You Hungry?

I had a toasted bagel with butter, and some coffee this morning for breakfast. Then later on, I had a second cup of coffee. Over the weekend, I ate out twice. On Sunday at a class my wife and I are taking at church, everyone at our table brought in food. We all left with our stomachs full, and we even took some food home, since there was much more food than necessary.

I don’t remember ever picking up anything from a garbage dump and eating it.

Unfortunately, this is the life for many in the city of Recife, Brazil. If you are not aware, Recife is a major city in the Northeast of Brazil. If you look up this city in, one of the first links is this Wikipedia article:

You won’t find any mention of the garbage dump people there. The article explains quite a bit about the city and its people, but stays away from the negative aspects of the city. Brazil transitioned to Democracy quite a few years ago, and since then, has become an economic force in the world, a major industrial nation. However, in doing so, many have been forgotten. The plight of the street children in Brazil is well known, and much has been done by many organizations to help them. But it is still a huge problem. It is estimated that 1 in 8 Brazilian children live on the streets.

In Recife especially, poverty is rampant. There is a clear separation of classes. On the one side, one of the most prosperous cities of Brazil, and on the other, a huge poor community left to defend itself by searching through the local dump in search of food and items to sell. The video is heart wrenching. Yes I know this exists in America today. The difference is that the huge disparity between rich and poor is much greater there, as well as the blatant lack of help from the government. The poor in Brazil are truly second class citizens in Brazil. There are only a few ways to survive for them. They either beg for food, steal, or prostitute themselves. Many die on the streets or end up in jail, where they are beaten daily. Those that survive do so by resorting to the actions you see on the video. Many sniff glue or take other drugs to escape their reality.

Let’s put a few things in perspective:

  • Two movie tickets, a large popcorn and two sodas – $40.
  • Dinner for two at Chili’s, including appetizers and tip – approx. $50
  • A round of golf for two at a public golf course – approx. $100

These are things we all do for enjoyment. We work hard for our money. You may feel you have every right to spend it how you see fit. This is not a guilt trip. But what would Jesus say?

“He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.”
–Proverbs 19:17

“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.”
–Luke 14:13

“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
–1 John 3:17-18

The cost to sponsor a child through Compassion International?

$38 a month.

You hungry?