Enough money to feed 1,193 homeless women and children in Uganda and 108 needy people in the United States was raised during the world hunger benefit concert, Oct. 15. The concert, held in Rocketown in Nashville, Tenn., was part of the annual BEAT Hunger emphasis for the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund.
The concert featured the Christian Contemporary band, The Swift, and attracted a mostly teenage crowd who came from the nearby area, carrying canned food and donations.
After a few opening songs, the youth were asked to bring their cans forward and place them on the stage along with a love offering of money for the World Hunger Fund. When the offering was counted, more than 400 cans and nearly $200 was left on the stage.
Band member Mike Simons said it's easy to look at the hunger problems around the world and be overwhelmed at how much money and food would be required to meet those needs, but the World Hunger Fund can make it happen through gifts like what the youth gave at the concert.
"It may just be a small contribution, but a bunch of small contributions is how the World Hunger Fund works," he said. "It brings the level of involvement down a notch to everybody."
100 percent of the funds donated will go to purchase meals for the needy around the meals. And the meals are not expensive. A meal for a homeless child in Guatemala, for example, costs only 11 cents, and even in Washington, D.C., a 15-pound food packet for a family costs $1.05. If someone were to donate $9.60, that money would provide a meal to 80 homeless women and children in Uganda.
"There's so much news about Americans fighting obesity and how everyone's so overweight while the rest of the world is fighting hunger," said drummer Trae Drose. "It's just ridiculous. We're all trying to watch what we eat and other folks are trying to find what they eat."
Drose added that what they do as a band, playing music, is just a way to get people to listen to what's really important -- the Gospel. Similarly, the World Hunger Fund is a way to spread the Gospel by first filling stomachs.
"You can't witness to someone who's starving because they're thinking about their growling stomach," he said. "We realize that God has called us to be more than just Christian entertainers but to go out and spread the Gospel and be part of the Great Commission, and we feel like this is just part of it."
The Swift encourages people learn about World Hunger and how they can get involved at their churches. Band member Chris Byers said people struggle too often with thoughts like "I'm not a preacher," "I'm not a speaker" or "I don't play the guitar," but actually that's not necessary in order to minister.
"Anybody can rally the troops at church to support the fund," he said.