The April edition of the Boeber Run gave us a taste of the winter to come.

One has to ask the question:  How desperate must our guests be to brave the cold conditions for something warm to eat?

In every community that we visit, we see that poverty does not discriminate. We have met people who have known nothing but the conditions they find themselves in, and on the flip side, people who were once well off, who were forced, by economic conditions, into their current situation.

For many of us, living very comfortable lives, it is so easy to pass judgement and say these people are lazy and complacent; that they should get jobs.  We should make the effort to get to know someone from a disadvantaged community, really get to know them.  Have a conversation with them, learn their story.  What has brought them to find themselves in this situation?

We have heard people say, “To combat poverty, address the cause.” Makes sense, but since the “cause” of poverty and the “cause” of hunger aren’t simple, we don’t think the solution is either. There are countless  contributors to the problem of poverty and hunger, theft, failure to plan, lack of education, laziness, natural disasters, disability, injustice, slavery, war, oppression, just to name a few. And each one is complicated, presenting unique challenges that cannot be remedied through legislation or social programs alone.

Conventional wisdom says if someone is hungry, give them a fish. Others say, if someone is hungry, teach them how to fish. What would it look like to teach someone in need how to change their situation?

Many people in the midst of poverty, hunger, and social and physical despair, lack something essential not just for their survival, but for their future – hope.  A powerful component to fighting poverty and hunger involves integrating hope, joy, and perspective which transcend circumstances

Poverty and hunger are closely related.  In most instances, hungry people are trapped in abject poverty.  They lack resources and in some cases, physical strength to buy or grow food. This presents a common malnutrition challenge or other life-threatening conditions.  

The goal is to break the cycle and finding solutions to assist these individuals break free from poverty and re-build their physical and mental health.

What if relief organizations teamed up with local faith-based organizations, places of worship, and community leaders to address poverty in its entirety?  I think we’d all be surprised at the power of compassion, and the success of providing communities with both physical and spiritual solutions to the problem of poverty and hunger.

A comprehensive approach to solving the problem, one that provides physical and spiritual solutions can make a lasting difference in the lives of the poor, the hungry, their families, and their communities.

A challenge to you reading this post; share this message with friends, family, political parties. Lets us learn from our history and our failures.   Lets us rekindle that spirit of Ubuntu by remembering the Ubuntu philosophy which is a Nguni term meaning “humanity”. It is often translated as “I am, because we are,” or “humanity towards others”, but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.

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