Turkeys across the nation are waking up in a cold sweat. That can only mean the end-of-year holiday is finally upon us.
Americans are familiar with that time of year when familial fellowship and, above all else, food become the object of our preoccupation.
Unfortunately, the warm holiday feeling becomes elusive for the poor.
This year almost nine million children under the age of five will die needlessly from hunger-related issues. That, coupled with the fact that 1.4 billion people live below the international poverty line and are unable to acquire proper nourishment as a result, shows that hunger is one of the world’s most urgent dilemmas.
As a result of malnourishment destroying the lives of so many people, various organizations have taken to using sustainable food programs as the bullet to remedy humanitarian issues. In the spirit of the holidays, let’s take a look at two programs that are using food to confront abject poverty.
Not too many people know what the definition of sustainable food is. Sustainable food has been around since mankind first harvested crops, but only recently has there been a significant push to support sustainable food programs. The philosophy behind this archaic yet modern concept is to produce food in a manner that has little to no impact on the environment while remaining self-sufficient.
The sustainable food program Heifer International has become the paradigm of these values. The concept for the nonprofit is derived from the old parable that says it’s better to teach someone to fish than to give them a fish.
With contributions from concerned donors and the dedicated service of volunteers, Heifer is able to provide people with livestock and knowledge of how to continuously provide food for themselves.
In Honduras the effects of the Heifer program are the most tangible. Throughout dozens of Honduran communities Heifer is aspiring to provide over 200 cattle, 7,000 hens, 62 goats, and 8,000 fruit trees.
Poverty isn’t exclusive to poor nations. Luckily the American-based CHEFS program is working hard to combat societal hardship in the United States.
CHEFS, an acronym for Conquering Homelessness Through Employment in Food Service, is an ambitious program that teaches the homeless how to cook. After the six-month program, graduates intern at chic restaurants where many parlay their new skills into full-blown careers.
“Without the CHEFS program, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Janna, a CHEFS graduate. After a rough year, she lost custody of her daughter when she became homeless. After her completion of the CHEFS program, she turned her life around. Janna now supports her daughter by working for a children’s day care center.
Sustainable food programs like CHEFS and Heifer approach poverty by addressing the root of the problem through creating long-term solutions, instead of providing short-term fixes. Their work to end the cyclical process of generational poverty is essential towards a future where food is available to all people and nutrition is considered a human right.
This holiday season, support a local sustainable food program. Do your part to spread some Christmas cheer to the needy.