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You Can Alleviate the World’s Greatest Health Risk

The daunting and sometimes demoralizing statistics about world hunger communicate a pressing message. Last week’s World Hunger Day (October 16) reminded people that the world is in desperate need of food redistribution. On World Hunger Day news outlets and political figures shared the troubling facts most of us knew but often forget; that hunger is the world’s greatest health risk, that more women are hungry than men, and that almost 900 million people are malnourished.

It’s a scary reality to which we’ve somehow grown accustomed. But the recent observance of World Hunger Day can shake us awake.

Some people point to the population as a reason for the world’s hunger. But that’s more excuse than explanation. In truth, there is enough—more than enough. In fact, the earth can accommodate more than its current population. So what’s the issue? Our food resources are not evenly distributed. But that’s a solvable problem you can address immediately, in your own community.

Food Foragers
Carefully consider your immediate surroundings. Look more closely at the people around you. You may be surprised to discover the hungry people in your environment. For example, hungry people live in your neighborhood. Your children’s classmates often go home to empty cupboards and sleep with a growl in their tummies. What opportunities are there to help these people? Rest assured, there are many.

Please Pass the Food
To begin with, volunteer at a soup kitchen. Working at a soup kitchen or even a homeless shelter is one of the most direct and practical ways to feed the hungry. Especially with cold weather and the holidays looming, your local chapter definitely needs your help. And a Thanksgiving spent volunteering at a soup kitchen may be the most gracious holiday celebration ever.

Food Staple Santa
Continue your generous Thanksgiving at the soup kitchen with holiday gift-giving. Instead of giving more fortunate family and friends presents this holiday season, donate to a charity that feeds the hungry. Tell loved ones you donated in their honor. You can also donate foodstuffs to the local food pantry.

On Food and Gender
Since there are more hungry women than there are men it makes sense to focus on helping the women and mothers in your community. Donate non-perishable food items to a women’s shelter, or children’s clothing and baby items to a social services agency. Volunteering for a nonprofit that supports single-parent families could help cash-strapped mothers too.

World Hunger Day was an important reminder of the people whom we may not have forgotten, but tend to ignore. We just need to take better care of each other. Make a goal to do something today—in your immediate surroundings—to feed a hungry person.

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    LSA is a grantee of the Legal Services Corporation.