Outreach, Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide water, food, medicine and education to places in need all over the world, began as a simple mission.
Katheryn Hamilton told her husband, Floyd Hammer, that she would like to travel to Tanzania in Africa to build a hospital for the local villagers. Hammer came around to the idea and they set off in 2003. While in Tanzania, Hammer helped fix a windmill and taught construction techniques to the villagers; Hamilton worked in a children’s hospital. They returned to Africa in January of 2004. This time while working in the hospital Hamilton saw children dying of starvation.
“Floyd, we have to do something,” she told her husband. He replied, “We can’t just feed them. When we go back home they’re just going to die”.
Hammer felt obligated to help the villagers, so she bartered some of the local-made baskets for maize and took the rest back to America to sell for the villagers. Even this, she felt, wasn’t enough. She asked village leaders what they needed, and in all three villages they answered, “Water, food, medicine, education”.
It is because of this response that the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center now has an annual packaging event called the World Food Day Commemoration in conjunction with United Nations World Food Day. According to the event’s website, “World Food Day events call for united action to end hunger, emphasizing the power of working together to help insure food security for all – every day!” Hammer is the Co-Founder and President of Outreach, Inc., while his wife serves as the Co-Founder, Treasurer and Secretary.
Outreach designed the food and nutrients packed by the volunteers at Danforth. The packages are shipped to places, like Haiti and Tanzania. In 2010, at the inaugural packaging event, 2,000 volunteers packaged over 355,000 meals [see a video of that event by clicking here].
Tanzania is located in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, there were 925 million hungry people in the world, 239 million of which come from sub-Saharan Africa. Donald Danforth reported that 1 in 12 people worldwide are malnourished, including 160 million kids under the age of 5.
There are many different factors of hunger in the world, poverty being number one, as reported by worldhunger.org. Hunger Notes, a publication of World Hunger Publication Service, reports that those suffering from hunger will only get worse, due to the effect that hunger has on the brain. People suffering from hunger have poor health, low levels of energy, and some mental impairment, making it harder for them to work and learn.
Hannah Hightower, a Junior Board member of Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and a senior at Visitation Academy, volunteered countless hours last year to package the food. After the event was over, she spent the next few months raising money to go to Africa.
“I would hold a bake sale, I just ask for money for my birthday and for Christmas,” Hannah said. She eventually raised the money and went to Africa with the Hammers, where she worked in a hospital and fed children.
WhenSciJourner asked Hammer for her final words, she responded, “Go to your hometown, go to your church; encourage them to have a packaging day.” Damonte Johnson
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