NEW YORK – World Food Day occurs every October 16 as an effort to remind everyday people like you and me that 11% of the world population is hungry.
I had been blissfully unaware that anyone in the world suffered from hunger until I saw the movie, Oliver! In 1968. My naïve, young mind was shocked by the reality of what Dicken’s fiction portrayed. I would never forget how they sang so mournfully,
What wouldn’t we give for
That extra bit more
That’s all we live for
Why should we be fated to do
Nothing but brood on food
Food, Glorious Food. Glorious Food!
It took far too many more years for me to realize that there were literally millions of people currently living in poverty who would give anything for “that extra bit more.” Perhaps those of us who have been blessed with prosperity still don’t grasp the issue of hunger around the world. If saying that 11% of the world population is hungry is not enough to move us to action, perhaps this will:
11% of the world population is 858 million people!
Let me put that into perspective.
858,000,000 is double the population of the United States, PLUS another 200 million.
Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to the world food problem. It certainly does not appear that the United Nations is going to be able to come even close to achieving its 2030 Sustainable Development Goals that include eliminating hunger.
It’s not a matter of the world not having enough food. More than four billion metric tons of food is produced every year. That’s more than enough to feed everyone on the planet. The Lord created every part of this world to be bountiful.
Food scarcity is not a lack of food. It is a result of wasted food. Compassion International explains that “Developed countries leave food on the plate, and developing countries leave food in the field or lose it in production.”
Social inequalities, natural disasters, protracted conflicts, and ignorance of best practices in production, preservation, and distribution are a few of the factors that lead to food scarcity.
There are two fundamental ways to better feed the hungry: globally and locally. Neither you nor I are likely equipped to tackle the global problem, but we can support faith-based organizations that represent a vital part of the global solution.
Locally, we need to make ourselves aware of those around us who are jobless, homeless, and looking for hope.
World Food Day on October 16, 2020, is an ideal time to ask, “What more I can do?” Ask the question. Answer it. Then, act on it.