When I make plans to visit my parents, the first thing my mother does is asks what I want to eat. In the days leading up to my arrival, she buys all of the things she will need to make my favorite meals and treats. To my mother, food is a way to show love.
And you can show love, too, when you give food to a child living in poverty.
In poor communities like Ishwa Island, Rwanda, parents can’t afford to give their children their favorite meal. Most of the time, they struggle to put any food on the table at all. Locked in a cycle of poverty, parents like Jean Paul and Francoise have no choice but to watch as their children starve.
Starving for a future
Jean Paul and Francoise’s daughter, Marie, is 3 years old … but she looks even younger. The family can afford only one meal per day, and extreme malnutrition has stunted Marie’s growth
Like many children her age, Marie has likely changed her mind many times about what she wants to be when she grows up. Right now, she hopes to become a doctor. But on Ishwa Island, dreams don’t often come true.
Just over 400 families live on the small island, but there isn’t enough land to go around. What land there is has been overworked and produces little food. The beautiful lake that surrounds their village doesn’t offer much food, either; after years of overfishing, it contains only a few small fish.
What food is grown or caught is usually sold for prices that are far too high for Marie’s parents to afford.
It isn’t for lack of trying. Every day, Jean Paul and Francois go out into the village to find work. They help local farmers or carry goods throughout town. Unfortunately, the work they find is inconsistent, and the pay is so little that the family is forced to live on less than $1 a day.
Starvation is beginning to take a toll on Marie’s little body. A consistent lack of nutrients means she is ill often and constantly suffers hunger pains.
Without help, Marie will never be able to grow up to be a doctor and help sick people because she will be too sick herself. It’s doubtful she will finish school because she will be too malnourished to even leave home.
Or worse yet, she may not even live to see kindergarten because she could die from starvation.
As the days go by, Marie’s dream of becoming a doctor slips further and further away.
You can save a child’s life
Today, you can give a little girl like Marie the food she needs to stay alive. For just $40 — less than most families spend on a week of groceries — you can feed a child for an entire year.
The food you will help supply is rich in nutrients, helping the child heal from the damage done by malnutrition.
Because of your gift, a child will be healthy enough to run, play, go to school, and begin chasing her dreams.