International (MNN) — Today is World Food Day and Gary Edmonds with Food for the Hungry says it needs to serve not just as a call to awareness, but also to action.
“When we talk about World Food Day, we need to realize that many times we’re not aware of just the reality of people — literally around two-thirds of the planet — who often are food insecure. They don’t know when the next meal is going to come,” Edmonds explains.
“We are facing the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of the second World War. In parts … of East Africa and the Middle East, they are literally at risk. The numbers are astounding — 20 million people who are at risk of starvation right now.”
In addition to the global statistics on food insecurity, The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that one out of nine people in the world were suffering from chronic undernourishment between 2014-2016.
A Story of Hunger
Talking about the reality of hunger and food insecurity is one thing. But witnessing it will change your life.
For example, Edmonds was traveling in an African country and agreed to visit a community’s school. “They said, ‘You’re going to go into a school today where several children have been killed by classmates simply for the sake of obtaining the plate of food that their classmates possessed.’ And I thought, how horrific. That is just unconscionable.”
“They went on to say that…all of these children, they’re in families, they’re in home environments where many of them have not eaten for the past three or four days and so because of their desperation, they did something very desperate.”
It’s time for the Church to step up. Christians in the United States are only tithing 2.5 percent per capita.
But if each professed believer in the American Church began giving 10 percent of their income, there would be another $165 billion for churches to put into missions and outreach initiatives. An estimated $25 billion of that could eradicate global hunger, starvation, and deaths from preventable diseases in just five years.
“We can do something about it. We can be God’s agents of compassion. We can be his agents of mercy and of justice for these kinds of people. We can bring the truth of the Gospel that God is a good God. God is a caring God. So I would say to us as a people right now…let’s respond. Let’s not be silent.”
Food for the Hungry works to foster food stability for 2,800 communities in over 20 different countries. Their ministry includes livelihood and agricultural training, nutrition and wellness education, clean water projects, and more!
Edmonds shares, “We want to help people learn how to cultivate food. We want them to be food secure in the sense that throughout the course of the entire year they actually have access to food and foodstuffs to feed themselves, to feed their children at least a minimum of twice a day.
“We’re trying to restore them to a place of dignity, of health, and well-being for all that allows them to have the appropriate nutrition, that they can grow up to their full status and well-being, that they can get themselves educated, and that they can have a hope and a future in line with what would be God’s intent and God’s desire for them.”
FH also provides disaster response and emergency aid. “When people are on the edge of starvation, we are transporting food, we’re transporting water into literally feeding hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in certain situations. So you can be a help to stem the tide of those who are in desperate starvation states.”
Another major part of FH’s initiative is child-focused community transformation. Edmonds explains, “We have learned that the health, the well-being, the nurture, the educational opportunities of a child, it’s the quickest way to determine the health and relative well-being of a community, of a society. So we focus on children, not exclusively but with the understanding that children, if they’re cared for, if they’re loved in this kind of a way, then likely the community is going to be moving in a positive direction.”
When a person or child is missing meals, it’s harder for them to go to school. It’s harder for them to get a job. It’s harder for them to take care of their loved ones.
When you give to food initiatives that emphasize long-term sustainability and community growth, you are literally uplifting the lives of people who don’t know where their next meal will come from. You are showing them God’s compassion. And in Food for the Hungry’s case, this ministry is opening Gospel conversations.
Finally, Edmonds asks, “Pray that God would be merciful, that he would move the minds and the hearts of his people, move the minds and the hearts of his Church in such a way that they would respond to this kind of a call for justice.”