World Food Day: Hunger Here and Far

FreeRice has two goals: Provide education to everyone for free. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

Tuesday, October 16th, is World Food Day. But for 870 million hungry people across the globe this day is just another one of suffering. What can you do on World Food Day to help them?

When you sit down to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner on World Food Day imagine an “invisible guest” at your table, one of the world’s hungry. This is exactly what Americans did after World War I in a fundraiser led by Herbert Hoover and General John Pershing.

You could feed that “invisible guest” with a donation of even a few dollars to a humanitarian group like the World Food Programme, Save the Children, Church World Service or Catholic Relief Services. Or you can donate to a food bank in your area. You can fight hunger at home and abroad.

On World Food Day you can also take action with a computer, a cell phone and Facebook. You can visit the site and play an award-winning education game where for every correct answer 10 grains of rice are donated to the World Food Programme. You can test yourself in vocabulary, math, or even the SAT.

Need inspiration? Free Rice has a famous quotes section. The more people play, the greater action against world hunger.

If we saw someone suffering from hunger before our eyes we would take action. For many of us though, hunger may be hidden from view or taking place in a land far away so we do not always feel connected to the crisis. In many cases we may not be aware. Hunger often does not make the news headlines.

Right now, there are hungry people displaced by flooding and conflict in South Sudan, some who are hard to reach because of poor roads.

We have heard about the conflict in Syria. That war has also led to a major hunger crisis for millions of people, some displaced inside Syria and others who have fled to neighboring countries. Even if the fighting in Syria were to end today, there still would be an emergency for months to come, especially with the damage to the country’s farms.

In the Sahel region of Africa, East Africa, Afghanistan, Yemen and other countries millions of children are suffering severe malnutrition. They just need some food to stay alive and avoid the physical and mental damage caused by malnutrition. Without food societies cannot develop.

Global hunger needs to be part of the public conversation and also that amongst our leaders. How often has it even come up though during this election season? If the public is not talking about it and the leaders are not either, we won’t see powerful enough action against this global menace. You can make a difference there too by just communicating with government leaders about hunger. Get a conversation going with those who are there to represent your interests.

Hunger is the greatest threat to peace and development. It can be defeated though. But it takes a strong enough collective will and that can start with you on World Food Day.

Article first published as World Food Day: Hunger Here and Far on Blogcritics and at the Des Moines Register.

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