World hunger, it’s a world problem

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Have you ever thought about all the disasters going on in our world at this exact minute? In my ag comm class, we have been discussing all of the pressing matters that are affecting our world today, at this very minute, even at this very second. The one matter that perplexed me the most is the amount of world hunger today.

I know from time to time I’ve heard my friends say, “I’m starving, let’s go eat.” The truth of the matter is that we aren’t even near starvation, but in other parts of the world, or even in other parts of the U.S., there are children and people who are.

The “2013 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics” states,

 “Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year–five million deaths. Under-nutrition magnifies the effect of every disease, including measles and malaria”

This statement brought up some questions in my mind. What do these children eat? Why can’t they grow more food? Why isn’t there enough for them? Does the world produce enough food to feed everyone?

“The world produces enough food to feed everyone. The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food.”

Even though we have enough food for these starving people, why are they still suffering? For me this concept is hard to grasp. I feel that if the food is available then there should be a way to divide it up and find a way to help those that are hurting so badly. I would hope that other countries would do the same for us if we fell under the circumstances.

Bread for the world, a group that hopes to help end world hunger says,

“1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty — on less than $1.25 per day.Each year, 2.6 million children die as a result of hunger-related causes.”

$1.25 a day?! In our society you can buy a soda or a candy bar for $1.25, but could we really feed ourselves, or a family, on that small of an amount. I know that when I go to the grocery store, which is almost every week, I spend around $50. Most weeks I am only at the apartment five days so that would round out to ten dollars a day. That is EIGHT times what people living in extreme poverty spend.

  “Some 21,000 children die every day around the world.That is equivalent to:1 child dying every 4 seconds”

That number seems very large. This led me to think, what about all of the food at stores that goes to waste, or at restaurants? What happens to it?

“In the United States, 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten. The estimated value of this food loss was $161.6 billion using retail prices. For the first time, ERS estimated the calories associated with food loss: 141 trillion in 2010, or 1,249 calories per capita per day.”

Knowing that this much food goes to waste in our country and a child dies every four seconds due to hunger is truly a culture shock. One would think that the amount of food that goes bad in stores or that is thrown away in restaurants could be donated to local food banks, to help feed those who are hungry in our own areas. This would be a great first step in finding a solution for this problem.

After hearing and researching these facts even further for myself, I am still curious as to what is being done and what has been done in the past to help solve this problem. It is hard to understand with all the corn fields that can be seen throughout Illinois and surrounding states, in other places they don’t have enough food. If agriculture and other non-profit groups would team up to help end world hunger the percent of starving people would decrease. Next time you don’t finish your supper at a restaurant, or your produce goes bad in your fridge; think about how it could have helped feed a hungry person somewhere else in the world.

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These photos were taken by Kelsey Burgener (Moweaqua, Illinois) on her trip to Ethiopia in 2013.

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