Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Don’t you know there are children starving in Africa?

If your family was anything like mine, you will have heard the following phrase repeatedly while you were growing up. “You haven’t finished your carrots – don’t you know there are children starving in Africa?” My (usually silent for fear of force feeding) response was always: “Carrots are rank, even starving people wouldn’t eat them…”

This question was inevitably followed up with the threat of sending our leftovers to those living in poverty. A noble concept, I agreed, but having seen what happened to composted food within just a few days, I was sure my gravy-soaked carrots would be even less appetising by the time they arrived.

I’m not being flippant, though. The team at Sorted is passionate about seeing an end to global hunger, which is why the latest campaign from Christian Aid really appeals to us. The charity’s new film and spoof campaign, Leftovers for Africa, captures the genuine need in a fun and engaging way by capitalising on the crazy childhood myth many of us were fed as youngsters.

The film follows eager entrepreneur Dan Stirling as he tries to encourage people to save their leftover food in charity envelopes to send to Africa in a bid to solve world hunger. Aiming to inform young people of how they can be part of the fight against world poverty, the film ends with a positive – and more practical – message from the Christian Aid Collective that tells viewers how they can really help.

Christian Aid’s church youth manager, Laura Bardwell, said: “With Leftovers for Africa we’re aiming to engage young people in a way that Christian Aid has never tried before. We want to strip back the often dense political language of campaigning and provide simple, practical actions that they can take.

“This year has so far seen huge progress made on raising the awareness of food security and hunger issues with the IF campaign. Young people have played a big role in this and it’s important to provide them with a means of continuing this work and putting this learning into action.

“Leftovers for Africa suggests that by posting half-eaten food into envelopes and sending it to hungry people, we can help end world hunger. This of course is an absurd idea so we’re using this false message to inform young people of things they can do; actions they can take which will make a difference.”

The Christian Aid Collective gives people the opportunity to learn and engage with issues of poverty and social justice. Through the collective, young Christians who are passionate about campaigning can come together to learn, discuss and engage with the fight against global poverty.

Be among the first to watch the film by clicking here.

And by the way, reusing leftover food isn’t a totally crazy idea. Doing so can help to save money, reduce consumption and cut down on waste – what’s not to love? If you’re not a big lover of bubble and squeak like me, here are some great ideas from the BBC's Good Food showing you how best to use up those extra veggies or spuds you didn’t quite get through on Sunday. Even manky old carrots can be 'recycled' and the money you save can be used to support Christian Aid or other like-minded charities in the fight against hunger and poverty.

There’s also an app for those of us whose eyes are bigger than our stomachs and can’t quite finish the 16-inch pizza that seemed like such a good idea at the time. The app, called LeftoverSwap, allows users to upload pictures of their leftover food and allows people who are nearby to come and get it if it takes their fancy. We’re not convinced this is quite such a great idea (plus we all know cold pizza is delicious for breakfast), but we appreciate the sentiment behind it. 

Finally, find out if there is a foodbank in your area by clicking here. Some churches and community groups are doing a great job in providing food and other practical items for those who are struggling to make ends meet. It’s worth remembering that there are people starving where you live, too.

Find out more about other global campaigns and life issues in the upcoming edition of Sorted magazine. 

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