We live in the most peaceful and prosperous time in world history. Still, over 40 million people in the United States struggle with hunger, and 1 and 6 children in America wake up each day not knowing where their next meal will come from.
Fighting hunger can seem like an insurmountable hurdle, but individuals are more powerful than they believe - even when facing these global dilemmas.
For those many looking to help, here are some of the things you can do to contribute.
1. Learn More
Knowledge is power, and we can all work to further educate ourselves on the full spectrum of hunger issues in the U.S. and around the world.
Solving hunger is a complex issue involving social, economic, and scientific elements. You may not be able to become an expert overnight, but you can work to expand your knowledge base and be more effective in your initiatives.
You can hit your local library and dive deep on the history of the subject, and subscribe to email newsletters and social media influencers to stay updated on the latest developments.
Never stop absorbing new information and engaging with cutting edge ideas.
2. Pitch In Locally
Whether you live in an urban center, a rural countryside, or somewhere in between, there are countless ways to get out of the house and work directly with underprivileged people.
All you need to do is get in touch with a local church or community center and see what opportunities are available for you to pitch in. Even if you live a busy life with work and family responsibilities, you can always carve out a few hours for service.
A quick web search is all it takes to find ways to get active locally, and your participation can make a meaningful difference for hundreds of lives each week.
By spending time in-person with people in need, you not only provide real support to your community, but you also give hope and inspiration that can’t be measured in dollars and cents.
3. Spread Awareness
With a wealth of knowledge and real-world experience under your belt, your voice has more power than you might imagine. Speak up about hunger issues across a wide range of forums and platforms to spread awareness and attract like-minded people to the cause.
If you’re on a college campus, you can orchestrate grassroots movements to bring attention to the issues that perpetuate world hunger and get other students involved.
University activism is only the beginning, and you should be on the front lines of community activism in your city, whether it’s leading peaceful demonstrations or getting the word out on social media.
Join groups that you believe are effectively addressing the issue of hunger and actively working to alleviate poverty domestically and abroad.
4. Get Politically Active
There are a number of ways you can act politically to directly influence public policy and help the most vulnerable people in our society.
Voting is just a piece of the puzzle. Real change comes from persistent pressure and taking action on a regular basis.
Writing and calling your elected representatives is a quick and powerful way to voice your concerns about hunger in your community. The more people you can get behind your cause, the more effective these measures will be.
Advocate for specific programs and resource allocation that will provide assistance to those most in need.
The more detailed data you can provide, the better. Be direct and concise in your advocacy, and you will be more likely to see the change in real time.
5. Make Simple Changes
In the battles against world hunger, environmental degradation, and social justice, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But by becoming more conscientious with your daily habits, you can do your small part in the bigger picture and make a real difference over time.
It all starts with how you buy, consume, and conserve your food. Rather than getting your groceries from big-box stores, try buying from local markets and farmers, even if it costs a bit more. This stimulates local economies and helps agricultural workers earn more money.
Next, keep close track of the food in your pantry and fridge to ensure that nothing goes to waste. Watch those expiration dates and try your best to make the most of every bite.One-third of all food produced is wasted, so do what you can to reverse the trend.
On a broader level, try to cut down on energy and gas use to reduce your carbon footprint and help preserve the health of the planet for future generations to thrive.
6. Contribute Directly
Combatting hunger means confronting the economic realities of the world, meaning that direct contributions are often the most effective way to move the dial in the right direction.
Start by donating non-perishable goods to a local food drive, or making a monthly contribution to the charity of your choice. It doesn’t take much to make a positive impact, and your donations will compound over time to create a powerful force for change.
Writing a check or wiring money online may not feel like a big deal, but those resources can change the trajectory of lives across the country and around the world.
Even if you don’t have much to give at the moment, make a habit of donating a small amount each month and ramp up your contributions as you get your finances in order.
7. Shop Smart
While volunteering and direct contributions are the tried-and-true tactics to fight world hunger, you can also do your part by supporting companies dedicated to the causes you believe in.
Social scientists often say that we “vote with our wallet”, and there’s definitely some truth to that statement. Look behind the scenes before making a purchase and see which organizations have a compassionate, caring vision for the world.
Nunbelievable Cookies, for example, partners with local relief groups across the U.S. and donates a meal to someone in need every time they sell one of their delicious homemade cookies.
Inspired by a group of nuns who devoted their lives to helping feed the poor,Nunbelievable is a leading force in the battle against world hunger. It’s a simple concept that makes a big difference, and who doesn’t love a great chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie?
Among the partnering organizations isWorld Vision, which has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 related hunger and resource relief in the United States.
World Vision has already delivered nearly 2 million fresh food boxes to families, along with emergency kits and personal protective equipment throughout the United States. As the nation recovers from the pandemic, these essential resources are making a huge difference for communities most in need.
The organization also works extensively across the world with initiatives such as Nutrition for Growth, and the promotion of kitchen gardening to encourage sustainable food growth in developing countries. Disaster relief, education, and economic empowerment are just a few more areas in which World Vision works.
The next time you’re shopping for a snack or want to send some love to a friend or family member, consider how your gift can also help the hungry in the U.S. and around the world. Set a higher standard for the brands you buy from, and be part of the battle against hunger with a loving gesture.
Addressing hunger is a delicate issue that requires a lot of insight and adaptation. Politics, money, and social pressures make it a challenge that demands persistence and an undying dedication to humanity.
By following these steps and staying committed to the cause, you can make a real difference on a community level and fight hunger on a bigger scale. Even if you start small by buying a batch of cookies, you can help blaze a trail to a brighter future for all.