Using Half of my Time for the Hungry

For my summer reading, I had to read three books. We all had to read Wonder. Then, we got to pick another book (I picked The Wednesday Wars). Finally, we picked 1 of 3 books that had a good moral to it, relating to mitzvahs. I picked the Power of Half, written by Kevin Salwen and Hannah Salwen, a father-daughter team.

The Salwens were a successful family, living in their “dream house” in Atlanta, GA. One day, while driving, Hannah saw a man driving a Mercedes and a man holding a sign saying “I’m Hungry”. Hannah thought that if the the man with the Mercedes had a cheaper car, then the hungry man could have a meal. This led the Salwens to sell their house, move into one half the size, and give half of the profits they got from selling the house to charity. They ended up building an epicenter in Africa, through The Hunger Project.They gave the funds, and then the people living in the villages build the epicenter, which contained a food bank, credit union, health center, library, community meeting hall, preschool, classrooms for literacy training and food-processing equipment. During the project, the whole family became closer.

I liked the idea of the book, but not the book itself. I liked how they decided to sell their house and give half of the profits, and it was toward a plague I really want to fight: hunger. However, I don’t like how the book was written. It was written very slow. It seemed that most of the book was them talking about what they were going to do, and they didn’t actually do it until the last chapter. I found it very boring until about page 70. Then it got a little interesting.

 “One mitzvah leads to another” – Pirke Avot

I believe that this verse means that once you do one nice thing, you stick to it and keep doing good deeds. You become attracted to it. This applies to the book because they did one thing, and then kept doing others. They started out occasionally volunteering at places like soup kitchens. Then, they decided to sell their house and give the profits to the epicenter. Also, when you do a mitzvah, it draws other people in. The couple who bought the house gave them 100,000 dollars towards the project.

Finally, we were asked to do a project related to the book. Well, I read in the book that you don’t have to give money, you could also give things like donations or time toward volunteering. I decided to give most, not half, of my computer time towards fighting hunger. I get about one hour of computer time per day. So, from August 5 to August 19, I spent most of my time on Freerice. I donated 23,080 grains, which is 2,308 questions answered. Well, I didn’t do all of them. Like I said in the previous paragraph, doing a mitzvah draws others in. My grandfather earned about 2,000 of those grains. doing that made me feel really good, knowing that I did something good with my time.


The book The Power of Half.

The book The Power of Half.