You may not be aware of it, but Thursday, October 16 is World Food Day in Canada and the United States. This day was first established in 1979 in a collective effort to make the needs of hungry people known to the world at large.
Each year the World Food Programme(WFP) of the United Nations publishes sobering facts about the number of hungry people in the world. Did you know, for instance, that there are at least 795 million people in the world who will go to bed hungry tonight? That is about one in every nine people. Asia is the continent that has the most hungry people, although the largest percentages of the total population can be found in sub-Saharan Africa. WFP also provides downloadable hunger maps that make the scope of this problem even more visible.
There are many resources available to churches who wish to educate about and simulate the issue of hunger. One of the most widely known is the 30 Hour Famine Program, but there are many others. Oxfam America gives you all the tools to host a Hunger Banquet, a food simulation where participants choose a ticket that indicates their seating and what type and how much food they receive. The Lutheran Peace Fellowship has a similar Hunger Awareness Meal and related material. Both Church World Service and the Evangelical Lutheran Church offer non-meal simulation type activities to get across awareness of the issue.
Finally, if you’d like to know more about World Food Day and how your church or family might participate, the Presbyterian Hunger Program will be offering a webinar on Monday, October 12, looking at the global issue of obtaining seeds for sustainable food production.
I wonder how you will celebrate World Food Day.
Kathy Dawson, Associate Professor, Columbia Theological Seminary