Help on the Way: New Buddhist Global Relief Programs in the U.S. and Africa (Part I)

Buddhist Global ReliefBuddhist Global Relief is pleased to announce new support for a number of programs to help combat the chronic problem of hunger in urban communities in the United States and childhood hunger in West Africa.

City Harvest Healthy Neighborhoods Program, New York City, NY

One of BGR’s newest partners, City Harvest, Inc. of New York City, responds to the urgent needs of thousands of hungry NYC residents. It meets the challenges of urban poverty with a remarkably creative range of services, such as the rescuing of 29 million pounds of food this past year that would otherwise have been discarded at restaurants and grocery stores, and delivering it free of charge to food pantries and soup kitchens. This year, BGR funds will support City Harvest’s Healthy Neighborhoods, an integrated series of interventions in some of the most food-insecure areas in the United States, including neighborhoods in the South Bronx and Bedford-Stuyvesant. We’ll support mobile “farmer’s markets” that will provide some 800,000 pounds of fresh, free produce directly to neighborhoods with more than 2,000 low-income households. Addressing the links between poor health and poor nutrition, these “mobile markets” are also used as hubs to provide additional services such as food stamp screenings and health education.

Glide Sustainable Nutrition Program, San Francisco, California

Located in the heart of San Francisco’s poverty-stricken Tenderloin district, the community group Glide has provided help to the homeless and hungry since 1969, when a dedicated group of community members gathered to offer a free potluck dinner to anyone in need of a meal. Since then, Glide has skillfully developed its Sustainable Nutrition Program that provides food and nutrition and wellness education. BGR is partnering with Glide this year to support this multi-pronged program. Our program funds will help provide three healthy meals each day to anyone in need, healthy meals and snacks for children in the local childcare center, workshops on family nutrition cooking, information on healthy food sources, youth classes in gardening, ecology and health, and visits to local farmers’ markets.

Helen Keller International Child Feeding Program, Côte d’Ivoire

Building on its past partnerships with Helen Keller International, one of the oldest international relief organizations devoted to reducing malnutrition, this year BGR is funding a program to support improved infant and young child feeding practices in Côte d’Ivoire. This country is one of the poorest in the world, ranking 149 out of 169 countries on the U.N. Human Development Index. Over 40% of the population lives in poverty, and more than a quarter of its population are children under the age of five. Poor infant and young child feeding practices is one of the leading causes of chronic malnutrition among children under two, and malnutrition during this critical developmental window can condemn these children to a lifetime of poor health. BGR’s program funds will be used to educate and train women-led community based volunteer care groups about optimal feeding practices, including the importance of breastfeeding of children under 6 months and providing micronutrient-rich complimentary foods to children under 2 years old. Education and training will be provided to more than 100 volunteers, who will then help hundreds of households with young children.

These programs will make a difference in the lives of so many poverty-stricken families, extending a compassionate helping hand to reach those both close at home in the United States and children in the poorest continent in the world.  You can extend your helping hand, too, at