Feeding the Hungry: The FoG Rice Project
Those with the good fortune to have experienced it first-hand know that the joy of buying or receiving things for oneself is nothing when compared to the overwhelming joy that fills your heart when giving to those who truly need your help. It puts your own life in perspective, and you take a second to look at all the things you took so much for granted that you no longer even notice it.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Services (FAO) statistics for 2010 show that a total of 925 million people around the world suffer from hunger and 578 of them (nearly two thirds) are from the Asia Pacific region. The World Hunger Education Service cites ‘the significant increase of food prices in the last several years’ as one of three reasons for the sharp increase in the number of undernourished people in recent years. Today, 1 in 7 people around the world go hungry. For those lucky enough to have three square meals a day, this is something that that should always be in their mind as they sit down to eat. This is what has inspires the FoG’s Rice Project.
The Foundation’s Founder and Chief Trustee Mr. Kushil Gunasekera was meeting with Ms. Sharada de Mel from the Gift to Asia Foundation, Sri Lanka and conversation led to various humanitarian initiatives undertaken around the world when Ms de Mel mentioned a project from an Indian State which encouraged people to put aside one fistful of rice every time they prepared a meal. At the end of the month the rice that was collected was donated to someone in need.
Always looking for new ways to get involved and uplift the lives of those facing more hardships than himself, Kushil immediately recognised venture he felt that anyone could throw their heart in to. It was project that was small enough to engage in with great love and it fell in line with the Foundation’s key ethos to pass on your own good fortune to others in need, and to always enjoy the your own privileges with an eye to bring it to others around you. The act of putting aside a fistful of rice as you prepare your own meal will remind you of how lucky you are, and additionally, it will be a daily reminder of your own good deed which will help you attain a more generous and caring mind set.
Kushil’s plan was initiate the venture by introducing it to those at the Foundation of Goodness, and the rice that would be collected would be distributed every month to different recipients facing financial difficulties, who found it hard to put food on their table. Two months ago, the staff at FoG’s head office in Colombo and at the MCC Centre of Excellence in Seenigama and other projects began putting aside a share of rice as they went about preparing their meals. At the beginning of this month, Kushil presented everyone with a special bucket where the rice could be deposited every day. Labelled ‘My Daily Rice Contribution to the Hungry’ the bucket is also decorated with inspirational quotes, including one by the Buddha which says, “If you know what I know about generosity you will even gift your last meal”.
At the end of the first month, the Colombo Office had collected 25 kilograms of rice and the Seenigama Centre had amassed 32 kilos. The rice was distributed to families who needed help within proximity to the two locations. In Colombo, Sunethra Malkanthi from Piliyandala and Mrs. Kumudu Priyanthika from Rathmalana were the happy beneficiaries. From the two, Mrs. Malkanthi was previously known to the Foundation, having visited us on a door to door sales route attempting to sell incense and other small items in order to provide for her four young children.
In Seenigama the rice was distributed to three groups, including mothers with young children, like Mrs. G. G. Padrika Nelum from Boosa who visited the Seenigama Centre of Excellence to collect her 10 kg of rice and the frail elderly who found it hard to make ends meet.
"In this life we cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love." - Mother Teresa
It is with great joy that that we have now completed a second month of the rice project, and look forward to distributing the rice amongst even more of the hungry. It is with great optimism that we proceed with this venture, something small that anyone can do, which will eventually make a big difference in someone’s life. One in seven people go hungry in this world, if we can alleviate the hunger of even one of those people, then we have done something worthwhile with our month.