Blog Post - Aug 13, 2021
When the Table is Empty
One of life’s greatest and simplest pleasures is food – the mouth-watering aromas, delightfully-balanced flavors, and the comforting feeling of a full stomach. For those of us fortunate enough to have access to regular meals, we easily take it for granted that the table will always be full, and our nutritional requirements are being met. But for many, both across town and around the world, tables are not abundantly loaded with food. Changing that reality is far from simple.
Where We Find Ourselves
This past year, it is estimated that 155 million people lived at a crisis level of hunger. Crisis level is characterized by “food consumption gaps that [lead to] high or above-usual acute malnutrition,” requiring urgent intervention*. This number is a 20-million-person increase over the prior year, with countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Syria among those most devastated.** Such estimates do not even include the hundreds of millions of people that are hungry and not receiving recommended levels of nourishment.
Why This Happens
The Global Report on Food Crises states that war and conflict are the greatest contributors to food insecurity.** In a state of conflict, people are often displaced, their farmlands and livelihoods are destroyed, and their access to food and aid is disrupted. After war and conflict, extreme weather (ranging from storms and flooding to drought), economic instability, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic are the most common contributors to food insecurity.
Responding Through Partnership
Samaritan’s Purse (SP)—one of Dairyland’s partners—recently shared with us their programs designed to fight hunger and keep people healthy across numerous countries and contexts; some highly complex and dangerous. One such response occurs in South Sudan at the Yida refugee camp where 65,000 people fled after their homes and farmland were destroyed by bombings in Sudan. At Yida, SP partners with the World Food Programme to feed this new community who would not have survived without the monthly rations.
Reading about issues as large as this can leave one feeling overwhelmed or even numbed by the magnitude of the problem. This is where the power of partnership encourages us, because we know we can accomplish more together than alone. At Dairyland, we have found that we can respond to hunger at multiple levels: the individual, the team, and the company.
The Individual: One member of our team delivers fresh meals to local seniors every week through Meals on Wheels. Another organized a food drive among our production and supply chain teams this spring. Lastly, our Financial Controller distributed meals to families with school-aged children who could not pick them up when school programming went virtual.
The Team: Recently our team was able to work with Rise Against Hunger to pack over 18,000 meals which will be distributed in some of the crises mentioned above (read about that experience here).
The Company: We choose to partner with and learn from effective organizations like Samaritan’s Purse who can respond to a far greater degree than we ourselves are trained for.
What role might you play? We invite you to join us as we grapple with this reality and how we can Live Engaged to make a safer world, both for our own families and others. If you are looking for a great place to start, sign up for Volunteer Day this fall.
*Global Report on Food Crises, 2021, p. 11
**World Food Programme, 2021