Imagine Easter with no chocolate or candy or egg hunts. In 1947 in Europe, this was just the case in countries struggling in the ruins of World War II. Newspapers reported a scarcity of everything but faith.
This Easter there will be nearly 1 billion people worldwide suffering from hunger. They are in earthquake-recovering Haiti, war-torn Afghanistan and flood-ravaged Benin and Pakistan. In the Ivory Coast hundreds of thousands have just been displaced from their homes by a conflict following elections. They need food, medicine and shelter.
High food prices are ripping through the population of Yemen. These prices were high before the recent political unrest there. Now the instability has made food prices go even higher.
Developing countries need school feeding programs to fight malnutrition and give their children an education. Not enough emphasis is placed on these vital programs. (WFP/Ramin Rafirasme)
All too often in the discussion of world affairs, the basic needs of food and agriculture are forgotten. Then strategy makers and analysts ponder over how to solve the crisis, often ignoring the obvious. Food supply and accessibility are the foundation all nations need to thrive and have peace.
What needs to change? World leaders need to get more involved in the fight against hunger. Many times their efforts are piecemeal. It's very important that citizens write their representatives in government about fighting hunger both at home and abroad.
Internet technology offers several ways for people to get involved too. If you visit the sites of the World Food Programme, Save the Children, Feeding America, Catholic Relief Services and others, you will find all kinds of tools and information that you can use to take action against hunger. These agencies want you to get involved and bring your talents and expertise to the table.
What may look dark today can turn around. For Europe's 1947 Easter, the situation looked quite desperate. But fast forward to the Easter of 1949 and you will find a different tale. Newspapers reported joyful celebrations in Western Europe "from their own labor and the efforts of the European Recovery Program," known as the Marshall Plan.
This Easter remember the hungry and suffering, and see what you can do to help them.