One Starfish at a Time




     My supervisor at Stop Hunger Now Asia, Tiki Keh, always starts off each meal packaging event the same way, asking volunteers if they know how many people in this world suffer from hunger.  Do you know?  Well out of the approximate seven billion people on this earth, an astounding one billion of those people are suffering from hunger.  25,000 people actually die EACH DAY from hunger-related causes.  More people die each year from hunger-related causes than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.  The statistics are sad, because there is enough food in the world to feed everyone every day.  Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough to help, I should be doing more, assisting more people.  I was feeling this way the other day and I remembered the “Starfish Story.”  I apologize for repeating it to those that have heard it before:

 A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore.  Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.  “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” he asks.  “Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”  “But old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it!  You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one tenth of them.  In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”  The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea.  “It made a difference to that one.”

     I know that I myself, or even Stop Hunger Now, cannot feed and save all of those one billion starving people, and it would be too overwhelming to think that way.  This past weekend Stop Hunger Now Asia hit their one million meals goal for 2013.  I have been here in Asia for the packaging of 713,000 of those one million, and the organization will definitely exceed its first year target with still two months to go in 2013.  I just keep trying to remember that even the small meal packaging events add up, and that we are helping many refugees, students, elderly, and needy all across Southeast Asia.  I will probably always wish I could do more, but I must commend my efforts thus far.  I traveled around the world, left my family, friends, dogs, comforts of home, and my amazing job, to do this NGO work for six months.  I know I have made a difference for many starving and hungry people in this part of the world.  These past few months working internationally have been incredibly fulfilling and rewarding, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to work with Stop Hunger Now.  I just need to continue doing the best that I can, and remain positive.  Stay tuned…



  1. Thanks for sharing the starfish story! It is remarkable. You are right in being positive and optimistic about this situation. No one person can help eliminate all the things that are wrong in this world, but we can all try – one thing, one person, one meal 🙂 at a time! You are doing great service to the society! Be proud 🙂 Manu.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s