WHY stands for World Hunger Year, an event that turned into an organization.
Back in 1975 its co-founders, the late Harry Chapin, and DJ Bill Ayers had no idea either how successful their efforts would be, or unfortunately, how much they would be needed.
Formed in early 1975, WHY set out to find an answer to why there was so much poverty and hunger in a world that could feed itself.
Harry, the gregarious singer and humanitarian activist partnered with Bill, and NYC’s famed WNEW 102.7 FM radio station to broadcast the first Hungerthon, a 24-hour call-in fundraiser on Thanksgiving weekend.
This all comes to mind because stunningly, it was 30 years ago today that Harry Chapin’s very bright light went out. On his way to perform at a free benefit concert, in a car accident in Long Island NY.
This sudden and double loss of both talent and promise made wondering ‘what if’? particularly poignant, but it also propelled WHY-now called WhyHunger- onto great things.
Appropriately, this week, WhyHunger was one of 1,500 charities-out of over 1.2 million-to receive a four-star designation from Charity Navigator, the premiere charity rating organization in the country.
Harry wrote and sang songs about ordinary people, in ordinary circumstances; but he told their stories with extraordinary humor, grace, and insight.
Life lived, love-lost and found, and dreams dared to be pursued were some of his favorite topics.
Inspiration for many of his songs came from real life-his own, and others. I Want To Learn A Love Song is the story of how he met his wife, Sandy; I like to think perhaps Dreams Go By was his vision for their future.
Circle is probably one of his more well-known ballads, but my heart absolutely soars when I hear the haunting and bittersweet tale of Mr. Tanner. It’s 7o’s video, but relax and make your ears happy.>
Now that you know about Why Hunger, please keep them in mind, and watch for them in my annual holiday gift-giving with heart series, Giving the Gift.