How Can We Fight Hunger?
One of the greatest injustices still in existence in our world is the problem of hunger. In every country around the world, hunger is a reality every people group is faced with.
While there are a number of government and non-government organizations hard at work to fight hunger on large global scales, often we can be left wondering what good we can do individually in combating hunger in the world.
And I believe the answer is: YES.
We can all make a difference in our own communities and cities. In fact, as more of us take up the fight against hunger individually (and with our friends and families), the less the need will be for larger global efforts - because we can begin reducing hunger on the local level.
Here's some ideas on how we can fight hunger in our own communities today:
- Food Co-op: Join or help create a food cooperative (food co-op for short) in your neighborhood. This can look like a community-owned grocery store (like Pogue's Run Grocer in Indianapolis) or they can be run as a family-centered model focused on being an empowering alternative to many food-centered ministries (check out how this is being done in Atlanta). Co-ops like these two models (and others) have the goal of providing opportunities for fresh, healthy food in a community-centered model that works intentionally to counter dependency-building. Do research on your neighborhood and figure out if there is an effective cooperative that you can join. And if not, do more research and start one with your friends and neighbors!
- Community Gardens: Like with the food co-op's above, join or start a community garden in your neighborhood! Use an easily accessible location (owned by a part of the initiative or allowed to be used by the city) and create garden plots (either in the ground or with raised garden beds) which neighbors can 'rent' through a membership fee to grow their own produce in one of the plots. The fee can help create ownership in taking care of the garden area and the shared space provides countless opportunities to meet neighbors and build relationships whilst harvesting and weeding.
- Meals at Home: The previous two concepts require a bit more front-end work then this last idea: Invite neighbors over for a meal. Either on an individual family basis or host a cookout/pitch-in for your block and invite lots of people! Regardless of how many people you invite, aim to sit down at your dinner table on a consistent basis with neighbors who you don't know well in addition to those for whom one free meal would help them greatly. Not only can we help ensure our neighbors have a bit more food available in their lives - but we can also develop strong friendships through which we all (together) can make sure no one in our community goes hungry.
These ideas just scratch the surface on ways through which we can address hunger in our own communities. But the consistent thread throughout almost any effort is this: work together with your neighbors.
And together we can help end hunger in our own neighborhoods and, slowly, throughout the world. The answer to the injustice of hunger is found not just in international food initiatives but in our local neighborhoods. The answer can start with: you and me.