Back during the holidays, I did a story on the "Silent Guest Program" that fought hunger after World War II. Americans were asked to set a place at their table during the holidays and "take in" a guest from one of the starving war-torn countries. Donating the cost of feeding this "silent guest" would result in a CARE package delivered to a needy person.
A once-aspiring actress, Iris Gabriel, was the founder of "Silent Guest." She was part of the food for peace movement which emerged after the war.
Gabriel saw the "Silent Guest" as an example of how food "would bind all races, cultures, and religions in a common goal—peace." This is a message worth repeating again and again. For it is in building food security that we can make our best investment toward peace.
There are nearly one billion people worldwide today who suffer from hunger. A "silent tsunami" of high food prices or a natural disaster like those we've recently seen in Haiti and Pakistan can raise that number very quickly.
Hunger can crush a society, and even entire generations. There are millions of infants each year in developing countries whose lives are on the line because of lack of nutrients. Malnutrition in infants can cause severe and lasting physical and mental damage.
Next month is the “Feeding Minds: 1,000 Days Plus” conference in Egypt, which will be hosted by World Food Programme director Josette Sheeran and Egypt’s First Lady, Suzanne Mubarak. The lead-up to this vital meeting will be an opportunity to bring attention to infant feeding programs that are facing major funding shortages. Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Afghanistan are some of the affected countries.
There must also be increased emphasis on feeding school-age children. The World Food Program USA says, "There are currently 66 million children in the world’s poorest countries who attend school hungry." If food could be provided at school for every child in the world, this would have a remarkable positive effect.