Sharing Thanksgiving’s Bounty

Publication Date: 
November 09, 2015

Once again, it is time for our Annual Food Distribution Appeal. This is an important campaign that raises the funds to get critical food aid to children and families who need it most. This food -- generously donated by our international relief partners -- is already on the ground. Now, we must rely on the kindness of generous friends to help transport it from the shipping docks to their plates.

Even the smallest donation can deliver nutritious meals to those struggling with chronic hunger and malnutrition. And because the food is already donated, gifts to this special appeal are actually worth 20 times their value. This means that: 

  • $10 helps us transport $200 worth of food
  • $15 delivers $300 worth of food
  • $20 can distribute $400 worth of food

But the true human impact of this generosity is immeasurable.

The impact can be seen in places like Ebola-ravaged Monrovia, Liberia, where an already-struggling economy has only worsened since the crisis. Here, survivors rely on petty trade to earn incomes that are wholly inadequate to support themselves and their families. Children like 6-year-old Nyumah and his 12-year-old sister (who live in a one-room shack with their widowed mother and grandmother) regularly go hungry, which puts their health and futures at dire risk.

Sadly, according to the World Food Program, 3.1 million children die each year due to poor nutrition. What’s more, 66 million primary school-age children across the developing world go to school hungry. These statistics do not bode well for families like Nyumah’s who, without some sort of assistance, face little hope for a better future.

“Nyumah has just begun kindergarten, which can be his first important step on the pathway out of poverty,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “But chronically hungry children often have difficulty concentrating and learning. Some drop out of school altogether -- either because they’re not progressing or because their families need them to help bring in some money to survive. This perpetuates the cycle of poverty within the family itself, and for Liberia as a whole.”

Fortunately, thanks in part to funds raised by this Annual Food Distribution Appeal, Nyumah and his family now receive a monthly supply of fortified rice-meals -- enough to keep their bellies full and the children in school. These meals arrived in September in a 40-foot shipping container arranged by the Salesian Missions Office for International Programs, which was filled with 35 pallets, each containing 1,260 boxes of rice meals. For just over $2,000 -- what it cost to ship the donated meals -- close to 400 families in Nyumah’s impoverished community no longer worry where their next meal is coming from.

“The beneficiaries of these shipments are children, directly and indirectly,” says Father Nicola Ciarapica, director and economer of the Salesians in Monrovia. “We distribute the meals to the poorest families of the Matadi quarter in Monrovia, where 70% of the people live in shacks in a swamp environment.”

“We give additional preference to families caring for orphans, children affected by Ebola, to widowed mothers struggling to survive, and to the elderly,” he says. “The food is truly a gift from God for them.”

For every family like Nyumah’s, however, thousands more are praying for nourishment of their own -- in developing countries like Liberia, Swaziland, El Salvador, Myanmar and beyond. For just a few dollars in support of our Annual Food Distribution Appeal, you can help answer their prayers.

Please consider a special donation today. Remember, for every $1 you can give, we can provide $20 worth of food. What a remarkable gift to share in the spirit of Thanksgiving.

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