Last year, the United Nations projected a rise in world hunger to 1.02 billion people – more than one-seventh of the global population! Statistics on hunger are always rough estimates, and the results can vary greatly from one study to another. But one thing seems clear: the U.N. number is no exaggeration. In fact, it may be too conservative!
For starters, the U.N. study only tells us how many people are undernourished; not how many are malnourished. In other words, a person who is eating regularly and getting more than enough calories, but who is too poor to afford the variety of foods necessary to meet basic vitamin and nutrient requirements, would not have been counted as “hungry.”
The definition of hunger was restricted even further by a very low standard for minimum energy needs. The number of calories was based on a “sedentary lifestyle” or what is needed to live a healthy but inactive life. But many poor people work very hard to support themselves and need more food to maintain a healthy energy level.
Whatever the true number of the hungry, it’s encouraging to know that there are many dedicated Catholics doing what they can to meet the nutritional needs of the poor around the world. Cross International Catholic Outreach is blessed to be working alongside a number of fantastic ministries, such as the Franciscan Sisters’ Dagama Home in Zambia and the Las Mercedies Nutrition Center in Honduras, that are bringing both physical and spiritual nourishment to the hungry on a daily basis. Click here to see our complete list of Cross Catholic feeding programs, and get involved today!