We all have to eat, but more than 785 million people around the world don’t get enough food to sustain a healthy lifestyle, according to the World Food Program. That includes an estimated 13.5 million Americans.
Armed conflict, extreme weather patterns, economic shocks and health crises — including the Covid-19 pandemic — are driving increased food insecurity. Additionally, the U.S. annual rate of inflation was 8.3 percent in August, up from 5.25 a year ago, making it more difficult for the needy to buy food.
October 16 has been designated as World Food Day by the United Nations to draw attention to this serious problem. On World Food Day more than 150 countries unite to raise awareness of the issues surrounding poverty and hunger.
The federal nutrition program provides needy children meals at school. Difficulties in providing food for them include the number of meals per day that are provided and the effectiveness of getting meals to kids when schools aren’t in session.
Families in need can text FOOD or COMIDA to 304-304 to find meals nearby.
Youngsters need to learn early where food comes from and that not everyone gets enough to eat. Among the children’s picture books about hunger:
Lulu and the Hunger Monster by Erik Talkin. A young girl tells friends what it’s like to battle the Hunger Monster.
Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt. A young girl discovers that her friend’s refrigerator is empty.
Here is a YouTube link of actress Jennifer Garner reading the book:
Saturday at the Food Pantry by Diane O’Neill, a sensitive story about food insecurity.
How to Help People in Need:
Donate money and non-perishable goods to food banks and relief organizations. Food banks have been busier than ever in recent years as the number of displaced people increased dramatically.
Support nonprofit efforts. No Kids Hungry and National Resources Defense Council are not-for-profit organizations that lobby for government food assistance for the needy. Both accept donations.
Volunteer at a local food bank or an organization that provides meals to the poor. By helping out in your community, you can learn first-hand about local needs.
Respect food. Buy only what you need and consume it before it spoils. Some experts believe world hunger could be significantly reduced if less food was wasted during agricultural production and post-harvest storage.
Choose food wisely. Local foods that travel short distances from farm to table are usually less expensive.
Reduce your energy consumption. It cuts our impact on the environment and makes more available for food production.
Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist who also writes stories for children.