It’s (Past) Time To Solve The Water And Food Crises

Recently, the cathedral at Notre Dame suffered fire damage. $1B was raised for repairs in about 24 hours. Let me state plainly, clearly, and loudly that I have no issue with the fact that they raised the money. I have no issue with people donating whatever they feel lead to donate to this cause. It made me wonder, though, about the priority of Christianity. Faith without works is dead.

A church in Cincinnati recently did work on their building. The cost was around $3.6 M. They raise >$500k/year for to fund this (don’t see their budget online, so not quite sure the exact numbers). Let me state loudly, clearly, and plainly that I have no issue that they raised money for this project. More power to them being able to expand their building. More power to them that they could activate their membership to get that money.

The church I grew up in raised about $100k for a new super-duper sound system (about 25 years ago). I listened to the discussion one evening before a vote to take on the loan. More power to them that they had an AWESOME music director and would hear his voice even better. More power to them that they were able to activate their membership to donate the money needed to get that sound system.

There are other examples that we all know about. Campaigns to raise large amounts for a specific reason for church buildings or projects which are internally focused.

My question is simple;

When did we see you hungry and thirsty and not feed you and give you drink?

In 2000, the NYT published an article estimating that the world water crisis could be solved for $10B. In 2008 the UN estimated it would cost $30B / year to fix the world’s food shortages. Where is the Christian Church? Let’s just assume the costs to solve these issues is now $60B. With 2B Christians worldwide, that is $30 / year to solve this problem.

OK, let’s talk about those in the first world. In Germany, France, and the United States alone there are estimated to be >300,000,000 Christians. If each donated, $200/year ($17/mo) then the Christian Church would solve the world hunger and water crises.

Yes, an additional $200 / year / Christian in just those 3 countries would be the solution.

Or maybe it’s actually 2X that cost as suggested by The World Bank in 2015. Then $400 / year / Christian.

Alternatively, churches could take a pledge to raise equal amounts for food and water projects when they take on internally focused special giving.  Take that $500,000 raised this year by the local church and keep up that pace after the construction project is completed.

“But we do a bunch of other things…” Yes, LOTS of cool and important things. House the homeless, comfort the sick, take care of the elderly, etc. That’s why I say $200 MORE / year.

“It’s not that easy.” This reason stymies most good deeds. If it were easy, it would have already been done.

“But it’s not JUST a ‘Christian’ thing.” I’m speaking to the followers of Christ, my brothers and sisters. We are called to feed the hungry and give water to the thirsty. Others can and should consider where they stand. It would obviously be better if everyone pulled together.

“Governments should take care of this!” I don’t recall Christ saying, “Send money to Rome and have them feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty!”  Christ calls on the Church to act. You want to get governments involved? Then do that…along with raising the money to fix the problem as God’s people. If nothing else, why would you want the praise and credit to go to “Caesar” instead of giving praise and credit to god for this mighty work?

One report I found from the UN.  For each $1 invested in clean water, $9 is returned. Think about the  “peace dividends”. The challenges and costs of malnutrition and poor water are massively more than the investment to fix these 2 problems. Medical care, mass migration, wars, lost human potential, even human trafficking, etc.

“But there are so many needs, why should we focus on this one?” Food and water are the basis of life. Without those, little else in this life matters. And, again, the dividends of solving these issues will be massive and allow many other causes to be addressed.

“But we don’t really know how much it’s going to cost…” Well, get started…Hesitation costs lives. Do something…

I would love to hear from the Christian leaders, those who are loud and proud Christians, and those quieter Christians. How can we as a Church allow millions to die each year from these 2 causes along with the untold suffering? What can we say to God when he asks why we didn’t pull together and solve this when it is so easily in our reach?


Michael Barnes
Michael Barnes
Michael Barnes is founder and CEO of Awakened Innovations, Inc. Awakened Innovations helps nonprofits to save time and money by connecting them with high-quality, vetted, service providers. Previously, Michael has been a business coach; Director of Lab Operations at, Assurex Health (a genetic testing laboratory); and built the Cincinnati Biobank and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Michael’s overarching passion is to help others succeed and fulfill their mission in life.

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