There is food enough for all. This is a simple statement; even a victorious statement when considering sixty years ago, this statement could not be made. However, when placed against the facts of global and domestic hunger, this simple statement becomes an indictment. Here are a few facts.
Globally, 925 million people are hungry. Simply put, roughly 1 in 7 people worldwide will go to bed hungry tonight, and half of them are children. Malnutrition leads to nearly one-third of all childhood deaths before the age of 5. Hunger kills more people annually than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
Domestically, 17.2 million children in our country do not get enough healthy food to eat. One in eight Americans participates in SNAPS (formerly the food stamps program). Households with children experience almost double the food insecurity rate of childless households.
These stark and disturbing facts call for hunger alleviation to be a priority. This is especially so for the Church if it is to be true to its mission. The mandate and promise is found in the words of the prophet Isaiah 58:10: “If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noon day.”
On Saturday, May 5 at 10 a.m., many communities of faith will join in the DC CROP Hunger Walk. This 5K walk, which begins at Christ United Methodist Church, is sponsored by Church World Service (CWS) to raise funds addressing hunger issues domestically and globally. CWS is an organization formed by 37 main-line denominations. For more than six decades, it has worked with partners to eradicate hunger and poverty and promote peace and justice around the world.
In 1969, a few hundred Christians in Bismarck, N.D., began a three-mile walk to raise money for famine victims and highlight the issue of hunger. They raised $25,000 that day (roughly $125,000 in 2011 dollars). The CWS CROP Hunger Walk quickly became an annual event.
Today, in 2,000 communities across the country, local church groups continue to hold CROP Hunger Walks raising over $14 million. Local communities receive 25 percent of the funds to address hunger, and 75 percent of the funds are used to address hunger globally.
Since its beginning, the CWS CROP Hunger Walk has remained simple. There are no entertainment expenses or large overhead costs. Local people simply make a donation and walk. In solidarity with those who start their day walking miles for water and food, “we walk because they walk.”
There is no one simple answer to ending hunger in this world of plenty, but some answers must begin now. We invite you to be part of an answer. Join us on Saturday, May 5 at 10 a.m. Make a contribution online and your donation will be matched 100 percent.
In the end, hunger is not about numbers, it is about people. It is about men, women and children that have dreams as rich and vibrant as the well-fed. It is about how, by following those words from Isaiah 58:10, we can help them realize these dreams.
The Rev. Earl D. Trent Jr. is senior pastor at Florida Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.