Hungry for Change is a group experience designed to help people stand in solidarity with the global poor in a powerful way.

Stand in solidarity with the global poor.

A Quick Look at Hungry for Change

Hungry for Change is a 5 day challenge which allows you to experience something like the type and level of consumption of food and drink that half the world’s population, who live on less than $2 per day, experience on a daily basis.

Food for Five Days: The pack, which costs $25, contains enough rice, beans and oatmeal to sustain one person for five days at the typical caloric intake of those on $2 a day.

Equip and Reflect: The program is fully supported with a detailed instruction and information booklet, and with a week of thought-provoking and reflective emails sent directly to each participant to encourage them on the journey and to help them turn their thoughts towards God’s purposes during the experience

Provide Food for the Hungry: Through its partnership with Food for the Hungry, Trade as One has designed the pack so that each one purchased also supplies beans that, when planted and grown, will feed one person for a whole year in the developing world.

Provide Dignified Jobs: The rice in the pack is fair trade certified and provides dignified employment to rural farmers in Thailand that keeps communities together and prevents urban migration.

Calculate (and Donate) the Savings: Participants are encouraged to calculate the difference between what they would normally spend on food and drink in 5 days, and the $25 cost of the Hungry for Change pack. Churches and groups then encourage their participants to give towards some designated cause that is close to their hearts and related to issues of poverty. An average amount saved per person over 5 days is around $75.

Decide: Some churches choose to incorporate the Hungry for Change program in a teaching series, or during Lent, or just as a stand-alone experience. There are many ways in which this program can be effectively used and we would be happy to discuss these with you.

Want to learn more?

Read over the FAQs below, or contact us with any inquiries.

FAQs for Participants

The Pack Contents

What does the pack contain, and what does it cost?

The pack itself costs $25 per person and contains all the food (oats, rice, beans) that one person needs for 5 days, plus the $5 donation that Trade as One makes via Food for the Hungry, plus the resources and support of the information and instruction booklet in the pack, and ensuring you get the daily emails timed to arrive in your inbox when you are doing the program. The pack and the program have been thoroughly researched, road-tested and compiled so that the booklet and daily emails guide you through the practicalities of everything from cooking the meals, to advice on how to prepare for doing the experience, pace oneself through it, and think about how this may have implications on the way one consumes after it.

How did you decide on the amount and type of food? What does this amount of food compare with in the developing world?

The point of the exercise is to eat the equivalent caloric intake and simple meals that people on $2 a day eat. Those people do not spend $2 a day on food, they spend less than that since they also have other needs. The food that people living in poverty survive on is often of a low quality, where they survive on what they can get. In this way your Hungry for Change packet is not replicating that- it is a pack of simple, high quality, fair trade, perfectly packaged and fresh food. From a quality perspective it is in no way comparable to what someone surviving on $2 a day would eat- but it gives you the experience of simple food, less of it, no choices, and the same caloric intake that someone living in poverty might experience.

How has Trade as One partnered with Food for the Hungry? What does this involve?

Trade as One has partnered with Food for the Hungry both to spread awareness of this program, and to commit to donating $5 to Food for the Hungry for every pack purchased. This $5 provides beans which when harvested, will feed one person in a developing country for a year.

Where does the rice in the pack come from?

The white jasmine rice is from Alter Eco who are one of Trade as One’s fair trade certified suppliers. Purchasing fair trade rice in decent volumes for the Hungry for Change program provides dignified labor and jobs in rural Thailand and predictable and sorely needed incomes, and good working conditions. Sadly, these very criteria for working conditions that we take for granted are not the norm for rice farmers in many parts of the world, which is why fair trade practices are needed in this sector.

Where do the oat and beans come from?

Oats and beans are crops which are farmed widely in the USA as well as around the world, and are crops that do not have such poor labor practices as rice does, and so there is not generally the need for these crops to be farmed in a fair trade manner- this may mean that they are already farmed according to better practices, and/or that the farmers themselves are not living on the edge of poverty. You will notice that oats and black beans are not available in fair trade versions for this reason. Therefore the rice in the pack is fair trade, but the oats and beans are not. They are, however, very high quality products in their own right.

Why can I buy some food items fair trade in the stores, but not others?

Fair trade consumables are available precisely where the practice of non-fair trade principals is endemic for that item. Where the farming and employment practices are generally of a higher level, you are not able to find fair trade alternatives because the practices are already good, or the crops are harvested by people who are not living on the edge of poverty. Fair Trade specifically targets people who are poor and marginalized—so whenever you see fair trade items you can know that the people involved in growing or harvesting that item are needy and buying their fair trade items helps them and their communities.

The Emails

I understand all participants receive daily emails during the 5 day program. What do they contain?

We are very excited about the devotional (and practical) emails. Each participant gets a daily email throughout their participation in the program and the emails are linked to the experience and designed to support, encourage and guide people along. In this way the whole experience becomes a holistic program that is focused on using the experience to achieve lasting change through a combination of spiritual reflection and physical solidarity with the poor.

Who wrote the emails?

Stella Kasirye wrote the emails on our behalf. Stella lives and ministers in Malawi which is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an average life expectancy of 51 years. Stella brings a unique perspective as she lives in Malawi, but also understands US culture well, having lived here too. Stella wrote the daily reflections as she went through a week of fasting. A brief bio of Stella is here.

Families and Hungry for Change

How can my family be part of Hungry for Change?

Glad you asked! While Hungry for Change is NOT designed or recommend for children, NOR teenagers, there are LOTS of creative things you can do to make it a talking and learning experience in your home. Medical advice is that this is NOT a program for children but there are lots of ways that the whole family can be involved to some degree.

Even when it is just the parents who take part in Hungry for Change, you will find that there are lots of opportunities for discussion, teaching and learning around the dinner table. If your kids are old enough and have their own opinions on this, you can ask them what thoughts they have! You can talk about inequity in the world for a start! Below are some ideas and resources for you to consider- and you’ll probably come up with even better ideas based on the ages and personalities of your own kids. Remember that, as parents, you know best- and you needn’t feel either guilty or smug at the degree to which you either involve or don’t involve your family!

If one or both parents are doing Hungry for Change remember that it will be a challenge for you anyway, so don’t make life too much more difficult for yourselves those 5 days! Here are some possibilities:

  • Plan a ‘hunger lunch’: this could be one meal time during the 5 days when the kids’ menu is more frugal than normal.  It might be rice and beans, it might be pasta, or whatever seems best to you.  You could aim to discuss the reality and issues of poverty in a way appropriate to your kids’ ages.
  • Consider having a ‘no snacks’ or ‘no candies’ or a ‘no packaged or branded’ food day or meal- or a ‘like it or lump it’ meal with none of the normal choices, or having less choice for snacks than normal!  Think about what your kids would understand, and what would be possible.  The idea is not to build resentment in your kids (!), so only choose what would work well as a positive learning tool for your family, and keep to a realistic time period for whatever you choose. The idea is to promote thought, discussion and awareness in your home, not to add to the daily gripes!  You may decide together to donate the money the children save through their choices on this occasion, and they could be involved in deciding what that money goes towards.  This way it seems less negative and more positive and productive.

Once again, Hungry for Change is a program for adults which can have positive spin-offs for helping families become aware of issues of poverty and hunger in the wider world.  But, even without doing any of the above suggestions, you will find that there are plenty of chances to talk about and learn from the parents’ experience of Hungry for Change.  So—be confident that the program will be a learning experience for the whole household.  As parents you might choose to do the 5 day program yourselves first without doing anything more than modeling the experience and naturally talking it over with your kids as the subject comes up, and then you could choose to do one of the suggestions above the week after.  You are the parent- so you get to choose!  We’d love to hear your ideas too- so please let us know what worked for you on Trade as One’s Facebook page!

Questions to engage your kids:

  • What does it mean to feel hunger? You’ll probably be able to tell them during the 5 days of Hungry for Change with a little more personal experience than normal!
  • Share with them about limited access to water and food, look up statistics on hunger and countries affected by famine.
  • Help them to understand the concepts of plenty and excess- and the fact that this is not the norm for half of the world.
  • Teach them to understand ‘enough’! Coincidentally, it is interesting that, at the end of a meal, we ask each other if we are ‘full’, rather than whether we have had ‘enough’- does this set the expectation that we should always eat until we are full?!
  • What can we do to be aware and to help those who live with the reality of daily hunger? Children are often great at coming up with practical ideas you can actually act on!
  • Talk about how the poor and the well-off often live in close proximity.  If you as parents are restricting your food choices to do Hungry for Change you will feel that inequity and can talk about it to your kids.  You have limited choices for those 5 days, but you probably still have a full fridge and pantry and your kids are still having normal meals- this is a great chance to discuss inequity.
  • Talk about how lack of choice and opportunity feels.  How would it feel not to have all the food choices we do? To eat the same food day in and day out?  To eat food that is a lower quality? What would you miss most?

Helpful websites (with discussion ideas for children)

Food for the Hungry
Trade as One partners with Food for the Hungry and donates $5 per Hungry for Change pack to provide seeds that will feed one person for a year.  Lots of helpful info and images on this site.

Bread for the World
This is a website with resources for religious congregations focused on ending hunger. There is a whole section with resources for children.

Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger
Includes a world hunger map, and information and interactive activities for children and teachers.

World Food Programme
The link is to a downloadable video game teaching children about the logistical challenges of delivering food aid in a major humanitarian crisis.

World Hunger Education Service
Geared more towards adults and older kids; has hunger quizzes, photos and stories about hunger and links to other sites.

The 58 Project
Trade as One is a partner organization of the 58 project and this is another great website with resources and questions on ending poverty.

Preparing to Take Part

I’m all signed up- is there anything I should do to prepare before the 5 days begin?

Good question. It is very helpful if you try to reduce down your caffeine-intake before the program begins, and that of any other foods/drinks that you feel you may be addicted to in any way, e.g., sodas, sweet treats.

Are there better weeks than others for people to do Hungry for Change?

It is certainly worth looking at your calendar and trying to avoid doing Hungry for Change at times when you will be extending yourself physically or mentally- for example big deadlines or crunch times for your work or studies, a sporting event that you are participating in, demanding travel schedules and so on. Try to choose a week that makes most sense. Hopefully, the week when everyone else in your group is participating will work for you- but if it doesn’t we can schedule the emails with a different start date for you. When you know when you are going to do Hungry for Change be a little gentle on yourself too and try not to over-schedule!

Who Should Not Do This Program?

Is this recommended for everyone?

No, it is not recommended for everyone. You participate in Hungry for Change entirely at your own discretion- it will not be right, or wise, for absolutely everyone. The materials and content contained within Trade as One’s Hungry for Change program should not be substituted for medical advice or any medical professionals. Please consult with the appropriate health care provider as to the specific nature of any health related concerns you may have. In no way can Trade as One know the specifics about any individual’s own health concerns, nor offer specific advice.

What contraindications to participation are there to be aware of?

The following are all contraindications to fasting and therefore participation in Hungry for Change:

  • Children under the age of 12
  • Teenagers
  • Pregnant women
  • Nursing mothers
  • People with eating disorders (anorexia or bulimia etc)
  • Those with severe anaemia
  • Those with porphyria (genetic metabolic defect)
  • Those with a rare genetic fatty acid deficiency that prevents proper ketosis.
  • Anyone who has suffered a heart attack or heart problems.
  • And anyone who has suffered a stroke.
  • Those who suffer from any mental disorders or illnesses.
  • Those who have any sign of having kidney or gall bladder stones.
  • Those who suffer magnesium deficiency.
  • Other specific conditions at the advice of a doctor

Resources

Can I post about this on Facebook or my blog etc?

Of course! We’d love you to do that- both on your own wall, and on Trade as One’s wall, and on your blog, and any other social media. Do let us know how you are spreading the word! And if others are interested please direct them to our website for all the details of how to get involved. Thanks!

Is there a video about this program?

We’re working on it! Give us a bit of time and check back!

What resources can you recommend to support this experience?

We highly recommend Chris Seay’s “A Place at the Table”, Peter Holme’s “The Fasting Journey” and of course Ronald Sider’s classic “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.”

Cooking Instructions

On a practical note how do we know how to cook and prepare the meals?

Don’t worry- it’s all in the booklet that you will receive in your pack. That recommends that you cook everything in bulk on the day before you start the program. There are instructions on how to do this, and a recipe for a simple sauce to go with your beans and rice. The meals don’t need to be completely bland- herbs and spices can make them more interesting for you and all these instructions and suggestions are in the booklet. If you cook the rice and beans at the beginning of the program then you can divide the meals into portions and freeze them in zip-lock bags. Each day you can simply get out the meals you need from the freezer for that day and defrost and warm them through. Just think of all the lovely time you’ll be saving!

What if I forget to soak the beans overnight- is there a way to speed up the process?

Here are your bean-soaking choices:

  1. Soak the dried beans in cold water- put them in a large pot and add water to cover by at least two inches. Soak them for at least 6 hours and as long as 24. The beans will swell to double or triple in size, depending on how long you soak them. If you cut a bean open, it should be moist all the way through. If it isn’t, continue soaking. If your kitchen is very warm, you might want to put the pot in the refrigerator to keep the mixture from starting to ferment if you are leaving it a long time.
  2. Another choice is to put the beans in a pot and add enough boiling water to cover by at least two inches. Cover the pot and let them soak until the beans have doubled in size and absorbed most of the water, which will take an hour or two. An advantage of this process is that the beans remain somewhat firm and will keep their shape when cooked.
  3. A third option is to put the beans in the pot, cover with water by at least two inches, bring the mixture to boiling, simmer it for two minutes, then cover, and let stand for an hour. This process may result in some of the beans splitting and losing their shape.
  4. Finally, you can also microwave the beans in a large covered casserole, in a ratio of 1 pound of beans to 4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, which will probably take between 12 and 17 minutes, then microwave for 2 additional minutes. Stir the beans and let the dish stand, covered, for an hour.

With any method, drain and rinse the beans before the final cooking.

Any Further Questions

Please get in touch- we’d love to help! Contact us here.

Disclaimer

The small print aka Trade as One’s disclaimer statement:

Trade as One is not responsible for any person or entity of any kind in relations to damage, loss, or injuries caused directly or indirectly by the use of products in the Hungry for Change pack.

Never disregard medical advice from your health care provider, doctor, or physician as a result of content contained within Hungry for Change. The information is not intended to replace medical advice from trained medical professionals. Always seek medical advice for a specific diagnosis.

1. You should always consult a doctor before undertaking any diet or exercise program.

2. Fasting is not for everyone- and, even though this is not a strict fast as such, the program could be dangerous in some specific cases. Therefore, please consult a doctor before undertaking this program.

FAQs for Planning an Event

The Program

Why should someone consider doing Hungry for Change?

Hungry for Change is a 5 day challenge which allows you to experience something like the type and level of consumption of food and drink that half the world’s population, who live on less than $2 per day, experience on a daily basis. This experience is accompanied by an instructional booklet, and by thought-provoking daily emails during the 5 days of the program written by a Malawian theologian. The program is designed for groups (minimum 10, no maximum). It’s a great teaching and awareness-raising program, plus each pack provides seeds via Food for the Hungry which, when planted and harvested, feed one person in the developing world for a year. Participants are also encouraged to donate the savings they make on food (averaging around $75 per person) to a cause that their church or group supports.

The Pack Contents

What does the pack contain, and what does it cost?

The pack itself costs $25 per person and contains all the food (oats, rice, beans) that one person needs for 5 days, plus the $5 donation that Trade as One makes via Food for the Hungry, plus the resources and support of the information and instruction booklet in the pack, and ensuring you get the daily emails timed to arrive in your inbox when you are doing the program. The pack and the program have been thoroughly researched, road-tested and compiled so that the booklet and daily emails guide you through the practicalities of everything from cooking the meals, to advice on how to prepare for doing the experience, pace oneself through it, and think about how this may have implications on the way one consumes after it.

How did you decide on the amount and type of food? What does this amount of food compare with in the developing world?

The point of the exercise is to eat the equivalent caloric intake and simple meals that people on $2 a day eat. Those people do not spend $2 a day on food, they spend less than that since they also have other needs. The food that people living in poverty survive on is often of a low quality, where they survive on what they can get. In this way your Hungry for Change packet is not replicating that- it is a pack of simple, high quality, fair trade, perfectly packaged and fresh food. From a quality perspective it is in no way comparable to what someone surviving on $2 a day would eat- but it gives you the experience of simple food, less of it, no choices, and the same caloric intake that someone living in poverty might experience.

How has Trade as One partnered with Food for the Hungry? What does this involve?

Trade as One has partnered with Food for the Hungry both to spread awareness of this program, and to commit to donating $5 to Food for the Hungry for every pack purchased. This $5 provides beans which when harvested, will feed one person in a developing country for a year.

Where does the rice in the pack come from?

The white jasmine rice is from Alter Eco who are one of Trade as One’s fair trade certified suppliers. Purchasing fair trade rice in decent volumes for the Hungry for Change program provides dignified labor and jobs in rural Thailand and predictable and sorely needed incomes, and good working conditions. Sadly, these very criteria for working conditions that we take for granted are not the norm for rice farmers in many parts of the world, which is why fair trade practices are needed in this sector.

Where do the oat and beans come from?

Oats and beans are crops which are farmed widely in the USA as well as around the world, and are crops that do not have such poor labor practices as rice does, and so there is not generally the need for these crops to be farmed in a fair trade manner- this may mean that they are already farmed according to better practices, and/or that the farmers themselves are not living on the edge of poverty. You will notice that oats and black beans are not available in fair trade versions for this reason. Therefore the rice in the pack is fair trade, but the oats and beans are not. They are, however, very high quality products in their own right.

Why can I buy some food items fair trade in the stores, but not others?

Fair trade consumables are available precisely where the practice of non-fair trade principals is endemic for that item. Where the farming and employment practices are generally of a higher level, you are not able to find fair trade alternatives because the practices are already good, or the crops are harvested by people who are not living on the edge of poverty. Fair Trade specifically targets people who are poor and marginalized—so whenever you see fair trade items you can know that the people involved in growing or harvesting that item are needy and buying their fair trade items helps them and their communities.

The Emails

I understand all participants receive daily emails during the 5 day program. What do they contain?

We are very excited about the devotional (and practical) emails. Each participant gets a daily email throughout their participation in the program and the emails are linked to the experience and designed to support, encourage and guide people along. In this way the whole experience becomes a holistic program that is focused on using the experience to achieve lasting change through a combination of spiritual reflection and physical solidarity with the poor.

Who wrote the emails?

Stella Kasirye wrote the emails on our behalf. Stella lives and ministers in Malawi which is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an average life expectancy of 51 years. Stella brings a unique perspective as she lives in Malawi, but also understands US culture well, having lived here too. Stella wrote the daily reflections as she went through a week of fasting. A brief bio of Stella is here.

Group Participation

I understand this is a group program. How large does a group have to be to participate?

We will supply groups as small as 10 people, but not smaller.

What is the largest size group that can take part?

The sky’s the limit! We will supply very large groups- but need at least 2 weeks lead time to make sure we have enough packs packed and ready to ship out.

May I do this program on my own?
The exercise has been carefully designed to be a powerful experience that achieves, or at least starts people off on a journey to achieve, change on many levels. The central principle is that by eating only what they are given in the packs, the money that would otherwise be spent on consumption is freed up to do good to others. Obviously, anyone can choose to eat less for 5 days along the lines of this program, but the pack is designed to be more than just the food itself- it is also the contribution towards Food for the Hungry, the information and instruction booklet, and the participation as an individual within a group in the program, and in the reflections of the daily emails. Participants are encouraged to donate the money they save during the 5 days. So- if you go it alone you could possibly donate a little more, but in doing so the cost to you would be identical, you would not have contributed towards Food for the Hungry in the purchase of the pack, nor would you be part of the program supported by Trade as One through the booklet and emails. You get none of those elements by doing it alone and will be treating it as a one-off exercise done on your own.

How Can My Group Sign Up and Participate?

How does a church or group sign up to participate?

First, read through all the details here on the website. Then contact us and we’d be delighted to help.

We’ll discuss numbers, dates and details with you. You will need to take sign ups, gather emails and have each participant pay you $25. When you are ready you’ll just need to let us know the final number of participants and their email addresses (so that we can email everyone the daily emails). You send us one check for the number of packs needed at $25 each, and for the shipping cost for all the packs to be shipped via UPS ground to a location of your choice. You then distribute the packs to all those who signed up for them- generally by having people collect them from a designated pick-up point on a certain day/s.

Can some leaders or specific individuals in our group go through the program first so they can trial it and know what the experience is like before their whole group participates?

Yes; we definitely encourage that. Let us know who to send packs to and we’ll make it happen. They will get to have the emails and everything so they can know exactly what the program feels like to participate in before they recommend it to others.

How quickly can we place an order and get enough packs for our group?

Please allow at least 2 weeks for us to receive your order and ship. Shipping is from California by UPS ground so delivery time varies by location. However, it is better to allow 4 weeks so that some of the leaders of your group can do the 5 day challenge in advance of the rest of the group- so that they know what it is like, and can wholeheartedly recommend and represent the program to everyone else. This also allows time for you to promote the program within your group effectively and take sign-ups.

How do churches and groups typically run with this program? What ideas can you share?

Churches generally talk about the program and take sign ups for one or two weekends. We then ship the required number of packs to your church. Groups generally have a suggested start date so that all the members of that group who are participating start and finish at the same time. Often groups choose to start with the dinner meal on a Sunday evening which means the last meal is on a Friday lunchtime. Some churches then choose to break their fast together with a special Friday evening gathering when the experience can be shared, reflections given, and donations collected towards a specified project of your choosing aligned with issues of poverty and hunger. The following Sunday can then be used to share experiences and learnings and to recognize the donations received

What do churches and groups encourage participants to do with their ‘savings’ from the 5 days?

Most groups designate a cause to which donations are solicited in the amount that individuals have calculated that they have saved compared to a normal 5 day period. The average saving is around $75 per person, but will obviously vary.

Who Should Not Do This Program?

Is this recommended for everyone?

No, it is not recommended for everyone. You participate in Hungry for Change entirely at your own discretion- it will not be right, or wise, for absolutely everyone. The materials and content contained within Trade as One’s Hungry for Change program should not be substituted for medical advice or any medical professionals. Please consult with the appropriate health care provider as to the specific nature of any health related concerns you may have. In no way can Trade as One know the specifics about any individual’s own health concerns, nor offer specific advice.

What contraindications to participation are there to be aware of?

The following are all contraindications to fasting and therefore participation in Hungry for Change:

  • Children under the age of 12
  • Teenagers
  • Pregnant women
  • Nursing mothers
  • People with eating disorders (anorexia or bulimia etc)
  • Those with severe anaemia
  • Those with porphyria (genetic metabolic defect)
  • Those with a rare genetic fatty acid deficiency that prevents proper ketosis.
  • Anyone who has suffered a heart attack or heart problems.
  • And anyone who has suffered a stroke.
  • Those who suffer from any mental disorders or illnesses.
  • Those who have any sign of having kidney or gall bladder stones.
  • Those who suffer magnesium deficiency.
  • Other specific conditions at the advice of a doctor

Any Further Questions

Please get in touch- we’d love to help! Contact us here.

Disclaimer

The small print aka Trade as One’s disclaimer statement:

Trade as One is not responsible for any person or entity of any kind in relations to damage, loss, or injuries caused directly or indirectly by the use of products in the Hungry for Change pack.

Never disregard medical advice from your health care provider, doctor, or physician as a result of content contained within Hungry for Change. The information is not intended to replace medical advice from trained medical professionals. Always seek medical advice for a specific diagnosis.

1. You should always consult a doctor before undertaking any diet or exercise program.

2. Fasting is not for everyone- and, even though this is not a strict fast as such, the program could be dangerous in some specific cases. Therefore, please consult a doctor before undertaking this program.