World Mission

Food For The Hungry's Ben Homan fights the waste of our world's food resources every day. But even this North Scottsdale dad has trouble getting his own kids to clean their plates.


Published: AZ, April, 2007


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Like all dads, Ben Homan has had those moments at the dinner table when one or more of the kids has gotten finicky over an untouched plate of hard-earned groceries. And more than once, he’s been tempted to bellow that age-old dad-ism immortalized by “Weird Al” Yankovic: “Well, don’t you know that other kids are starving in Japan? So eat it, just eat it!”

Except this dad has seen first-hand what he’s talking about, and he can get much more accurate about where those other kids are doing the most starving.

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“Darfur has been getting a lot of attention lately, but southern Sudan is in great need, too. Northern Uganda, central Africa, the Congo – I could go on and on.”

Ben Homan is president of Food For The Hungry, an international relief and development ministry with its U.S. headquarters in downtown Phoenix. Charity watchdog Ministry Watch gives FH gold stars in efficiency and accountability, ranking it 20th out of the nearly 450 organizations it monitors, and Homan was recently appointed by President Bush to the Helping to Enhance the Livelihood of People (HELP) Around the Globe Commission, honoring his work over the past 6 years in promoting self-sufficiency in more than 45 developing countries.

But Homan hasn’t exactly taken a vow of poverty to do this good work – public figures for the non-profit list his 2005 compensation at over $162,000 – and he admits that sometimes it can be jarring working in Darfur one day and coming home the next to his tony neighborhood in north Scottsdale.

“It’s a difficult pivot,” he says. “I remember being in Afganistan with people who were literally dismantling their homes to get wood they could use to buy food in the marketplace. And then I returned to Scottsdale, and there were times I couldn’t drive past a grocery store without pulling to the side of the road, feeling a wave of emotion over the thought of all the abundance in there.”

Homan doesn’t force his own kids to go without, but he says he makes sure they’re thankful for all they get.

“The important thing to remember is that with the comfort and wealth of our community comes responsibility,” he says.

That, and gratitude. “Let’s just say that when we say grace at the table, it’s not just words.”

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Photo by Michael Taft

image 1Food For The Hungry's Ben Homan: “The important thing to remember is that with the comfort and wealth of our community comes responsibility."