Sunday, October 16, 2011

UN World Food Day - October 16th.

"I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education culture for the minds and dignity, equality and freedom for the spirits."
Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is World Food Day

Which is held annually on Oct. 16 to commemorate the founding of the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945.

The program is aimed at leaders of political and non-political organizations at all levels and at increasing press attention on topical issues around food supply. Across the globe, many different events are organized to raise awareness of problems in food supply and distribution.

I have never gone to bed hungry – have you?

There have been days when I didn’t know what was going to be available to eat but there was always something on hand. Maybe a baked potato, beans on toast or fruit.

I have been in countries where I personally witnessed the hunger of the people. I lived in a village in El Salvador, where food was provided to a few by the Canadian Food Program. They made dried corn (for tortillas), and dried beans available to the families and this was their every day diet. Occasionally rice was available and was considered a luxury. Each family received the same portions, which were meticulously shared. The water was also contaminated with chemicals from local (US) factories in this particular area and many of the children were ill and dying.

In India, I lived for a while in the Dalit community (formerly known as the Untouchables). All of the people were extremely thin and the children were hollow eyed. In that community they were eating potatoes and cauliflower when that was in season. The water was also contaminated in that area.

The United States has adopted a 3.5 billion dollar plan to fight world hunger as part of 20-billion-dollar pledges made by the world's richest nations at a Group of Eight meeting in Italy in July of this year.

The United States Department of Agriculture is currently working with several organizations to improve agricultural technology use and productivity in Africa and other poor regions in order to promote hardier crops for healthier people.

Meanwhile at home, USDA's food and nutrition programs are helping to feed millions of low-income Americans. Thanks to increased funding, more children are receiving free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches, more mothers and infants are receiving nutritional assistance and nearly six million more people are receiving food stamps than five years ago.

Now that I live in the United States I currently volunteer with three local food programs where it is evident to me that the need has increased and that even more people are in need of food. The three programs are independent of each other and at each one the number of people who line up for food has increased. Don’t let the size of some people fool you either, often the adults and children are overweight due to extremely poor nourishment and nutrition with starches being their main source of food.


Children are the most vulnerable to nutritional deficits and the first to succumb when there is not enough food to go around. The Government of Ethiopia estimates that 75,000 children under the age of five live with severe acute malnutrition. And 25 to 50 percent of children with severe acute malnutrition are likely to die if they don't receive proper treatment.

Bringing international attention to the plight of these children and the benefits of the therapeutic feeding programs can help save lives!

How can you help?

* Write a post on your blog or profile page about the conditions in Ethiopia.

* Explain to your friends and family, book group or social club how malnourishment is affecting Ethiopian children.

* Send this pledge to at least five friends so they can keep spreading the word!


One sixth of the world’s population goes to bed hungry.

What are you doing to help?


"Never before has man had such capacity to control his own environment, to end thirst and hunger to conquer poverty and disease, to banish illiteracy and massive human misery."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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