Feeding Children Secures our Future
A lack of food makes children extremely vulnerable and prone to suffering.
I love children! I love their eagerness to know things. I love their curiosity. I love their innocence when answering questions or making observations.
Children are much more daring than adults. They like to try new things and they do not always see the dangers that certain situations bring. They have energy. They run and jump and hop and show their excitement and happiness. And they want you to do the same.
Although I cannot keep up with their energies, I always enjoy being around them. Children do not ask much from the world. They do not require much. They need their basic needs of love, food, clothing and shelter fulfilled. Given these things, they will blossom beyond measure.
Yet, 3,3 million children in South Africa live in households where they go hungry.
Nutrition is particularly important for children because they are still growing and developing. A lack of nutritious food with all the essential micronutrients can result in a child’s normal development being impaired, resulting in ill health, disability, inability to benefit from educational opportunities, or even death.
A lack of food makes children extremely vulnerable and prone to suffering. Jesus says that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to these children.
Parents and families have the primary duty to make sure that their children have food. The government has a duty to support parents in feeding their children if they are unable to do so. And we, as people of faith, also have a duty to protect and look after the children.
One day, this is what we will have to account for. The one test of our faith would be for us to answer how the vulnerable fared while we were alive.
There are many organisations, inside and outside the Church, which care for vulnerable children. These organisations depend on our support. They depend on our awareness and concern towards children. In supporting these organisations we show our care towards the vulnerable child and we are putting our faith into action.
The St Kizito’s Children’s Programme has an outreach to vulnerable children. If you have an organisation like that in your parish, either join it or make a donation towards its work.
Many St Vincent De Paul organisations also reach out to vulnerable children; join the SVP or make a donation towards their work.
If no such organisation exists in your parish, then look around in your neighbourhood for other organisations, go to the nearest farm where children are also suffering from a lack of food, read in your local newspaper and follow up on stories of vulnerable children where you can get involved. Or, start an outreach to vulnerable children in your parish!
Our future depends on the children of our country. How we look after our children today will be reflected in what our society will look like in future.
I look forward to a future where children have all their basic needs met; a future where children show an eagerness to know things, where they are open and curious, where they have energy and want to learn. A future where children run and hop and skip and show their excitement because of happy lives and full tummies.