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Why I Am Fasting (Again) | Tony Hall

Why I Am Fasting (Again) | Tony Hall
 

In 1993 — nearly twenty years ago — I went on a water only fast to protest the lack of conscience of the U.S. Congress towards hungry people.

I was mad that leaders in Washington D.C. were going to eliminate the only committee that worked with the poor and hungry. So I fasted for 22 days – water only. It was pretty lonely at first, but eventually 6,000 high schools and 200 universities joined me and the fast really caught on. The media began to publicize it. The results were powerful. I started the Congressional Hunger Center that has trained at least 60 professional hunger workers each year over the last 17 years. The World Bank held a conference after the fast and committed well over 100 million in micro-credit to poor people. These were just some of the results.

Well, today, March 2011 my heart is again filled with grief and pain for the suffering of hungry people, because the situation is worse! There are 50 million hungry Americans, 17 million of them children. 25,000 people worldwide will die today from hunger and hunger related diseases. One billion are malnourished worldwide. More people are living in poverty and hunger than ever before. The prices of food and energy are at all time highs. People are out of work. We do need to cut the deficit and need to get our fiscal house in order. But not on the backs of the poor and hungry. They didn’t get us into the current mess, and hurting them is not the way out of it.

In Congress they propose to cut 50% of food aid to hungry people overseas, and our WIC program and Head Start programs here in the US, for starters. One senator said about the recent legislation to cut the budget, “one half cuts too little and the other has too much hate.” The voice for the hungry among our leaders has been silenced.

In the faith community and hunger community, we’ve tried just about everything, from reason, to letters, to visits, to admonishments. When you face a crucial situation and all the things you’ve tried seem to fail, a fast signals an appeal for divine guidance and direction. It’s time to call in God. A fast has to be first unto God to humble ourselves and unleash Him. Your faith is also unleashed when you struggle against injustice. Fasting, when done with the right heart and the right motive may provide a key to unlock doors when other keys have failed. When you set aside the needs of your body and seek God with all your heart, you’re saying, “God, I mean business, and I’m not going to let go unless you answer!” Fasting gives an edge to your prayers — a power. And it says I do not intend to take no for an answer.

So on March 28, 2011 — nearly 20 years after my original fast — I will begin fasting again. The stakes are even higher this time, as many of the proposed budget cuts will cause even greater harm to vulnerable people than the cuts that provoked my last fast. And I need you.

Broadly speaking, there are three central themes for this fast. The first is reminding people about the status of the most vulnerable, here and abroad. The second is to focus public attention on the proposed budget cuts and the terrible effects these would have on these vulnerable people. The final theme is that of a circle of protection. It’s all hands on deck this time around; not just me. We are inviting you to join together in prayer and fasting to form a spiritual circle of protection around those who would be most hurt by the cuts.

Please consider joining us. We need you now more than ever.

Sincerely,

Ambassador Tony P. Hall
Executive Director, Alliance to End Hunger

YOU CAN JOIN THE CIRCLE. CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW.

  1. Jmcaul04-04-11

    Godwilling all participating in this fast will continue – I urge all NOT TO EAT A SINGLE BITE until ALL demands are met!

  2. Ken James04-01-11

    Your efforts are having a positive, far-reaching effect. I learned about this fast when I read an op-ed piece in the New York Times by Mark Bittman, which led me to investigate further; that’s how I found your site. I’ve begun my fast in solidarity with you. Thank you for speaking out in such a compelling and eloquent manner about this situation.

  3. Lucas Koach04-01-11

    I have been fasting since Sunday. Jesus said, “I have food you know nothing about.” I am learning we discover what he meant when we pray and fast.

  4. Christopher03-31-11

    I have been fasting for 3 days now. I have a fairly physically demanding job and so I cannot go entirely without food and still safely do my job. I am eating one bagel or 2 pieces of toast each night for the carbohydrates. Also, I must say I am an atheist. I do not believe in god, jesus, muhammad, or any other aspect of religion/god. For me this fast is not about those things. This about standing up for fairness and standing in solidarity with the billions around the world who eat nothing or far too little each day because we refuse to share our great wealth. This is still a rich country at the top and before 25,000 starve to death each day we should demand sacrifices from those at the top.

  5. Max Finberg03-31-11

    On day 4 of our fast, I am reminded of how powerful a tool and message fasting is. Friends and colleagues ask me about it all the time and marvel at the ability to willingly give up food. On Cesar Chavez’ birthday (he fasted a great deal, once for 38 days, inspired by his Catholic faith and desire for justice for farm workers), it’s especially appropriate to join our voices and our hunger with our brothers and sisters around the country and around the world.
    Together, si se puede — yes we can!

  6. Dr Flip Buys03-29-11

    We are caring for 20 000 orphans and have just started a school and children’s village project.
    It will his us hard.
    We are praying for true compassions in terms of James 2:27
    Flip

  7. Kim Daniels03-28-11

    Thank you for what you are doing. I am one of those people that are living on food stamps. I never thought I would be in this position. I work 18 years as a nurse. But a failed marriage and a bad turn in my health and now I am where I am. I am left to feed myself and 2 children on 246 dollars a month. That is roughly 82 dollars per month per person. If it was not for the food banks and my parents garden I am not sure how we would make it. I am not lazy and I did nothing really to be where I am.

  8. Roxanne Allen03-28-11

    Dear Tony,

    Your message is powerful as always. The “circle of protection” image touches my heart. Thank you for helping to restore the vision of what it means to be religious, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or other. As a 25-year-long member of RESULTS, I’m proud to be part of your efforts.

  9. Dagfinn Høybråten03-23-11

    Dear Tony,
    Thanks for your powerful message, not only to the US Congress, but to parliamentarians and governments worldwide dealing with the challenges of the financial crisis.
    Dagfinn Høybråten, Member of the Norwegian Parliament.

  1. Ambassador Tony Hall: Fasting, Budget Cuts And National Humiliation – ArticlesInbox04-15-11
  2. America’s National Humiliation - HungerFast.org04-15-11
  3. As Congress Cuts, an RPCV Leader Fasts | The Fapturbo04-09-11
  4. As Congress Cuts, an RPCV Leader Fasts | Basic News Articles04-08-11
  5. As Congress Cuts, an RPCV Leader Fasts | National Peace Corps Association | Rictandag's Blog04-08-11
  6. The Fast Crowd « In the Kitchen with Kate04-02-11
  7. Why I am Joining the Fast | Ruth Messinger - HungerFast.org03-28-11
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