NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A mostly teenage crowd who attended a world hunger benefit featuring The Swift donated 400 cans of food and raised enough money to feed 1,193 homeless women and children in Uganda and 108 needy people in the United States.
The concert held at Rocketown in Nashville, Tenn., and broadcast worldwide on the Internet Oct. 15 was part of the annual BEAT Hunger emphasis for the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund.
Teenagers hopped off church buses and filed into the inner-city youth outreach center in Nashville carrying canned food and looking forward to a night of low lights, loud music and effective ministry sponsored by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
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.
The cans and dollar bills started adding up, and in all 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 told Baptist Press. “It brings the level of involvement down a notch to everybody.”
The World Hunger Fund is unique among food ministries because 100 percent of the funds donated go to purchase meals that are distributed worldwide in the name of Jesus.
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.
The Swift, a contemporary Christian band that has toured with Audio Adrenaline and MercyMe, promotes the World Hunger Fund at its concerts and has committed to raising awareness of how easy it is to provide for a starving world if only people who have plenty will give a few dollars.
“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.
To get involved in the World Hunger Fund, e-mail [email protected], call 888-375-2461 or write to Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, 901 Commerce Street Suite 550, Nashville, TN 37203.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: COMMITTED TO MINISTRY, DONATING TO THOSE IN NEED and THE SWIFT IN CONCERT.