Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ruminating about food and hunger

"There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread."
~ Mohandas Ghandi

Today is Blog Action Day, when bloggers around the world take on a single topic. Since this is also World Food Day, the topic for 2011 is food.

While there are many ways to think about food, the one that matters most to millions of people right now is the lack of it. As this UNICEF video shows, millions of people in Africa — including some 2 million children — are facing starvation as I write these words.

The video talks about the almost miraculous food paste Plumpy'nut, which can save the life of a starving child as effectively as the right antibiotic can cure a life-threatening infection. You can learn more about Plumpy'nut here.

If Africa seems remote from your concerns, then look no farther than your own country and community. The World Hunger Education Service has a wealth of global hunger statistics on its website.

"Food insecure" is the term the U.S. government uses to describe households where one or more members must reduce their food intake or disrupt their eating patterns because they cannot afford sufficient food. That description applied to 14.5 percent of U.S. households in 2010. You can learn more about it in the publication Household Food Security in the United States in 2010.

In my hometown, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger is "the voice for the more than 1,200 nonprofit soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City and the more than 1.4 million low-income New Yorkers who live in homes that can't afford enough food." Is it ironic that, in the same city where the people who destroyed the economy still get six-figure bonuses, so many people are hungry? Actually, I think it's criminal.

One final word about hunger: "The F Word: Famine Is the Real Obscentity."

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one."
~ Mother Teresa

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