January 17, 2013

Fight against child hunger may bring Ronaldo to city


TNN Jan 4, 2013, 01.57AM IST KOLKATA: In September, Messi pulled the strings in his arsenal and hypnotized the football-crazy city with his sublime skills. Last month, soccer lovers cheered their heart out when Rene Higuita gifted them his “scorpion kick” against Brazil Masters. And now, there is a possibility that the city may witness Christiano Ronaldo’s solo run piercing the opponent’s defence line.

Ronaldo fans have started nurturing the dream after the Portugal soccer star became the global ambassador of Save the Children, an organization that fights for the rights of impoverished children.

“The Real Madrid star is kicking off 2013 as Save the Children’s new artist ambassador. In his new role, Ronaldo will fight child hunger and obesity and promote physical activity and healthy eating,” Save the Children CEO Thomas Chandy said.

“When I learned that one in seven kids around the world goes to bed hungry every night, I jumped at the chance to get involved,” Ronaldo said in a statement issued by the NGO. “It is an honour to join Save the Children. I want to work with them to make sure that fewer parents struggle with putting the right kinds of food on the table. I also want to encourage kids to go out there, get active and get fit. As a dad, I know it is important to give my two-year-old son a healthy life, right from the start, and I want to give all kids that same chance,” said Ronaldo.

Sub-Saharan Africa apart, India should be right up there as a priority for Ronaldo given that nearly 1.69 million children under-five die in the country every year. Of these deaths, more than half take place in the first month of a child’s life or the neo-natal period. Within the neo-natal period, asphyxia (19%), infections (29%) and preterm births (24%) are the major causes of death. Overall, around 11% under-five deaths are caused by diarrhoea and 11% by pneumonia. More than half of infant deaths (54%) take place in the first week of birth. Malnutrition is a major underlying cause of most of the above mentioned reasons and contributes to a third of these deaths.

If Ronaldo does visit India and agrees to play a match to raise funds for the NGO, Kolkata will be a major contender to host the match.

Ronaldo will follow in the footsteps of Save the Children artist ambassadors Jennifer Connelly and Julianne Moore. Shabana Azmi, Parineeti Chopra and Kunal Kapoor are among Save the Children’s champions from India.

“We are delighted to have such an incredible athlete working with us. Many children around the globe look up to Ronaldo as a role model for healthy living and keeping fit,” said Chandy. “Every day a child goes without eating healthy foods, it puts the brakes on his growth and development. We want to reach these children before the hunger signs show up and before they get into the habit of making unhealthy choices.”

Last year, Save the Children reached more than 85 million children in nearly 120 countries with programmes that help them survive and reach their potential. For example, to stem child hunger, Save the Children helps families provide for their children’s basic nutritional needs through better access to healthy food, improved farming practices and opportunities to build their financial security. Save the Children also increases children’s access to physical activity, nutrition education and healthy foods to address the childhood obesity crisis.

In India, Save the Children is already working in 14 states, benefiting newborns, children and pregnant women. Half of India’s children under five are malnourished, placing the nation amongst the bottom three countries, as reported by Save the Children’s Nutrition Barometer. We are also active in responding to all major emergencies in India focussing on health, education, nutrition and protection for children under five and pregnant mothers.

January 12, 2013

“Sesame Street” adds child Muppet to deal with poverty, hunger issues

Luis discusses with Elmo and Lily the widespread issue of hunger in the United States as part of the “Sesame Street” television special on hunger.

(CBS) Meet Lily, the newest addition to the “Sesame Street” team.

The 7-year-old child Muppet will be introduced and featured during a special primetime episode titled “Growing Hope Against Hunger,” which is scheduled to air on Oct. 9.

Pictures: Sunny days on “Sesame Street”

The special will feature celebrity guests Brad Paisley and his wife, Kimberly Williams Paisley, as well as the regular crew of “Sesame Street” residents, including Elmo, Bert and Grover. “Sesame Street” hopes that the episode will help address issues about poverty and hunger and open up a discussion. The show was funded in part by Walmart, which  donated a $1.5 million grant. The retail chain will be holding screenings in select communities.

Elmo helps his new friend Lily volunteer at the food drive to collect food for those in need as part of “Sesame Street’s” primetime television special entitled “Growing Hope Against Hunger.” Copyright 2011 Sesame Workshop

“We thought long and hard about how do we really represent this from a child’s point of view?” Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop’s senior vice president for outreach and educational practices, told the New York Times. Sesame Workshop is the non-profit educational organization behind “Sesame Street” and other related projects.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 46.2 million Americans lived in poverty last year, which is approximately 15.1 percent of the population. It was the highest level in 52 years.

“We felt it was best to have this new Muppet take this on in a positive way and a healthy way,” she added.

Betancourt said that the team understands it’s hard to talk about such serious issues, and this is one way to address the topic while keeping a hopeful message.

During the special, the vibrantly colored Muppet will visit a community garden and will obtain food and volunteer at a “food pantry.” Lily will also talk about her family’s hunger issues with the rest of the cast.

January 10, 2013

Hunger a growing problem for some New Yorkers

A Food Bank survey shows that hunger dropped overall, but increased for those  earning less than $50,000 annually.

The overall number of New York City residents who had difficulty affording  food dropped for the fourth consecutive year in 2012. However, the problem  increased for those earning less than $50,000 and was especially severe for very  low income families with children, according to a new report by Food Bank for New  York City.

The report found that 32% of city residents had problems buying food, down  from 35% in 2011 and 48% during the height of the recession. However, 53% of New  Yorkers with incomes of less than $25,000 reported having problems buying food  last year—up from 50% in 2011. The situation is more dire with those in that  income bracket who have children. A whopping 70% of New Yorkers with children  earning less than $25,000 said they had a problem buying food. That’s up from  54% in 2011 and marks the largest increase for any demographic since the Food  Bank started conducting the survey in 2003.

Those reporting problems buying food reported buying less of it, purchasing  less nutritious items and skipping meals as ways to stretch their budgets,  according to the report, NYC Hunger Experience 2012: One City, Two  Realities.

Despite such strategies, more than one in five households with children said  they had been unable to buy food at some point because they had to pay for rent.  One in five said they couldn’t pay for food because they had to pay for  utilities. The cost of food has risen 16% since the recession, according to  Margarette Purvis, president and CEO of the Food Bank.

“As the city continues to recover from the Great Recession and the effect of  Hurricane Sandy, it’s clear that recovery remains far from the lives of  low-income New Yorkers, who are forced to make heart breaking sacrifices, like  eating less food and less nutritious food just to keep a roof over their heads,”  said Ms. Purvis. “This is not a problem of a borough or a neighborhood. It is a  problem for our city.”

The phone survey, which was conducted by the Marist College Institute for  Public Opinion was conducted in October, a month before Sandy. However,  executives that run food programs say Sandy has exacerbated an already difficult  situation.

For example, the Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger was providing about 11,000  meals per month before Sandy, a number that has ballooned to 21,000, according  to the organization’s executive director Melony Samuels. Likewise, Daniel Reyes,  director of programs at the Yorkville Common Pantry, said that about 600 to 650  families come to pick up food at the organization on Saturday, 100 more than  before the storm. The Saturday pantry is open to accommodate working  families.

“We’ve seen a real spike,” said Mr. Reyes. “Working families are having a  hard time making ends meet.”

January 9, 2013

David Beckham Fights Child Hunger with UNICEF

David Beckham arrives at Downing Street in London to visit Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday (July 26).

The 37-year-old soccer star presented the PM with a letter co-signed by other celebrities, urging him to take action on a silent crisis, child hunger.

“Right now, there are 335,000 children suffering from severe malnutrition in West Africa,” David shared. “It shouldn’t be like this. And, together, we can make a change.”

September 2, 2012

Report: Every third child in Israel lives below poverty line

Annual report finds a fifth of Israeli children receive assistance from the welfare authorities.
Children of Ethiopian immigrants, Petah Tikva education dept  - Alon Ron - Sept 5 2011

Children of Ethiopian immigrants sitting outside the Petah Tikva education department, September 5, 2011. Photo by Alon Ron

The Israeli Council for the Welfare of the Child published its annual report on Wednesday, revealing that a fifth of Israeli children have received assistance from the welfare authorities.

The reports points to a decline in the number of children living in poverty – 889,500 out of a population of 2,519,900 children in Israel, yet finds that every third child lives under the poverty line.

In January 2011, the welfare services assisted 430,863 children at risk – 17 percent of children in Israel. This marks an increase of 48 percent since 2001.

The annual statistical report, “Children in Israel,” has been published for the past 20 years. The head of the Israeli Council for the Welfare of the Child, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, presented the report to President Shimon Peres on Wednesday.

The report says that the number of schoolchildren in Israel has passed the 2 million mark during the last school year. 82.8 percent of youth between the ages of 15 and 18 inform themselves about the news from the Internet, 7.2 percent from television and 3.6 percent from newspaper.

Read this article in Hebrew: “כחמישית מילדי ישראל מוגדרים “בסיכון”

September 2, 2012

Israel confronts world hunger with a solar powered deser toasis

By Karin Kloosterman – The best of Israel’s agri-tech and clean-tech innovation is combined in a new oasis system that could help feed millions of desert-dwellers.

These crops are being grown with solar-energy desalinated water.

These crops are being grown with solar-energy desalinated water.

Growing the most crop per drop of water is an Israeli specialty. With little rain and a hot desert sun as unforgiving as the Sahara, Israel’s high-tech researchers and farmers have combined their expertise to grow a cornucopia of salt-tolerant crops in dry desert conditions. People from hungry countries far and wide come to learn from Israel’s expertise.

Now, a new research project by two desert research institutes has strung several Israeli agriculture and clean-tech specialties together to help alleviate world hunger and push back the desert through an artificial desert oasis using low-cost desalination technology that runs on solar power.

A small model is up and running in the desert north of the Dead Sea, while the researchers aim to build a larger testing and training facility for agronomists from across Israel and other countries.

This new desert oasis, engineered by researchers from Ben-Gurion University and the Central and Northern Arava Research and Development center, follows decades of Israeli accomplishments in plant genetics married with desalination and solar energy advances.

No mirage

Deserts get little or no rainfall, but often there are aquifers deep below the surface that may hold an abundance of water. The problem is getting the salt out of this water so it can be useful for farmers to grow cash crops. The new oasis solves the problem with an ecosystem that produces a variety of freshwater and salt-hardy crops that feed on saline wastewater from the desalination process. It’s in tune with Mother Earth and affordable for some of the poorest farmers subsisting on areas of encroaching desert.

From the outset, the main idea was to create a solution to feed the world’s hungry, says Rami Messalem from Ben-Gurion University’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research. A Jewish philanthropist from Switzerland gave the researchers the fuel to develop the sustainable system, which hinges on a low-energy desalination nano-filter designed and engineered at Messalem’s lab.

Ben-Gurion University’s Rami Messalem has been researching desalination membranes since the 1960s.
Ben-Gurion University’s Rami Messalem has been researching desalination membranes since the 1960s.

With experience in membrane technology since the 1960s, Messalem says this filter is unique because it runs on about a quarter of the power that traditional desalination units require. This means that fewer expensive solar panels are needed to support it off-grid, although the oasis can also run on electricity from the grid.

The entire system was designed with cash-strapped countries in mind.

“There is no use to try and compete with huge companies who make the best membrane which can do the right job. It’s very easy to make these kinds of filters and put them out into the market,” Messalem tells ISRAEL21c. “What we are using here has been designed very cleverly, and we’ve accomplished this with some tricks.”

He notes, “One of the biggest challenges when using desalination technologies is what to do with the waste concentrate — the brine. We found that there are some plants like the red beet, which is a halophyte, a plant that likes salty water.”

Brackish water cannot be sent back down into the soil because it pollutes the groundwater below. Red beets are one solution for soaking it up above ground, and another is using the concentrate to raise ornamental fish in the desert, a business already proven successful in Israel.

Test oasis up and running

The desalination filter in the new oasis system removes the undesirable salts while leaving in the minerals to sustain plant life. In fact, the filters are engineered in such a way, explains Messalem, that farmer could use less fertilizer for their crops — a bonus for the environment, too.

The solar-powered model oasis, located on a quarter of an acre near the Dead Sea, is successfully sustaining four different crops. Each system would be custom-made to maximize each customer’s particular crop needs and energy availability.

This is good news for regions in the Middle East and Africa where micro-farmers are losing ground to desertification.

A 1.25-acre area has been leased to develop into an operational demonstration site and field school where Israel’s thousands of agricultural visitors could come to learn the new oasis method every year. Learning directly from the people who built it could be a life-changing experience for those looking to farm for their future, such as the Nigerian rebels who come to Israel to learn how to trade their weapons for plows.

September 2, 2012

Hunger in Israel

Did you know that… One in three children go to bed each night hungry (33.2%). Over 700,000 children I Israel live under the poverty line,  the largest number in the western world. Since 1998, the number of poor children in Israel increased in 50%. The number of poor people living in Israel increased in 107,000 in 2004, and is now 1,534,000, as opposed to 1,300,000 in 2002. 394,000 families live under the poverty line, 20.4% of all the families in Israel. Thousands who survived the Holocaust are in great need of assistance…and food. Families are bring uprooted from their homes, loss of jobs and fear daily for their lives.

Source: http://www.loveofisrael.com/compassion.htm

September 1, 2012

Angelina Jolie starves self for hungry kids

Angelina Jolie has been starving herself to make a statement that poor kids around the world are not getting food to eat.
According to a source, the 36-year-old UN goodwill ambassador, who travels the globe meeting the poor, puts herself on fasts to make statements for the children she visits.

‘She says, ‘If they can’t eat, I can’t eat,” Us Magazine quoted the source as saying.

‘The busy mother of six does different cleanses from around the world. It’s very dramatic, but that’s how she gets.’

The Salt star, who is currently promoting her directorial debut, In the Land of
Blood and Honey has her partner Brad Pitt worrying about her health, a second
insider revealed.

‘He’s worried about her and has made her see a zillion doctors, but they keep telling her she’s fine,’ the source added.

August 12, 2012

Feeding the Hungry Children Campaign Kicks Off in Hollywood, CA With Monique Coleman, ConAgra Foods, and America’s 2nd Harvest

One out of every six American children. That’s twelve million American children. Twelve million American children that are at risk for hunger. School is starting and kids need to be focused and they can’t focus without food. This damage can last forever. Fortunately, people are fighting child hunger and they need your help.

Conagra Foods has hooked up with America’s Second Harvest to fight childhood hunger. Today, August 5th, Monique Coleman, the actress from High School Musical and Dancing With The Stars, met with kids to kick off the ConAgra Foods Foundation “Full Kids Full Potential” Campaign at the Courtyard at Hollywood and Highwood Complex in Hollywood, California. The cause is very important to Monique and all the kids seemed happy to see her. She was definitely a good choice to represent the campaign. Monique said, “It’s something I have passion for … it’s something we can all do.”

At this event, kids around Hollywood including the kids from the All People’s Christian’s Center came to fill shopping bags with donated food. All the kids that helped out got a free lunch bag that Monique designed herself. The turnout was great and there were many happy kids. There were pictures taken and DVDs autographed, but most importantly kids learned how to help others.

Here’s what some kids had to say about the event:

Paxton Malone (Pictured on the left) said, “I liked meeting her [Monique] and it was my first time. I liked packing the bag.”

Her friend Kessa Thurman said, “She’s [Monique] nice and I like High School Musical and I like her hair cut. I like doing it [packing the bags] because it was fun and I liked being nice.”

But how can you support Monique, ConAgra Foods, and America’s Second Harvest’s campaign to “Nourish today, flourish tomorrow?”

For one, buy one of these ConAgra brands—Chef Boyardee, Snack Pack, Orville Redenbacher’s, Manwich or Peter Pan. Then, go here and request one of Monique’s lunch bag. The bag is free (except for shipping and handling) and for every lunch bag requested, ConAgra Foods will donate $1.00 to America’s Second Harvest, the nation’s food bank. One dollar can give 20 pounds of food. The maximum donation would be $50,000.

Information on other ways to help are available at Nourish Kids Today.

It’s a great thing that Monique and company is doing. A snack pack is what — I’m guessing — three bucks and everyone loves pudding. And look at the cool lunch bag you’d receive (pictured). It’s not often that doing something good is so easy


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