Casey Thompson, children’s director at Jefferson Baptist, makes it a point to involve the children in giving to the World Hunger Relief Fund.
BATON ROUGE— The children’s director at Jefferson Baptist Church, Casey
Thomas, makes it a point to involve the children in giving to the World
Hunger Relief Fund.
“As soon World Hunger Day starts rolling around, we pass out our rice bowls, about a month before,” she said.
To begin with, she reads the kids the very short story called “If the
World Were a Village of 100,” by David Smith, which among other things,
illustrates the huge economic and racial disparities that exist among
the nations and peoples of the world.
On the Wednesday night before collecting the rice bowls, Thomas engages
the children in an activity called the World Feast.
Using the story, and ratios indicated in the story, she divides the
children by continent or by country, then distributes food to
Children who represent the U.S. get steak and cola, while kids from
Asia get food that is appropriate for that culture, and so on.
Not only does she give out appropriate types of food, she also gives
out the appropriate amounts. Some of the children who represent
the poorest countries don’t get any food at all. Some get very
little food, while others get much more than they need.
“I’m trying to give the kids a visual representation of how others in
the world are less fortunate than they are,” Thomas said. “Usually the
kids start off really confused. Many comment on how unfair the
situation is, as it applies to them,” she said.
When the children begin understanding their own situation, then Thomas
equates their situation with other kids around the world who really
don’t have food.
Directly after the feast, she offers the children a project, usually
tied in with the World Hunger Relief Fund, that will allow them to help
remedy the problem.
But the children aren’t the only ones giving. Adults, too, particpate.
“We give people an opportunity to give every week to the fund with
specialized envelopes,” said Tommy French, pastor at Jefferson Baptist
for the entire 48 years that the church has been in
In addition, a month in advance, the church sends a rice bowl (a brown
bowl with a white top and a slot for money, available from the LBC)
home with members to keep on their dining room tables, or wherever they
eat, to encourage everyone in the household to remember those who are
hungry by donating spare change.
“The rice bowls bring in quite a bit of money,” French said.
“They average about $15 a bowl. This year we gave out about 500
They’ve participated in the World Hunger Relief Fund every year since
before 1995. “Except for last year,” French said. Last
year, the church opted out of the rice bowls and instead fed 16,000
families displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Jefferson Baptist is one of about 400 churches engaged in the campaign
to raise money for World Hunger. Perhaps the other 1,200 don’t know of
More than one billion people in this world live on less than one dollar
a day. That covers food, clothing, housing, transportation,
everything. Consider further that according to some, the average
10-year-old in North America makes about one dollar a day in allowance
over and above food, clothing, housing, transportation, and more,
provided by mom and dad, according to information on www.kidsmoney.org.
Almost eight million people in this world are not able to secure enough
calories per day to lead active and healthy lives, despite the fact
that the world produces enough food to supply every person with more
than 2,700 per day, according to information supplied by the Food and
Agriculture Organization 2002.
Louisiana, one of the most impoverished states in the union, has close
to one million residents who live below poverty level, an estimate that
does not take into account the impact of last year’s
The numbers are mind-boggling.
Here are more to ponder: “Last year (LBC Care and Hope Ministries
across the state) fed over 119,000 families, distributing 1.2 million
pounds of food through volunteer ministries staffed by 1,017
volunteers,” said John Hebert, a regional missions strategist at LBC in
charge of the World Hunger promotion. “This work led to 1,153
professions of faith in our state.”
One hundred percent of the Southern Baptist Convention’s World Hunger
offering, as well as any monies donated throughout the year to the
World Hunger Fund, goes to meet the needs of hungry people in
Louisiana, across the nation and around the world—with none retained
for administrative costs.
“Our funds go to buy food that is distributed free to impoverished
people in Louisiana through our Care and Hope Ministries across the
state,” Hebert said.
“The (state) total for last year was $191, 806,” he said, down
considerably from 2004, largely due to the push for Katrina
relief. “The average gift per church was $837.58. This year
we have already had gifts from 129 churches for a total received of
$89,680. This figure is about $2,000 behind last year at this time.”