World Food Day, October 16, marks 38 years since the initiative to eradicate world hunger was established by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The goal is to end world hunger by 2030 through finding sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty.
Though there are many agencies around the world working to ensure that every person has access to nutritious meals, there is much that individuals can do to help as well.
Many people have become desensitized and disconnected to the fact that millions of people are hungry. “People need to adopt a new mindset by using the Earth’s resources more wisely, follow nutritious diets and also change day-to-day actions with the aim of reducing waste and taking on a more sustainable lifestyle,” Viorel Gutu, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) representative in Turkey stated.
Poverty breeds poverty and causes inner pain and disturbances by affecting body and soul. “Not only should organizations ensure that hungry people have daily access to nutritional food, but they also need to help people break out of the cycle of poverty by providing social services and education to help people become self-reliant,” explained Danielle Rubin, Project Director for American Friends of Meir Panim. “Doing all this while maintaining dignity and stopping the marginalization of impoverished people takes tremendous skill, compassion and resources.”
Meir Panim charity organization works to end hunger in Israel. They use a holistic approach towards eliminating hunger and poverty. With more than 821 million people in the world not having enough food, Israel, alone has 1.8 million people living beneath the poverty line.
“Chronic hunger occurs when people lack opportunities to earn enough income to feed themselves and their families,” continued Rubin. “By providing skills and education, many can break out of the cycle of poverty.”
To that end, Meir Panim not only maintains soup kitchens throughout Israel, it also supports after school programs for youth at risk which provide tutors for students to help them succeed in school as well as computer labs and classes to improve general life skills.
The United Nations cites several reasons how eliminating hunger could change the future of the world. These include:
- Saving the lives of 3.1 million children a year
- Improving children’s health as healthier mother’s have children with stronger immune systems
- Improving human productivity as under-nutrition harms brain function
- Every dollar invested in hunger prevention offers a return of between $15 and $139 in world benefits
- Proper nutrition early in life could mean 46 percent more lifetime earnings
- Decreasing child mortality through better nutrition could increase the workforce by 9.4 percent
- Decrease in world conflicts as hunger often drives wars
To participate in helping to end world hunger, not only can individuals donate to quality organizations who place feeding and helping the hungry on the top of their agenda, but they should also consider the following:
- Strive to reduce food waste. It is estimated that one-third of food produced each year goes to waste. This comes to about 1.3 billion tons of food which is four times the amount needed to feed hungry people worldwide.
- Purchase food from local farmers. This encourages sustainable agricultural methods which improves food production.
- Eat a healthy, low processed diet. Not only with this improve one’s overall health, but it also encourages the use of less ingredients and packaging, improving the earth’s health and reducing climate change. The World Bank predicts that climate change has the potential to cut crop yields by more than 25 percent.
“Zero world hunger, for which World Food Day raises awareness, is a wake-up call for all of us,” said Rubin. “Each person needs to take some level of responsibility in making the world a better, more sustainable place – whether by supporting organizations who feed the hungry, or by doing what we can in our own lives to help those who may be struggling in our own communities.”
To donate to Meir Panim’s network of social welfare programs, please visit here.