Sunday , May 19 2024
It's clear where the emphasis needs to be in Afghanistan. It starts with the basics of food, medicine, education, and shelter.

A Barn Owl, the Mothman Legend, and Global Hunger Relief

Last week I attended an Earth Day event at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Delhi, Ohio. The college’s Green Club was holding a fundraiser for the Delhi community garden. They agreed to donate some of the proceeds from the fundraiser to hunger relief in Afghanistan.

There was a special guest on hand from the Cincinnati Zoo: a barn owl. The barn owl has a reputation for great wisdom. He also may hold the answer to one of our longest-running mysteries. In the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia there is a legend of a half bird-half man creature called the Mothman. This creature is said to have terrorized residents of this town for decades.

Statue of the Mothman Creature in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. (Mothman Museum)

A Barn Owl at the College of Mount St. Joseph’s Earth Day Event


There have been all kinds of theories as to what the Mothman really is. Some of that speculation has centered on the barn owl. In the dark of night, residents may have come upon a particularly large barn owl flapping his wings. Could this be the legendary monster? No one can ever be sure.

At the MSJ Earth Day event, the barn owl was asked about this Mothman connection. The owl would not comment though, citing advice from lawyers about discussing an ongoing investigation.

Part of the event proceeds went to the Aschiana Foundation to help feed street children in Afghanistan. Interestingly, just before this event the college also collected supplies for Japan’s earthquake recovery. What is the connection? Japan happens to be a major donor to hunger relief operations in Afghanistan. On the UN World Food Programme’s Afghanistan web page, Japan is listed as the second highest donor so far in 2011.

However, Japan has been tackling its own disaster. Afghanistan continues to struggle with food security. The World Food Programme recently reported a $257 million shortage in funding for 2011. If new funding is not found, it will lead to cuts in the school meals and child nutrition programs. 

As long as Afghanistan suffers with hunger and poverty, there is no chance for peace, economic development, and stability in that country. It’s clear where the emphasis needs to be going forward in Afghanistan. It starts with the basics of food, medicine, education, and shelter and builds from these foundations.

There is a long road back for Afghans. U.S. Army members run a charity program called Operation CARE to help Afghans living in poverty. Captain Michelle Lunato writes that “what Americans call war, has been daily life for the Afghan people for years.”


Afghan girls supervise their smaller siblings while their mothers are treated inside the Egyptian Field Hospital. Once the patients leave the hospital and base, Operation Care volunteers are able to give them humanitarian aid packages of clothes, shoes, food and hygiene items. (Photo by Capt. Michelle Lunato)


Thanks to the College of Mount of St. Joseph for sharing some of the proceeds from fundraisers on their campus during the academic year. This spring it was via the Green Club and last fall it was through the Psychology Club’s YWCA fundraiser. The amount raised, I estimate, was enough to provide well over 1,000 meals to children in Afghanistan and Southern Sudan. In addition, there were funds raised for Edesia, a non-profit organization which produces life-saving plumpynut for children.

About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.

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