I do not know what it is like to starve.
I have been to the point of my stomach rumbling because I need to eat. I know what that’s like and, when I get the chance, I will go to my fridge or a restaurant or a grocery store to get some food.
But I do not know what it is like to be truly hungry when those aren’t options. We are lucky to live in a place like Canada. We hear about children and adults starving in places like Africa, Haiti and other developing countries, but often forget people in Canada starve too.
According to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Worldwide, a total of 842 million people don’t have enough to eat, a decrease of 17 per cent since 1990. Of those, 827 million live in developing countries.
I wish everyone were well fed. I wish no one starved to death. Unfortunately, I know those wishes aren’t realistic and the statistics are horrifying. That’s why it’s even more important that we do something about it.
We can’t cure world hunger. I don’t know if it’s even possible. The WFP statistics say that $3.2 billion per year is required to feed all 66 million hungry primary school-aged kids. Poor nutrition is the cause of 45 per cent of deaths in children under the age of five or 3.1 million children each year.
In Canada, one million kids or one in six kids go hungry every year, according to the charity Breakfast for Learning (BFL). BFL recently launched a social media campaign #foodfight to raise awareness. In the 2013/2014 year, BFL has funded 2,398 programs in Canada to serve 40.37 million meals.
Of those numbers, 127 programs were in Saskatchewan (the fourth highest behind Ontario at 1,208, Quebec at 350 and British Columbia at 204) to provide $2.79 million meals.
BFL is one of many great charities that help feed people. The biggest one that comes to mind when I think of Moose Jaw is Hunger in Moose Jaw. The non-profit community organization provides lunches for 300 kids each day of the school year with the “I Bought a Lunch” campaign.
Last year, the campaign raised more than $53,000 and provided more than 50,000 lunches to students in the Prairie South School Division and the Holy Trinity Catholic School Division.
This year they’re hoping to raise at least $50,000. For a $1 donation, one lunch can be made. For those of us who have the luxury of being able to eat every day, donating $1 or more is an easy, but important, thing to do to help feed hungry kids.
There are many other charities that help feed people around the world. The numbers are daunting and make it seem like we can never feed everyone.
Maybe that’s true, but by donating some money to any legitimate charity, we can at least help feed a few people.
Sure it’s baby steps, but imagine what could happen if everyone who could donate money or food did so to help feed people. Together, we can make a difference.
Besides, baby steps are better than no steps. Think of it this way. The difference we make by donating, even if just a little, is making sure at least one person has a full stomach. To that one person, we have made all the difference in the world.
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.