Niger: Food for Their Bellies is Food for Our Souls

The landlocked, impoverished west African nation of Niger has probably never had so much press: Tales of “yellow cake” uranium have been supplanted in the headlines by heart-wrenching pictures of poor, starving children and adults.

Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk, from a famine caused by drought, locusts, and unsustainable agricultural practices, aggravated by local greed — “free market” solutions are not panaceas to poverty — as well as global indifference.

But we can make a difference. We can save the lives of others — most of them younger, poorer, and blacker than most of us, but no less human than any of us.

According to MSNBC, here are some of the legitimate famine relief organizations helping out in Niger…

* Unicef
* Save the Children
* Concern Worldwide
* Action Against Hunger (212) 967-7800
* Doctors Without Borders (212) 679-6800
* Oxfam America (800)-77-Oxfam
* U.S. Fund for UNICEF (800)-4-UNICEF
* World Food Program

In addition, faith-based organizations are rising to the occasion and are working together to help those in need (religion at its best, in my opinion), including…

* Catholic Relief Services
* American Jewish World Service
* Muslim Hands
* Lutheran World Relief

Please give whatever you can afford. Don’t let the “fifteen minutes of fame” that the recent pictures on the news have finally brought to these poor, suffering people recede into our all-too-short attention spans’ collective memory. Keep the story alive. Keep the children alive.

Doug Drenkow

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