By Matt Viner, SRA Volunteer
Today around 9000 children will die due to hunger-related causes.
This is a devastating statistic, but it’s 21,000 less than 1977 which is when The Hunger Project was launched, and it’s decreasing every year. The Hunger Project targets world hunger through empowerment and development initiatives all over the globe. The mission, simply, is to end world hunger. Hunger is intrinsically linked to poverty which, according to the World Bank and the UN, is possible to end by 2030; the end is in sight. To reach this goal will not be easy and will require support from business, government and all other organisations in between, most of all it’ll take everyone doing their bit. This week we’ll highlight a few ways you can get involved and start raising money to end poverty as soon as possible; the last 30 years have seen great improvements. Hopefully, in the next 15 years hunger will only be found in history books.
We’ve all been accused, and sometimes found guilty, of talking the talk but failing to walk the walk. The Grand Union Canal Challenge offers the chance to change all that, literally. This is a great summer fundraising activity: set along 100km of the Grand Union canal, starting in Little Venice and winding up to The Chilterns and with the option to walk, jog or run (or skip, walk backward, anything else you can come up with – crawl?) on the last weekend of June. Registration fees are low and fundraising targets are realistic and what better way to walk away a weekend? You’ll see a part of the country often missed and contribute to ending hunger. From my canal experiences you’ll also stumble across a number of lovely pubs for pit stops! With a month to go this is the perfect time to register and tell your friends/family/partner/pets etc.
If you’re more familiar with running around the kitchen than running around, then a Come Dine With Me Below The Line evening could be perfect for you. With a budget of just 33p per head you’re mission is to satisfy your guests and in return have them ‘pay’ what they think the meal deserves (by pay, I mean donate). This doesn’t have to be limited to you and three or four friends but could be a lunch for the entire office or even invite the office next door (do you even know them yet?!). Everything is more fun with competition and remember this is loosely based on the hit ‘drama’ Come Dine With Me, so get a few friends involved and take it in turns. Rather than scoring 1-10, how about donating £1-10? Or score the meals among you and donate based on the top score: 7.5 average = £75 divided between those that took part? More ideas and recipes are on the website, I’d suggest thinking further than porridge – although it might help for the next challenge, below.
You’re a frugal fellow, you don’t own a car, you barely take public transport even and you’re always armed with a water bottle and a coffee flask. You often boast about how you survive on so little, or find the best bargains, you recently changed to a cheaper supermarket and are often found in the local boozer telling everyone how much you manage to get for how little. In fact, you reckon you could live off less than most of your friends, easy! If this sounds like you (firstly, well done I am right there with you!) then this next challenge will really get you putting your money where your mouth is. By “money” I mean five of the Queen’s faces and by “mouth” I mean that’s all you’ve got for five days. This is the Live Below The Line challenge and Hugh Jackman (click the link) is inviting you to give it a shot – who could say no to that man? If five days is easy, perhaps try longer, get people to sponsor you for each week you succeed, or donate the money you would have spent on shopping, or do both.
Enough about meals, what about wheels? If you’re in love with your bike, or just like sitting down and getting places rather than all that running lark (terrible on the knees after all), The Hunger Project recommends you get on yer bike and cycle your way to being a big giver. The Ride 24 is from London to Newcastle in 24 hours and if you register to raise money for a charity partner (ie The Hunger Project) then your registration fees will be covered and you’ll receive plenty of support for fundraising. Of course you will need a bike roadworthy for this 300 mile trip and a little stamina too – although it’s not all in one go you’ll be pleased to hear. The journey will consist of seven stages of 40/45 miles with rest stops at the end of each leg for re-fuelling and any fixing that is required along the way; that old bike will be fine! If 300 miles sounds like a lot however its broken down, just think of it like going round the M25 a couple of times?well, almost three times?
These are just a few ideas to raise money for The Hunger Project and help to end hunger. If you have other ideas and want support organising an event, just get in touch with them directly. If you’ve got money to give then head over to the Just Giving page or if you’re strapped for cash but flush for time then how about volunteering? The number of people hungry across the world has declined by 209 million since the early nineties, despite a growing global population, and many countries have made significant advances in reducing or eliminating hunger. Child nutrition has improved and stunting has decreased by 40% in the last 25 years. There is an end-point on the horizon for hunger and by doing as much as we can and spreading the word about hunger and World Hunger Day we can get more people involved and continue the fight against hunger until it’s a thing of the past.