Well here I am, sitting on my balcony in California staring out at a beautiful golf course surrounded by Palm Trees. For a guy from the Canadian Prairies, it doesn’t get much better than this, and ‘The Mamas and The Papas’ definitely got it right with their hit song California Dreamin’ … on such a winter’s day. The flowers here are gorgeous and I’ve lost count of the number of hummingbird’s I’ve seen. What a huge blessing this trip is for me, as I’m more than willing to ‘escape’ the cold for a while! Every year the Missions ‘Direct Mail & Digital Fundraising Firm’ fly’s its clients (me and the other CEO’s and Executive Directors from numerous Missions across the continent) here to Newport Beach, at no cost, for their annual conference. They put us up in a very nice hotel, they educate us throughout the week, and they treat us like we’re special! I’m told it’s there way of recognizing how valuable we are in leading the work that our Missions do; in helping the poor, the homeless, and the addicted today. For me, it’s a cherished and refreshing break. Thanks so much! So … what I’m about to say now is not meant to trash the people of Newport Beach who live here year round, or those from the surrounding area, in any way, but is rather intended to inspire all of us to even more action in helping the impoverished within our society.
In the midst of all the opulence that I’ve found here over the last five years; the multi-million dollar homes, the yachts, the high end car dealerships, numerous banks that I’ve never heard of, and so on … I’ve discovered a ‘little secret’ right in our ‘backyard,’ and if you take a stroll behind the hotel you’ll find this place, this little secret, that I’ve dubbed as “The Palm Villa.” It’s located off the road and walkway, besides the cacti on the hill, as you enter the ecological reserve. If you’re brave enough to ‘disappear’ into the Palm Trees, you’ll see that it looks like someone, or some people, have been or are staying there. Somewhat hidden, but none the less evidence of homelessness in the heart of Newport Beach! Maybe that surprises you, but here’s the real story: it’s not uncommon! It happens all the time and it’s not just here in Newport Beach. It’s a scenario that’s playing out in many communities throughout the world right now!
So … as I spent some time thinking about that, and the idea of extreme wealth being mixed with such extreme poverty, I began to wonder about the world’s wealth and poverty. I started to research a few things and in doing that I came up with the following facts, and my concluding thought, or should I say question, is simply this: What if we just shared what we had with each other?
* Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population, Forbes
* The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world, Forbes
* Worldwide, some 827.6 million people live in urban slums, Habitat for Humanity
* Nearly 870 million people of the world’s 7.1 billion people, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2012. Children are the most visible victims of this. Children who are poorly nourished suffer up to 160 days of illness each year. Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year; about five million deaths, United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization.
* The world produces 17% more food per person today than 30 years ago. But close to a billion people go to sleep hungry every night.The problem is that many people in the world don’t have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food. Hunger is not a random condition. Women, children, indigenous people, and other minorities are living with the crushing reality of hunger. Climate change is rapidly pushing the world’s poorest people, those least responsible for it, to the limits of subsistence. Oxfam Canada
* One third of the food produced worldwide is wasted, United Nations (FAO)
So … my question remains; What if we just shared what we had with each other?