As we approach Thanksgiving — a time of plenty and a season of feasting — I am reminded of those around the world struggling just to survive, especially hungry children and desperate mothers.
Imagine a nest full of baby birds with the mother bird perched on the edge of the nest, a couple of worms squirming in her beak. The babies have their faces turned up and little yellow beaks wide open. They are making tiny chirping sounds as if pleading — “Feed me, please!” The baby birds are totally dependent on the mother bird. If she was unable to bring them food, they would soon die of starvation.
Human babies and small children are a lot like baby birds. If their mothers cannot feed them — they get sick and die.
Every mother starts feeding her child at the moment of conception, continuing through pregnancy and then long after the child is born. In most parts of the world, the newborn feeds at her mother’s breast for several months, until the mother begins to feed the baby solid foods. A mother’s responsibility for feeding and care of the child continues through childhood and, often, through adolescence. If a mother is unable to feed her child, unless other family members or neighbors intervene, the child suffers from malnutrition, gets weak, contracts a hunger-related disease and may even starve to death.
The father’s most basic responsibility is to provide the mother and children with food, security and a place to live so that she can raise healthy children. If the father is unable or unwilling to provide, the children suffer, may develop poorly, lack energy, become susceptible to disease and in some cases, wither away and die.
We often also reach out to fathers by creating jobs and providing vocational training, tools and seed money that enables men to grow more food, earn more income or get a better job so they can support their families in a sustainable way.
But when the husband is not there or unable to provide, mothers depend on their extended family, church, neighbors or on an organization like Operation Blessing. Our primary responsibility and global focus at Operation Blessing is to help mothers.
We help by providing tools and training that enable mothers to grow their own food, get a job or start a micro business in order to earn an income. We also provide her with emergency relief in the form of food, safe water, health care and other resources necessary for her children to thrive, attend school and have a fighting chance to break the generational chains of poverty.
We are helping mothers all over the world, and you are an essential part of this “global support group;” without you, it doesn’t work.
The responsibility of folks like you who are willing to help but unable to intervene physically is to make donations that enable us to leverage your gift into larger blessings that we provide to poor families. The return on investment (ROI) for you is huge. In the case of our domestic Hunger Strike Force fleet of trucks and network of warehouses, we average delivering over $10 worth of food to poor families in the U.S. for every dollar donated. In OBI’s international medical outreach we are blessed with even higher ROI because very valuable medicines are donated to us, and our only expenses are shipping and distribution. Sometimes, in a single shipment, we spend as little as $5,000 to deliver and distribute as much as $5 million dollars’ worth of life-saving medicines.
In helping support Operation Blessing, you play a pivotal role in helping mothers feed and care for their children all over the world. Next time you see a photo of baby birds in a nest waiting for the mother bird to feed them, please think about the hungry children of the world all crying out to anyone who will listen saying, “Please, feed me!”
On this Thanksgiving Day, I will be thanking God for the many blessings in my own life and especially for guiding you to a cause like ours.