We’ve all eaten a little dirt. How many times after my kids have dropped something on the floor have I said, “Five second rule!” We pick up the food, look at it,c and if it doesn’t look like it has dirt on it, sometimes we just go ahead and eat it. It’s there, but we don’t see it. It’s a little dirt. It’s nothing. Maybe it’s even healthy to eat a little dirt sometimes.
But what if you were so hungry there was nothing to drop in the dirt? What if the dirt you were eating was what was keeping you from feeling the pangs of hunger?
On a recent trip to a community in Bolivia, I saw children who were so poor that they would eat dirt just to try to drive off the pain of their empty stomachs. When kids eat dirt, it’s not OK.
Food for the Hungry is now partnering with that community, and the kids there are no longer resorting to dirt as the only thing that might keep their stomach from hurting. Not only that, their parents are learning how to use that SAME dirt to bring life.
Dirt can bring life through agriculture and farming. If you understand agriculture, you can keep yourself and your children alive.
Our Food for the Hungry workers all over the world are all about dirt. We train people in poverty-stricken areas to farm more wisely — plant better seeds, nurture the soil more effectively. We help them raise healthy, economical farm animals for milk, eggs, and meat.
We help them understand what God designed dirt to do, all the way back on Day 3 of Creation: “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit…. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:11-12).
It takes seeds, it takes water, it takes tools — or you don’t eat. And it takes people who understand it starts with dirt. People willing to “get their hands dirty,” in a way … sharing God’s love in practical ways.
Now when I see dirt, I see hope. Hope for healthy children, empowered families, and sustainable communities. I would challenge you, what do you see when you see dirt? Do you see something hopeful? Next time when you drop your food on the floor and yell “five second rule,” just remember the dirt that brings life and hope to children across the globe.
Want to learn how you can end the desperation that forces kids to quench hunger with dirt?