# Educational Resources. Introduction Activity for Middle School Students

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1 SM Introduction Activity for Middle School Students

2 1 [Note to teacher: Use the following questions and comments to explain to your students how their involvement in the Helping Hands program will provide food now to hungry people in Burkina Faso while also helping the residents of that African country to eventually escape poverty. Invite your students, as a group, to answer the questions that follow.] - How many of you eat three meals a day? - Where do you get your food? A grocery store? Restaurant? School cafeteria? - Who paid for that food? Parents? Grandparents? Caregivers? - How much money do you think your parents spend on food at the grocery store for your family each week? (The average family of four in the United States spends up to \$278 a week for food, or roughly \$10 per person per day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion; see www. cnpp.usda.gov/usdafoodcost-home.htm) Based on what you have told me, it sounds like you are pretty food secure. That means you are getting enough to eat, you have a source of good food and you have caregivers who can afford to buy that food for you. You

3 2 probably don t go to bed hungry at night, and neither do your parents. Each day around the world, one out of every seven people goes to bed hungry, reports the World Food Program (see hunger/stats). Let s do the math: If our class were the whole world, how many of you would end up going to bed hungry tonight? Why do you think people are so poor in the world? The reasons are many: In 2005, 1.4 billion people (one in four) in the developing world were living on \$1.25 per day. This amount needs to cover all of their daily needs including food, clothing, etc. 1 People don t have jobs or their jobs don t pay enough for them to buy nutritious food. Farmers crops don t grow because of disasters like floods (too much rain) or drought (too little rain) so there isn t any food or it s very expensive. In some places, disasters happen every year. Children don t have parents, or their parents or caretakers are too sick to work. Violence in a community makes it difficult or dangerous to find food. Food people have isn t nutritious enough to keep them healthy. Our Catholic faith teaches us that it s our job to feed people when they can t get the food they need. We can t just let people starve, especially when we ourselves are so well fed. Our faith also calls us to work to end the poverty that causes people to be hungry. 1 World Bank. World Bank Updates Poverty Estimates for the Developing World. Retrieved April 3, 2012 from

4 3 Soon, our parish will have a chance to help feed poor men, women and children around the world, and help reduce poverty. At our CRS Helping Hands event on Month, Day, Year, we are going to fill bags of food to send to families in the African country Burkina Faso. [Note to teacher: If you have a map, point to Burkina Faso.] Most of the people in Burkina Faso are farmers who grow the food they eat. However, the country frequently experiences natural disasters, such as flooding and drought, and farmers often lose everything. Not much food is left to buy, and food that is available is very expensive. So, we are filling bags of dry grain and rice, which won t spoil when sent such a long distance. Our goal is to fill xx bags of food. That s going to take some work, and everyone can help do it. We have another way to help feed hungry people: We re raising money to send along with the food. That money will pay for programs to help people learn new skills, which will enable them to get better jobs or grow crops that are more resistant to natural disasters. That way, they will no longer need to rely on these bags of food! Instead, they will be able to buy their own food, plus pay for other necessities, such as schooling, housing and health care. It s also a part of our faith tradition to pray for people in need and to pray for the ability to help them. That doesn t mean we re telling God to fix the problem for us. Rather, we are asking God

5 4 for the grace and wisdom to help us address the causes of poverty, to be aware of suffering and to work to end it both in the short- and in the long term. [Note to teacher: Continue the lesson with additional activities to help your students understand the problem of global hunger such as the Food in the Balance game (in Educational resources). If you have limited time, you may decide to end your introduction with the following prayer. You can invite students to repeat each line after you, or you can provide printed copies to students so they can say the prayer in unison. God, our Creator, You have made a world Where there is enough food for all. But so many get more than we need, And even more go without any. Give us the grace to notice the need And to respond with food that ends hunger now, Bless our efforts to provide solutions that will end poverty. Amen

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