RALEIGH, NC – If your family is like mine, hardly a day goes by without at least one email or snail mail soliciting donations to support charitable organizations whose work is to feed hungry families.
Will it never end?
Not the solicitations – the hunger.
The earth has more than enough food to feed the entire population. The problem is that nutritious food is not always available where the hungry live. Some are continually hungry, like those in developing countries and those within the 10/40 Window. Others suffer short-term hunger as a result of natural or man-made disasters. Regardless, food scarcity is an existential issue for anyone facing hunger at any time, especially for an extended period of time.
There is also an adequate number of food production and distribution capacity and capability available to deliver nutritious meals to where they are most needed. The objective of NGOs focused on feeding the hungry is two-pronged: to get food to where it is needed now and to establish systems of making nutritious food available long-term in the hopes of eventually eradicating global food insecurity.
What can be done?
Missions Box recently checked in with Rise Against Hunger to get some answers.
Rise Against Hunger was established as Stop Hunger Now by Pastor Ray Buchanan in 1998. The name change to Rise Against Hunger happened in 2017 “to reflect and encompass [the organization’s] growing portfolio of programs designed to address the root causes of hunger around the globe and empower communities to rise for decades to come.”
In its brief history, Rise Against Hunger has impacted 1.8 million people in 78 countries. They have packaged and distributed more than 543 million meals.
A series of questions and answers from the Rise Against Hunger website provides insight into how they are successfully doing their part as they collaborate with other NGOs working directly with people suffering from malnutrition and potential starvation.
Is it really possible to end the world hunger crisis?
Rise Against Hunger meals are used to target under-resourced schools and health centers. The two most important factors in economic growth and poverty reduction, education, and health are addressed through this approach.
[We] strive with the hunger community to end apathy towards hunger and to create a movement to end hunger in our lifetime.
Is distribution through “under-resourced schools and health centers” a viable best practice?
Hunger experts agree that school feeding programs are the most effective tool for increasing access to education and improving the nutritional status of children.
How do you deal with the issue of “apathy towards hunger?”
[We use volunteers to package our meals] because we want to engage as many people as possible in the movement to eradicate hunger.
Our events also serve as a platform to educate people about hunger, what they can do about it, and to inspire them to take further action.
Don’t you hurt local farming economies by providing free meals? Doesn’t doing so limit the farmers’ ability to earn a viable income?
By supporting school feeding programs, we are [actually] helping the local farmer/food provider.
Economically, these school programs have a limited amount of money to buy food, whether locally or elsewhere. When the school program does not have to spend its food money on this basic nutrition, it can spend what money it has to buy additional food from local farmers. This will further increase the nutritional intake of the students, as well as provide additional income to the local farmer.
With what other NGOs do you collaborate, and how do you hold them accountable for final distribution?
[Our potential] partners complete an aid request application. Once this form is complete, our Global Impact team determines if the requesting organization meets the requirements to receive a shipment of meals or donated aid. These requirements include accountability, importation (the ability to cover shipping costs), storage, and distribution.
We currently require that our in-country partners report on the impact of the Rise Against Hunger shipments they received. Our strategic plan recognizes the challenges of getting impact reports from our in-country partners.
Do you help to provide access to clean water in the places your in-country partners work?
Organizations that receive our meals must be able to demonstrate they have access to water. In some cases, Rise Against Hunger has provided limited funding to help a community develop access to water, but this is not our focus, and our resources are limited for this purpose . . . We encourage partnerships with organizations that focus on providing clean water. The meals are cooked to 150 degrees, which ensures any parasites are killed during preparation.
Rise Against Hunger is doing an admirable job as a significant entity in the cadre of NGOs focused on feeding the under and malnourished. The job is greater than any one group can address. To expect any organization to overcome the global hunger crisis on its own is simply unrealistic.
Rise Against Hunger and like-minded organizations keep asking for our support because it will take all of us working together to feed the world. When you get that solicitation mailing, remember that you CAN DO SOMETHING. As Mother Teresa said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
Sources: Rise Against Hunger, Official Website