John’s Big Heart


Three Bags Full has been a part of the effort to eliminate hunger in our country. It’s a massive undertaking, but one that owner of Three Bags Full Cafe, John takes personally. Growing up in a home without a father, his mother was sole provider. He and his two other siblings were aware they didn’t eat like other kids, but never acknowledged it out loud.

It was just something they didn’t speak of, since on some level, even as little ones they realized Mom was working hard to give them what she could. Oatmeal and eggs were often rotated as dinner and breakfast. These are memories that John works to prevent other children in America and around the world from having.

The other day a tow truck pulled up outside the Cafe and hooked up a late model pickup truck that had been illegally parked for 2 days outside the shop next door. I guess someone finally called the electric crane company since it seemed to be a company vehicle. It appeared the company truck had been abandoned. Tough financial times can have many faces.

As regular readers you know the Cafe has a pay-what-you-can day every week for the local community. This has become tradition, and as long as John or anyone in his family owns the Three Bags Full, I suspect it will continue. But I am talking about a bigger issue. Feeding America, feeding the world. Looking at poverty stricken countries in Africa, South Asia and Latin America, unfortunately we are not surprised that there are huge pockets of malnutrition. We live in one of the most prosperous countries in the world, yet we still have people who go to bed cold and hungry. It just doesn’t make sense.

Forty-six million Americans don’t get enough to eat. An estimated eight hundred and seven million people worldwide spend too many days hungry. Many years ago a movement started called The Hunger Project. Our very own John was on the front line helping to set up the initial program that is still in place. The Project was started in 1977 by Werner Erhard of EST notoriety, John Denver the now deceased singer/songwriter and Robert W. Fuller, American author and physicist. Their mission statement is as follows:

“The Hunger Project is a global, non-profit, strategic organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. Our vision is a world where every woman, man and child leads a healthy, fulfilling life of self-reliance and dignity.”

They had a lofty goal of ending world hunger by the turn of the century. While that mission has not yet been completed, drops in numbers have been achieved. Their work continues to impact lives that otherwise would be on the list of forgotten. Most importantly it’s about teaching not just giving handouts. John is still active from afar, but holds the cause near and dear.

The global number of malnutritioned is declining. I read recently that the world’s total of hungry people dropped by 132 million between 1990 and 1992 and then again 10 years later in 2010-12. Percentages showed a decline from 18.6% to 12.5% in the world’s hungry and specifically in developing countries from 23.2% to 14.9%. Apparently there has been a leveling off in the past few years. So what’s different? I have to say again; it doesn’t make sense.

What are your thoughts? Why is hunger still a problem? Is it political? What stops food and humanitarian efforts? Why are so many still sleeping on empty stomachs? Leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

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