Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries about the music industry. (I highly recommend Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, Quincy, and Searching for Sugar Man.)
A couple of weeks ago I watched Harry Chapin: When in Doubt, Do Something. Chapin, a singer and songwriter popular in the 1970s is probably best known for his songs Cat’s in the Cradle and Taxi.
What I found especially interesting about Chapin — and something I never knew before — was his commitment to ending hunger worldwide. And not just the ‘let’s throw money at the problem’ kind of commitment.
Chapin believed access to adequate, nutritious food was a human right. To this end, he successfully lobbied President Jimmy Carter to establish a Presidential Commission on World Hunger. He started the country’s first regional food bank in Long Island, New York. And in 1975, he co-founded WhyHunger, an organization that supports long-term, sustainable solutions to food inequality.
WhyHunger works with grassroots organizations in communities throughout the United States to get food and resources to people who need it most. WhyHunger’s Find Food database has more than 34,000 food access organizations that can be reached simply by dialing the WhyHunger national hunger hotline (1-800-5HUNGRY). In 2020, WhyHunger helped more than 1 million people obtain healthy food and access essential services in their communities.
Raising money for food banks and holding food drives will likely always be necessary. But as Chapin knew, it’s not the only way to help end hunger. Here are just a few creative approaches to food insecurity:
- The Love Fridge Chicago. Think Little Free Library but as a refrigerator filled with nutritious food and a goal of feeding the body and not just the soul. Each fridge is painted by a local artist to reflect the neighborhood where it’s located. Volunteers are needed to donate food, manage a fridge, and rescue food that can be used to stock the fridges.
- Second Servings is Houston’s only prepared and perishable food rescue organization. Since its founding in 2015, it’s rescued more than 8,000,000 pounds of food from businesses. Volunteers provide free, same-day delivery to soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other nonprofits in the Houston area. Learn how you can help.
- Zero Hunger Murals. With a goal of raising awareness and spurring action, Street Art for Mankind is creating a series of murals focused on food insecurity globally and food injustice specifically in the United States. The second of six murals is located in Houston. It was created by New York-based street artist Dragon76and is the largest mural in the city. Download the Behind the Wall app to hear the artist’s creative process and locate the mural. Then help spread the word by taking a selfie in front of the mural and sharing it with the tag @streetartmankind!
- Freerice is an online trivia game that’s helping to feed people around the world. Every question answered correctly raises 10 grains of rice for the World Food Programme (WFP). Freerice has raised more than 214 billion grains of rice for people in need. Test your knowledge and help feed the world.
Chapin died tragically at the age of 38 in a car accident. But before his death, Chapin raised more than $5 million for charity using his fame and connections. You don’t have to be a celebrity to make a difference. But you can use your connections, available through Connect, to find volunteer opportunities and get involved today.
Do you know of a unique approach to ending hunger? We want to hear about it.