Poverty is the leading cause of undernutrition, which is responsible for almost half of child deaths worldwide, and families around the world are now facing the harsh realities of chronic hunger—some for the very first time. One hundred-thirty million people are being pushed to the brink of starvation, with over three dozen countries predicted to experience devastating famines in the coming months.
Persistent hunger can drive people to desperation—especially mothers who are trying to care for and feed their children. Often, as a result of food shortages, vulnerable women are coerced into trafficking rings with the promise of consistent work. Once absorbed into this lifestyle, it is extremely difficult for them to find a safe way out.
Additionally, when an entire family’s funds are rerouted to focus on finding food for the day, other basic human necessities aren’t able to be prioritized. Families focused on survival rarely are able to pay for medical care for a chronic illness or sudden accident, often leaving the main breadwinner incapacitated and sinking the family further into poverty.
If the primary provider is unable to make money, the children are frequently then looked to for assistance if they are able-bodied. Sadly, many children in this situation are then exploited either for labor or pressured into child trafficking—sometimes without the parents’ knowledge and sometimes, as a final act of hopelessness, with their consent.
Obviously, the effects of chronic hunger are not isolated to empty bellies. Its impact is far-reaching and can be the first domino in a chain of devastation.
What are we doing about it?
Global Hunger Relief (GHR) is a reliable, sustainable initiative that Southern Baptists can use to make long-lasting differences in the lives of families at risk of starvation all over the world. With no administrative or overhead fees, Global Hunger Relief offers the unique guarantee that 100% of your gifts go directly to meeting hunger needs in North America and abroad.
Though some funding is used for immediate needs such as supplying food during a famine or natural disaster, most of the GHR projects are intentionally focused on establishing durable solutions to end global hunger one community at a time. These efforts include job skills training, clean water development, medical care, and human trafficking aftercare for survivors.
Vocational training classes help ensure that families don’t relapse into the cycle of generational poverty by equipping them with practical skills such as tailoring, soap-making, and livestock husbandry to help them either start businesses or enter the workforce.
Many diseases in agricultural or low-income regions are water-borne and can infect entire communities, so clean water projects are essential—if a family finally has access to nutritious meals but cooks their food with contaminated water, the food distribution becomes pointless.
As previously mentioned, medical care is often unattainable for families struggling with basic food provision, but in order to avoid child exploitation and other desperate “solutions,” medical care is essential to keeping parents healthy and able to work.
Finally, providing aftercare for human trafficking survivors helps ensure that those who have been subjected to trauma in order to support their families have the support necessary to recover and find other means of becoming self-sufficient.
As world food prices continue to rise due to the pandemic, you have the opportunity to help families struggling to keep food on the table discover new hope. On Sunday, Oct. 11—Global Hunger Sunday—your church, small group and family can change lives with your gifts. Download free posters, bulletin inserts, digital slides, devotionals, and more here, and commit to making a difference this October.