By William Lambers
The biggest global crisis we are facing right now is hunger. We need everyone to help stop hunger from taking millions of lives.
The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) warns that “the number of people facing acute food insecurity has increased – from 135 million to 345 million – since 2019. A total of 50 million people in 45 countries are teetering on the brink of starvation.”
Conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have led to this increase in hunger. The war in Ukraine further worsened world hunger as it cut off large supplies of wheat and raised prices even further.
Yet there is so little attention given this global hunger crisis. One rarely hears about the children starving to death due to the civil war in Yemen, or that one person dies of starvation every 48 seconds in East Africa.
There is a shortage of funds for humanitarian aid in the world’s most needy places. This is often due to the fact that there is insufficient awareness of emerging hunger emergencies. Awareness leads to activism.
This is where you can step in. In 1946, when famine threatened to strike Europe and Asia after World War II, it was civic activism that made the difference.
Famine Emergency Committees were formed in cities at the request of President Harry Truman and Food Ambassador Herbert Hoover. Everyone was needed to help preserve food and encourage donations for needy, war-torn countries.
Schools responded to the call to action. Students held fundraisers to send donations overseas to help with famine relief. The classes had exercises learning what hunger is and which countries are in great need.
It was activism at all levels from the president to the schools that made the difference in saving hundreds of millions from starvation after World War II.
These are the actions we need today to tackle global hunger.
Anyone can spread the word about the global hunger crisis and encourage people to get involved. You can host an event and encourage donations to humanitarian agencies like WFP, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, Mercy Corps, CARE and others that fight hunger
You can hold a letter writing session to Congress encouraging them to increase funding for global food aid. You can educate your representatives about global hunger so they can take the right action.
Schools can once again make a big difference and have even more tools they can use to fight global hunger. One of them is the online game FreeRice, where you answer trivia questions, and each correct answer raises a donation for the United Nations World Food Program. FreeRice has many popular categories including vocabulary, history and science.
FreeRice’s Focus on Food and Sustainability section can educate students on issues affecting hunger. Also, the Hunger Heroes section highlights past efforts to fight hunger and provides inspiration for today’s fight. Schools can also create FreeRice teams in the groups section and show off their knowledge while fighting hunger. Schools can become a vital source of information and activism during this global hunger crisis.
There is enough food in the world for everyone. No one should die of hunger. If enough people take action, we can do something about it.
William Lambers is an author who has partnered with the United Nations World Food Program on the book Ending World Hunger.