By Joy Allmond
We see the commercials with pleas for financial help. The man or woman lingers on the street corner with a homemade cardboard sign that says they need food.
Whether through the distance of the television screen or the closeness of someone asking vehicular passersby for help, there are hints of hunger all around us.
But are they real? According to stats from Global Hunger Relief, the answer is “yes,” both in far away places and in our own cities and towns.
- This year, around 795 million people around the globe are undernourished.
- The continent with the most hunger sufferers is Asia, which hold two-thirds of the undernourished people.
- One in six children (around 100 million) in developing countries is underweight.
- 13 percent (15.8 million) of American households lack financial resources to feed everyone in the respective household.
- Every county in America contains households who don’t have access to affordable, nutritious food.
“Words, even spiritual sounding words, aren’t enough. The gospel compels us to practical acts of mercy.”
What the church can do
Give. Support mission-based hunger projects. It’s easy to feel helpless when we hear about malnourished children on the other side of the globe; but financial contributions are one way to extend a helping hand.
Serve. It might be easier than you think to mobilize your church to do something about the local hunger issues. Consider gathering a group of people on a regular basis to make sandwiches and distribute them along with snacks and bottled water to an area in your community known for having people asking for help. Use the opportunity to have conversations with those you serve.
The tendency is to avoid those places and situation because it makes many of us uncomfortable. But the gospel bids us to face our discomfort and meet people in their need.
Another thing to consider is hosting a regular, open-to-the-community potluck, particularly if your church is located in an area with high levels of need. Advertise it with highly visible, on-site signage and have church members bring their favorite dishes to feed those who are desperate for nourishment.
Pray. If you live in a more affluent area, people who lack these basic needs can be “out of sight, out of mind.” Remember them in your prayers; God hears you, and He sees them.
“Hungry people … are not just issues; they are people in need of the grace and love of Christ,” writes Moore. “They bear the image of God and need the message and hope of the gospel.”
JOY ALLMOND (@joyallmond) is managing editor of Facts and Trends.