The Hunger Crisis Continues
Hunger. We all know that gnawing feeling that we get when our stomach is empty and it’s time for our next snack or meal. Fortunately, for most reading this blog, finding food is an easy process. We stop at the store, restaurant or our own kitchen, open the fridge or cabinet and help ourselves. Rarely do many Westerners understand the depth of true hunger. I’m referring to a hunger that is daily and long lasting. Hunger that weakens the body, mind and soul. Hunger and malnutrition that causes disease, stunted growth and causes sickness in children on average of 160 days per year. Even worse, the type of hunger that causes a child to die every 5 seconds.
This must stop. There must be enough of us that care about children everywhere to eradicate hunger in our lifetime.
They say that good food is one of the most incredible pleasures we have here on Earth, and nothing brings people together like a great meal. I agree. I love to cook for friends and family and take immense pleasure in what a good meal brings to the table, so to speak. I know that I am not alone in that feeling. We Americans love a great dinner party, do we not?!
First and foremost, a good meal brings happiness to the taste buds, the stomach and the soul. A good meal brings togetherness, lifts our spirits and breeds communing with one another. Without good food, life becomes incredibly difficult, harsh and hopeless. Even more so, lack of nutrition causes disease, inability to function, learn, thrive and leads to early death.
I have witnessed incredible hunger in the regions we work, especially during the pandemic. Although there are hungry people everywhere and not everyone has the same access to food, even here in the U.S., what I’m referring to is the hunger that exists in other places around the world where it is constant: day after day, week after week, year after year.
September is Hunger Awareness Month, and in case you haven’t noticed, this problem is only worsening around the globe. Here are some sad and devastating statistics on the hunger crisis millions of children face daily:
690 million undernourished or hungry people in the world.
840 million people are forecast to be hungry in 2030 based on current trends.
8.9 percent of people in the world are hungry.
2 billion people are unable to access safe, nutritious and sufficient food year-round.
750 million people are severely food insecure.
3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet.
5 starch-only meals can be purchased for the cost of a single healthy meal.
97 percent of health costs could be offset by switching to healthy diets.
74 percent of gas emissions costs could be offset by switching to healthy diets.
132 million: the additional number of people in 2020, who could become chronically hungry, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hunger crisis continues to rise with Sub-Saharan Africa leading the way. By the year 2030, this number is expected to rise significantly. It is worsening, not improving no matter how hard some organizations have worked to cease this global hunger crisis.
After witnessing the levels of hunger in the South African region we work, and observing the slight builds of the children, their small hands in mine, we vowed to plan, strategize and implement programs that would alleviate the food crisis with the children and the caregivers in the field where Moms House is busy at work.
With that in mind, we have added an additional phase we will implement in every community we will work in Africa and South America: farming. We have begun farming in South Africa and have just yielded a bumper crop in our village, Somerset. For the first time, the orphaned and vulnerable children are receiving healthy vegetables with their daily meal, as well as the caregivers that have dedicated their lives to care for these children. There is such a plentitude of produce, the caregivers are able to bring the leftovers home to their families where more can enjoy our fresh farmed produce. The children are learning how to farm for their futures.
We know that in these regions, most plates are filled with intense carbohydrates. Rice, corn, potatoes and yucca are the staples. Type 2 diabetes becomes prevalent. The elderly then live with this disease without treatment, causing a host of issues such as gangrene, organ issues and heart disease. Because there is very little access to proteins or produce, our future plans include egg laying chickens, goats and other sources of protein to affect the diet positively for decades to come.
This is our strategy to affect tremendous change in all communities we work. Our intention and strategic plan is to grow enough food to support the communities and the food programs we have instilled for the children, as well as the communities as a whole.
This is also the case in the communities in the Peruvian Amazon jungle where Moms House is building out programs to address the same problem. Many families in this community hunt for wild bananas daily and have been their only sustenance since the beginning of Covid. This region receives no government support and the people are hungry.
To really lean into these facts and just imagine your child being so malnourished they were sick, undersized and hopeless, must move anyone who has a heart. I believe we can end hunger. I believe there are enough people in the world, particularly in the Western cultures, that we can change this path toward even more children suffering from hunger. I believe if we stand up for what is right - that no
child should starve to death - we can change the world. Will you join me?
I remember one night in the jungle, deep in meditative prayer. I was talking to God about Moms House and how I was going to be able to grow this organization and create the most impact possible with the time I have left on Earth. The answer came as quickly as when I asked the question:
“Theresa, it is not about just you doing this and about Moms House For Children. It is about being a torchbearer for as many other Westerners as possible to help their global brothers and sisters”. I walked away from that experience knowing that for the rest of my life, I will continue to beat the drum of charity, service and giving to others around the world. Borders don’t matter when it comes to humanitarian crises. For, we are all one people, one race: the human race.
The hunger crisis is real. Please join us, or some other nonprofit that is working to eradicate hunger on a global scale.