I have had writer’s block for the past two Thursdays. Really, really bad writer’s block.  Tonight, I finally figured out why. I’ve been taking in a lot of articles, blogs, videos, etc. for the past couple of weeks that have all slightly informed me while mostly resulting in my asking more questions. So at the moment, I feel about the furthest thing from an expert on just about any of the subjects that I have been pondering. None the less, I think they are fascinating. So, should you be interested, I am inviting you to join in my pondering. Below, I have provided passages from some of the most interesting pieces I have run across in the past few weeks. They are part of a larger story, so please feel free to click through in order to read or watch them in their full context. From portraits of US hunger to water conservation and African entrepreneurship, here they are:

(1)  A two part series from NPR highlighting a family in Pennsylvania’s struggle to make ends meet on the table. http://n.pr/dailyfighttofindfood

“For example, the Williamsons have a garden behind their apartment in downtown Carlisle. They grow lots of healthy food — zucchini, peppers and Brussels sprouts. But when Alex was thirsty after a walk, his mother gave him a plastic water bottle filled with orange soda.

Elaine Livas, who runs Project SHARE, the local food pantry, says she sees it all time.

‘A gallon of milk is $3-something. A bottle of orange soda is 89 cents,’ she says. ‘Do the math.’

Livas says low-income families might know milk is better for their kids, but when it comes to filling a hungry stomach, a cheaper high-calorie option can look pretty good.”

(2)  New York City gets smart with their water. http://bit.ly/smartwatertracking

“The smart water industry isn’t nearly as developed as the smart energy sector, where a slew of companies are scrambling to grab a piece of the market. Still, as anyone who has been stuck in an area without fresh water can tell you, water use is just as important as energy consumption. And eventually, startups and established companies alike will start paying attention.”

(3)  From a blog I stumbled across thanks to a colleague – thoughts on Africa, entrepreneurship and questions of how to better help our brothers and sisters abroad. http://bit.ly/entrepreneurshipinethiopia

“Outside of direct relief aid and some of the amazing health and education research and development, much (perhaps most) of what is done in the developing world through non-profits and NGO’s, could actually be accomplished through a business model, even if it would be harder to raise investment funding. Instead, someone begins selling tax subsidized and donor subsidized water pumps in Africa, because it is easier to raise the funding through tax deductible donations rather than through the rigors of proving out the business model for investment dollars, with the great result of increased deployment of inexpensive water moving technology in the developing world to aid rural farmers, but the negative results of (1) killing the market for future indigenous entrepreneurs attempting to sell water pumps at a profit and (2) locking a potentially valuable distribution channel in a non-profit, making it difficult for other for-profits to use.”

(4)  One billion people are obese or overweight and one billion people are hungry – so let’s look into the global food system. http://bit.ly/globalfoodsystem

I am a firm believer in ELCA World Hunger’s work both in the US and abroad. I also am a firm believer in learning from people in all sorts of organizations so that I can bring back a well-rounded understanding of hunger and poverty. I found this TED talk from Ellen Gustafson, co-creater of the “FEED bag” to be both informative and inspiring.

I hope you’ve found at least one of these stories interesting enough to keep reading beyond this post. Please feel free to comment below and share your opinions on the articles. Again, they are just for provoking your thoughts and interests (and are not meant to convey ELCA World Hunger policy on particular issues.) Thanks for reading, and for caring about issues of hunger and poverty.

Lana Lile