World hunger: How much of a problem is it and what can we do?

Iliana Woloch ‘24, News Editor

A young boy spends his time, day after day, working in an endless sea of grain. The sun radiates down on him with unwavering relentlessness as he labors tirelessly, stooped over, carefully cultivating crops that could be wiped out in an instant due to any number of forces completely out of his control. 

He watches other children walk by on their way to school, a place that would be just as foreign to him as the moon. All of his time and energy gets poured into a plot of land owned by someone he will never meet, growing food that he will never taste. 

More than enough food is produced each year to feed the global population. Yet there are still those who are denied this simple necessity while others waste such a precious resource. As many as 811 million people go to bed hungry every night, and due to current events such as COVID 19 the number is only rising.

According to Action Against Hunger, 14 million children under the age of five are malnourished. Only 25 percent of those children will ever receive the life saving treatment they need. 

Among those most susceptible to food insecurity, are the people who do the hard work growing it. Food insecurity is, “a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life” (Feeding America). It affects a wide range of people in various circumstances. 

Refugees and Internationally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are also highly vulnerable to hunger, as well as other pressing issues. Forced migration, caused by conflict, can only be prevented permanently on the political level. Teaching refugees how to sustain and make a new life for themselves is a great way to help them start anew. 

Ultimately,  food insecurity affects all regions of the world, and in many cases, leads to malnutrition which in turn, causes an abundance of health issues. Fatigue, anxiety, a weakened immune system, weight loss, loss of fat and muscle tissue, are among the symptoms caused by a nutritional deficiency. 

There are several things that we can do as individuals, and as a nation, to help overcome this global plague that is responsible for more suffering than anything else. Organizations such as Heifer International are working towards establishing sustainable food sources in impoverished areas to provide those in need with a long term solution to hunger. 

Providing quality and accessible education to areas where literacy levels are very low, is also a long term-solution to ensuring children go on to hold well-paying jobs breaks the constant cycle of poverty, and in turn, food insecurity. 

On a more individual level, donating to food banks or organizations like Forgotten Harvest and Action Against Hunger are a good way to give aid to those in need until more permanent and sustainable solutions can be put into place. 

To stop world hunger and save the thousands of innocent lives it claims each passing day, we must all do our part to help our fellow human beings and ensure a better future for all. 

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