While the majority of the people in our country are concerned with fad dieting, the next big weight loss pill, or how to shed those extra pounds, we often forget that there are many other people in the world, and even in our own country, who do not have this privilege. There are
thousands MILLIONS of people who do not have the luxury of being concerned with what they eat. Rather, they are worried if they will eat and where their next meal will come from. In a country of excess, it may be easy to overlook the fact that people are going hungry. In 2010, 48.8 million Americans lived in food insecure households, and it doesn’t look like these statistics are improving. The number of households living with very low food security- meaning that food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times, increased from 5.4% of households in 2010 to 5.7% of households in 2011. You may be sitting there thinking, “How can I make a difference? I’m only one person.” But you CAN make a difference!
Unfortunately it’s sad but true, you won’t be able to rid the world of hunger overnight. But you could possibly have a positive impact on the life of another person simply by donating your time, money, or materials.
To start having a positive impact today, why not volunteer your time at a local food bank or soup kitchen? These organizations are often run solely based on the dedication and efforts of those willing to take time out of their own day to make a difference for those who are less fortunate. Many wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the commitment of community members. You can donate all of the money and food you want (which of course are always needed), but these supplies wouldn’t reach the people who need them if it weren’t for the dedicated volunteers running many of these programs.
There are many programs with the mission of fighting hunger on a national scale. Feeding America is only one of these programs, which happens to be the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Their mission is to not only help feed the hungry through a nationwide network of food banks, but to also engage our country in the fight to end hunger. Feeding America is an organization that provides fresh and nutritious foods to Americans struggling with hunger. Their program also provides a safe and nurturing place for children to have a meal, emergency assistance for disaster victims, and the chance for adults to break the cycle of poverty and hunger by helping them to become self-sufficient. You can help this program, and other nationally focused organizations, by volunteering, advocating for changes in legislation, or making a generous donation.
Hunger not only exists in our nation, but also world wide. A whopping 98% of people experiencing chronic hunger live in the developing world. Luckily, there are programs like The Hunger Project (THP), which works to empower rural communities in strengthening their self-reliance. Unlike many programs, which often send shipments of food to those in need, THP focuses on a sustainable effort to fight hunger by providing the tools and training needed to increase farm production at a local level. THP is also a program which helps to develop income-generating activities, so that families can afford to buy the food they need. Of course a donation can always support this program, but you can also help by working for the organization, shopping on sites that give a portion of their proceeds to THP, or by hosting a local event to improve awareness.
Please use the list above as a resource to help jump-start your action plan to put an end to hunger. The organizations listed above are only a few of the many working toward the same goal. Whether you make a short-term or a long-term commitment to fighting hunger, every little bit helps. Perhaps you do not have the time, money, or materials to spare. Don’t worry, you can still help those in need. You can always use your voice to spread the word and get others interesting in joining the fight to end hunger.
What will you do today to help end hunger?
An Intern Behind the Plate,