US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Thoughts for World Food Day, October 16

Liz Lefebvre | Print this pagePrint |

Given the state of the U.S. economy, it’s not shocking that families are struggling to put food on the table, children are increasingly among those going hungry, and foreign aid that helps feed people across the globe is on the chopping block of our nation’s budget.

Tomorrow is World Food Day, a day dedicated to increasing awareness about global hunger. Though mainly talking about foreign food aid, Bruce White of Catholic Relief Services talks about how to reshape our thinking about the fight against hunger to help more people access food.

It’s thinking that we need closer to home, as well. The numbers from the Census Bureau are in, and though not necessarily surprising, they still tell a grim tale of children as the new face of poverty, with about 22 percent of children living in poverty. There is even a new character on Sesame Street, Lily, whose family struggles with hunger.

As Religion News Service calls attention to, churches are among the first places that families go in need of help when fighting against going hungry. However, as one pastor in the article notes, “The food pantry is no longer just something that we want to do on a volunteer basis for the community. Now it’s a mandatory thing that we have to have because of the need that we can see in these families and in these kids.” (This is even more troubling in light of the fact that tithing in Protestant churches is at an all-time low.) However, churches can’t be alone in providing aid, notes Our Sunday Visitor, saying that parishes would likely be unable to fill any gap left by cuts to federal programs offering assistance for needy families.

And, though it is certainly necessary to provide emergency food assistance, we should also be thinking in the long term. What can we do to help ensure that jobs are created and available? How can we make sure that jobs pay a liveable wage, so that families won't have to choose between food and other basic necessities? What can we do to lower costs of health care so that entire incomes won't go to paying medical bills? How much will cutting foreign aid from our food budget really reduce our deficit?

These are just some of the questions facing us as a nation this World Food Day.

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