Meeting the World’s Hunger with ‘Deep Gladness’

By Debbie Selinsky

“Go not to those who need you, but to those who need you the most.” — John Wesley

For Lee Warren D’04, the search for the intersection of what theologian Frederick Buechner calls each person’s “deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger” often seemed circuitous.

John Gordon/UMWS
Lunchtime at the Haiti Outreach Ministries School

Yet if the path leading to her current work as Virginia director for Stop Hunger Now took a few unexpected turns, she says it was worth it. Warren is just where she wants to be — helping satisfy hunger both physical and spiritual.

“We’re all starving for something,” says the former high school French teacher who was an empty-nester when she began to commute from her home in South Hill, Va., to Duke to pursue her master of divinity degree. “A lot of us are starving to give; sometimes people just need to be shown where and how they can do it.”

Warren, who believes that caring for “the least of these” is a moral imperative that transforms the lives of both recipient and giver, brings a lifelong interest in other countries and cultures to Stop Hunger Now’s commitment to ending global hunger.

Stop Hunger Now does that by bringing together givers from colleges, churches, and civic organizations. But donor involvement doesn’t end there. In addition to writing a check, donors are encouraged to take an active role by helping package meals and supplies that are stocked in a network of Operation Sharehouses in Virginia
and North Carolina.

“I had been focusing on spiritual transformation, and I found that if I listened very carefully to who I am and what I am created to do and be, God calls me to what theologian Frederick Buechner describes as ‘the place where our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet,’ ” Warren says. “That’s the way I work with God. I seek the ‘deep gladness’ that uses all my strengths, makes my cylinders run, and feeds my soul. When we’re really fed, we do our best work.”

Warren recalls asking God: “What am I meant to do to help serve the world’s hunger?”

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