hops Along

This year, the role of the Easter Bunny at the Cedar Grove Public Library was played by my son-in-law Mike. The Cedar Grove Junior Women’s Club needed someone to act the part and Mike obliged. As I watched young children scramble to sit on his lap while their parents took photos, I realized that Mike was part of a family tradition.

Many years ago while I was the director of public relations at a New Jersey hospital, I was approached by a freelance PR person for a favor. She asked me if I would be willing to help her with an Easter project she was doing at the Shop Rite store in Manahawkin. She planned to set up table where children could dye Easter eggs and a table for arts and crafts. Sure, I said. The night before the event, she called to tell me that I should probably wear shorts so I wouldn’t be too warm. That was considerate, I thought.

The next morning when I arrived at the store, Francie handed me a costume and directed me where I should stand to greet customers. I’m the Easter Bunny? I thought I’d help children with their Easter eggs. “Oh no,” she said, “I thought you knew. And I have no one else right now to wear the costume.” Being a good sport, I donned the outfit, complete with a mini-fan in the headpiece to keep me cool.

I wondered, has it come to this?