For a long time, 10-year-old Erin Strnad of McCalla, Ala., had saved coins in a 3-foot-tall replica of a soft drink bottle, with no particular plan in mind for them.

It turns out that the amount she saved is enough to feed an entire family for nearly 10 months.

When Erin attended the annual meeting of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Birmingham in June, she learned that a special offering would be collected for the hunger fund of the Baptist World Alliance. Erin knew then exactly what she wanted to do with her money.

Using a little red wagon to haul her coins, she presented her offering to Emmanuel McCall, CBF’s representative to BWA, explaining that she wanted to give it all to feed hungry people in the world.

Erin’s offering totaled $915.07.

Hurricanes, drought, floods, political turmoil and other circumstances often leave people hungry, sometimes only days from starvation. When that happens, Baptist World Aid is there to help.

BWAid’s hunger fund provides resources for the purchase and provision of food to meet both urgent and longer-term needs.

When fields flood, destroying crops and ruining harvests, thousands of families are left without the means for basic sustenance. BWAid staff and volunteers work alongside Baptists around the world to offer solutions.

According to Paul Montacute, director of BWAid, $25 will feed a family for a week; $100 will feed a family for a month. “Hunger in a world of plenty is an indictment of the moral condition of modern society,” he says.

In the week or so prior to Thanksgiving, the staff at my exercise facility posted a sign on the wall. It says, in festive red and green writing, that women gain an average of 5 pounds during the holiday season. Other signs suggest ways to avoid gaining those pounds during these weeks leading up to Christmas.

Imagine what we could do if, instead of baking and buying rich foods we don’t need, we gave the money we would spend on them to help feed hungry people.

Why not take the Erin Challenge? Ask your Bible study group to save their loose change during the month of December (folding money and checks are also acceptable). Collect the money and give it to BWAid to help feed people who will worry not about gaining weight during the holidays, but about staying alive.

Take it a step further. If your group has a Christmas gathering, challenge members to contribute as much money as they spend on food and gifts for the party to a special offering for global hunger relief. Better yet, forego the sweets and double the money for hunger relief.

For more information on how you can help the hungry of the world, visit:

Jan Turrentine is managing editor of Acacia Resources.

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