According to the World Food Programme,

842 Million (1 in 8) people in the world do not eat enough to be healthy.

One in six children in developing countries (roughly 100 million) is underweight.

One in four of the world’s children are stunted.

In developing countries, a third of all child deaths are linked to hunger.

If children don’t receive nutritious food in their first 2 years, they may be stunted for life. 

It costs 25 US Cents per day to give a child all the nutrients needed to grow up healthy. 

In the United States,

14.5 percent of U.S. households struggle to put enough food on the table. More than 48 million Americans—including 15.9 million children—live in these households.  (Source: Household Food Security in the United States, 2010. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, September 2011. (Table 1A, Table 1B))

Of the more than 20 million children who receive free or reduced-price lunch each school day, less than half receive breakfast and only 10 percent access summer feeding sites. (Source: FY2010 Program Data. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.)

Low-income households already spend a greater share of their income on food. Food accounts for 16.4 percent of spending for households making less than $10,000 per year compared to the U.S. average of 12.7 percent.  (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2006.)

Eric Holt Gimenez of Food First and the Institute for Food and Development Policy stated that “Hunger is caused by poverty and inequality, not scarcity…The world already produces more than 1 ½ times enough food to feed everyone on the planet. That’s enough to feed 10 billion people…” 

WHAT?! 

When I hear these statistics or see photographs of starving human beings from all over world, my response is one of confusion and outrage.  Food exists in such abundance, so why are so many people in the world, even in developed countries, going hungry? 

The causes that the World Hunger Programme proposes include natural disasters that reduce the yield of livestock and crops, wars in which soldiers systematically starve opponents and destroy their food sources, poverty that prevents people from being able to afford food, and poor farming practices that destroy the world’s fertile land.

Ultimately, the inequity in food distribution is a complex social issue that is closely related to other cyclical social injustices like poverty and homelessness.  Solving world hunger would require an immense comprehensive reform that altered the operations of our global society.  

Campus Ministry addresses hunger in Buffalo in many capacities.  Every Sunday at 4pm in the Chapel Undercroft, students prepare sandwiches and deliver them directly to the hungry and homeless in Downtown Buffalo.  Similarly for the Burrito Project, on the last Tuesday of each month, students gather in the Undercroft at 6pm to prepare burritos and deliver them directly to the hungry in Buffalo.  On Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and some Saturdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Canisius students serve the hungry at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy Soup Kitchen.  Finally, every Wednesday from 2:30pm until 6:00 pm, students serve at the South Buffalo Community Table Soup Kitchen.

To get involved with Sandwich Ministry, the Burrito Project or the South Buffalo Community Table Soup Kitchen contact Erin Gaddi at gaddie@canisius.edu.

To get involved with St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy Soup Kitchen contact Will Siegner at siegnerw@canisius.edu.

To gain more insight into global food distribution, attend USA J.U.S.T.I.C.E.’s Hunger Banquet on Thursday 11/7 at 7pm in Penfold Commons. For more information, contact me, Ashleigh Maciejewski, at maciejea@my.canisius.edu.

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