6.2 million people in Somalia are in desperate need of food and water, that’s more than half of the country’s entire population.
The United Nations is calling the famine in East Africa the largest humanitarian crisis in recent history. But a collaboration of faith-based communities in Minnesota believes together we can save thousands of lives.
Jesus calls us to love our neighbor… so as Minnesotans, our neighbors are Somalis…
“Jesus calls us to love our neighbor. Minnesota has the largest Somali community in the U.S., so as Minnesotans, our neighbors are Somalis,” says Jay Perske, Director of Sarreen Ministries. “As Jesus says love them, what better opportunity is there than to tangibly help their relatives who are dying of starvation and malnourishment in Somalia?”
Perske is one of the Christian faith leaders spearheading a relief response, in partnership with other Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith communities and Feed My Starving Children. The collaboration called Love Somalia is aimed at being Feed My Starving Children’s largest mobile packing event ever.
…obeying His Great Commandment and Great Commission in response to the impending famine in Somalia.“I believe the Lord is giving us the opportunity to engage our Somali neighbors with the love and truth of Jesus, obeying His Great Commandment and Great Commission in response to the impending famine in Somalia,” said Mike Neterer, Director of SALT (Somali Adult Literacy Training).
The Love Somalia Feed My Starving Children packing event runs from June 2-5 at the River Centre in St. Paul. The Love Somalia group is recruiting church congregations, youth groups and community groups to sign-up for a 2-hour packing window.
“There’s a humanitarian crisis going on in Somalia right now, people need food, water and medicine. Please help us through Feed My Starving Children, so we can ship food this nutritious food as soon as possible to Somalia,” said Siad Ali, a Somali man on the Minneapolis School Board.
The goal is a lofty one, but the need is even greater. Love Somalia hopes to recruit 30,000 volunteers and raise $1.5 million dollars in order to pack 6 million meals within 4-days, to be sent directly over to Somalia to help those with the most desperate need.
There hasn’t been a single raindrop in some of the regions, so they haven’t been able to grow anything…
“There is lack of water, the livestock are dying, and people are dying in masses. There hasn’t been a single raindrop in some of the regions, so they haven’t been able to grow anything,” said Jamal Hashi, Executive Chef at Jambo Restaurant, who has family in Somalia.
Each one of the Feed My Starving Children meals costs less than a quarter; $80 feeds a child for an entire year.
“We need your donations, we need your time and your hands to come and be a part of this. We are standing arm in arms, brothers and sisters, coming together to pack these meals,” said Andy Carr, VP of Development and Marketing for Feed My Starving Children.
“Daily I am hearing of people starving and dying. When I look at Facebook, it’s completely horrifying; you can see the starvation on the people,” said Liban Adam, a Somali Minneapolis youth. “Many people including children, mothers, elders, everyone else in the region, are dying of starvation and hunger.”
“We are asking you guys to join us, to come down and do this food mobilizing pack, to make a difference today here in Minnesota,” said Adam.
…share a ride, pack together for two hours, perhaps share a meal, and strengthen our relationships…For Perske, this is an opportunity for Christians, Jews and Muslims to live out their faith in a unifying way.
“I’ve been telling the Imams we are partnering with, if we don’t take care of those in need and do something about this famine, and we call ourselves a Muslim or a Christian, what good is our faith?” said Perske.
“This is the most tangible Matthew 25 situation in my lifetime. The Church is both the sheep and the goats. Here, we have an opportunity to be sheep and to come alongside people that are in desperate need of food and water, and help take care of a need,” said Perske.
Christians are encouraged to bring a Somali friend and pack next to your Somali brothers and sisters. Or organizers encourage Christians to come and meet a new Somali friend.
“I am asking my friends and family to invite their Jewish and Somali friends to share a ride, pack together for two hours, perhaps share a meal, and strengthen our relationships as we share the experience,” said Neterer.