Half the world—three billion people—live on less than $2 per person per day. Global food production, already under strain from the credit crunch, must double by 2050 to head off mass hunger, according to the head of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. The food crisis pushed another 40 million people into hunger, bringing the global number of undernourished people to 973 million last year out of a total population of around 6.5 billion. Sixteen thousand children under the age of five still die every day as a result of hunger related diseases—that is one every five seconds. Hunger and malnutrition are the number-one risk to global health, killing more people than AIDS, malaria, and TB combined. Hunger is not just a problem in poor countries, however. In the U.S., 38 million people are at risk of hunger, and as a consequence, the US has the highest infant mortality rate of any Western nation.
Forecasts show the price of corn rising by another 25 percent by 2020 due to the increased demand for ethanol the production of which took 30% of the US cereal crop in 2008. Filling an SUV’s tank with ethanol and can use enough corn to feed a person for a year.
During this second week of Lent, we want to identify with those in our world who are chronically hungry and investigate ways that we can assist them in their struggle to establish food security.
Here are some suggestions for the week:
1. Each time you shop during the week, buy an extra bag of groceries and donate them to a local foodbank.
2. Prepare all your meals at home and donate what you would normally spend on eating out to an organization that works with the poor.
3. Halve your food budget for the week and donate the money you save to an organization that works with the poor.