Person of the Week: Ray Buchanan

January 22, 2010 3:44:14 PM PST
For a week-and-a-half, relief agencies from around the world have been rushing aid to Haiti.

Raleigh-based Stop Hunger Now is one of those agencies, and it has been instrumental in getting supplies distributed to the country.

Stop Hunger Now founder, Ray Buchanan, is a former minister turned minister who started the organization 11 years ago when he decided that fighting hunger was his true calling.

"You know, in the Marine Corps, you learn right away from day one that you're accountable not only for yourself but for everybody around you," Buchanan told ABC11 Eyewitness News.

And that's the philosophy he lives by every day. For the past 11 days, he's been focused on getting relief to Haiti.

But this is a mission that started more than 10 years ago when the Vietnam veteran decided to start practicing what he was preaching.

"So, as I started leading my congregation into involvement in hunger, I got more involved," Buchanan explained. "The more involved I got, the more I realized what needed to be done. And the more I realized things needed to be done, it changed my whole life from one of just dealing with an issue to realizing this is an issue that we had to address as fully and completely as possible."

Touched by the hunger he saw in Ethiopia, Buchanan decided to leave his pastoral ministry to focus on world hunger. In 1998, he founded Stop Hunger Now, which coordinates the distribution of food and other lifesaving aid to children and families in countries all over the world.

"Ever since the 60s, we've had more than enough food to feed every single person on this planet," Buchanan said. "So, to me, having 25,000 people die every single day is a moral obscenity."

Buchanan believes there is no bigger issue facing the world, and there is a moral obligation to end hunger. But he says for that to happen there needs to be a worldwide movement.

"We had apartheid in South Africa that was overcome when enough people said enough is enough," Buchanan explained. "That's what has to happen to end hunger. We have to create enough understanding about hunger to where no one will tolerate it anymore. That's my job is to change the world."

And he is slowly changing the world. Since 1998, Stop Hunger Now has provided more than $56 million worth of direct aid and 18 million meals to more than 70 countries worldwide.

"Everything we do has an impact, and all we have to do is get that story out to more people and there will come a day in our lifetime when we can say hunger is just a memory that's what I'm after," he said.

For more information about Stop Hunger Now, click here.

To nominate someone for Eyewitness News Person of the Week, click here.

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