It is sort of an accident that the Heifer Project International is located in Arkansas, but those of us who live here know about the wonderful work the global organization does. Just about every school child has at one time or another taken a field trip to the farm where they have learned many things. What makes Heifer different than other hunger fighting organizations is the concept of giving pregnant stock animals whether it is cows, goats or rabbits, to those in need so they, in their turn, may pass the miracle of regeneration on to someone else and learn how to sustain the food chain.
This is pretty heady stuff, for well-fed American children, who can no more fathom the meaning of hunger than they can the impact of death. It is an abstract concept, and indeed for anyone who has never suffered a day of hunger in their life, hunger is really beyond comprehension.
What we can understand is helping others. All of us have felt unmet needs, and helping others is a universal concept. We can plunk down our few dollars and help to pay for a pregnant cow to be sent half way around the world to help a family in need.
I will never forget the stories my daughter told of spending the night out at the Heifer Project Farm. I can't remember quite how old she was, but I do know she was recently diagnosed with the chronic disease of diabetes so she must have been eleven or twelve. This special program would entail spending the night under some pretty unusual circumstances so that the children might come to understand the meaning of hunting and gathering for themselves.
They had the choice to cook rice over an open fire or kill and skin a rabbit. They could use barter or a number of other process to acquire their food, but my daughter was afraid that she would not have enough protein to eat if she didn't participate in the animal kill. She was one of the few children who did.
I think it was a life-changing experience for her. This unusual "adventure" taught her many things, none of which was about real hunger, but perhaps compassion for those in need. She would later in life choose to donate to the organization for gifts in others names rather than send an unneeded present to someone who already had all they needed.
The painting above by artist Ildikó Kalapács portrays two hands reaching out to each other. This image can be applied to this effort by Heifer Project and Blog Catalog to unite for hunger on April 29th.
No, if you have never gone a day without a meal, you cannot understand hunger, but if you are human you can be compassionate. In honor of Heifer International, we will donate half of our profit on your sale to Heifer International in your name, April 29th, 2009. This is Creative Consumerism™ at its best. --Ruth Mitchell
(c) 2008 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved