William Lambers

Everyone can do something to help end world hunger

By William Lambers

Mount St. Joseph University in Ohio is setting an example for the country with a unique course on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to end global poverty. If all schools follow their lead it would be a strong coalition for ending hunger and giving the poor educational and economic opportunities.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals continue a pursuit set forth by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II when he called for “Freedom from want” for all people.

So it made sense that university students visited Four Freedoms Park in New York to get some inspiration from Roosevelt. The class, taught by professors Buffy Barkley and Jim Bodle, visited the UN to learn more about the goals to end poverty globally.

The students will spend the semester taking action to achieve the goals at home and abroad.

Ending hunger is vital to this. According to the UN there are 815 million chronically food-insecure and malnourished people in the world, and more than half of them live in conflict zones.

These include victims of the civil wars in Syria, Yemen and South Sudan. There are hungry children in Haiti, the Sahel region of Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and other nations struggling with hunger.

They all need long-term solutions to hunger, including improving agriculture and expanding school meal programs.

Because victims of hunger are often thousands of miles away from our shores, they need a voice in a country that can help them. Mount St. Joseph University students are the leaders of tomorrow who can speak for those who hunger and help create policies to improve food security.

The next time you are in a grocery store, think of a Syrian refugee family that has fled to Jordan. There the World Food Program, if it has enough funding, sets up a makeshift grocery in the refugee camp so Syrians can get foods including fresh vegetables. Food is hope for those who have lost everything.

The next time you see a peanut-butter cup in a store, think of another peanut-based product called Plumpy’nut. It’s a nutritious peanut paste that is given to malnourished children in developing countries. It comes in a wrapping like a peanut-butter cup and it is said to taste similar.

The enriched Plumpy’nut is a lifesaver for small children, providing essential nutrients. These food-aid initiatives can only go so far as the funding. Each year Congress determines funding levels for programs like Food for Peace. Each citizen can contact their representative in Congress about funding programs that fight hunger.

The next time you are in school at lunch, think of the millions of children worldwide who struggle to get one good meal a day.

Thomas Awiapo of Ghana received school meals from Catholic Relief Services when he was a starving orphan. He says the food saved his life and helped him get an education, and he now advocates for the McGovern-Dole global school-lunch program.

There is hunger at home, too. In Ohio, according to Feeding America, 1 in 7 people struggle with hunger. You can help your local food bank end hunger and give people a chance here in Ohio to escape poverty. Schools can hold fundraisers as well as advocate for feeding the hungry.

The free app Charity Miles allows students to run, walk or bike and raise money for the World Food Program, Feeding America and others. The online learning game FreeRice helps the World Food Program fight hunger by raising donations for every correct answer. Schools can try a new version of the game at https://beta.freerice.com/#game.It’s inspiring to see students taking the lead with the Sustainable Development Goals course.

But there is strength in numbers. More schools can join their quest to help achieve an end to hunger and poverty.

William Lambers of Delhi Township is an author who partnered with the UN World Food Program on the book “Ending World Hunger.” He writes on History News Network, the Hill and other news outlets.


About us

Kids Can Make a Difference is a program of iEARN (International Education and Resource Network), the world's largest non-profit global network. iEARN enables teachers and youth to use the Internet and other technologies to collaborate on projects that enhance learning and make a difference in the world.

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