Hunger: Hard to see, but everywhere

Meredith Flynn —  October 2, 2014

COMMENTARY | Jill Waggoner

I never gave hunger much thought until I became a mother.

Motherhood begins with conversations about “the schedule” and bottles and quickly turns to the veggie/fruit count, snack monitoring, and introduction of potential allergens. The advice you receive about what your child needs and when he needs it can be overwhelming. Yet, my troubles only amounted to worrying about how I would get my one-year-old to drink the non-sweetened, organic, vanilla almond milk, not how we would pay for it.

For many, including mothers, the question of where their next meal will come from is a daily, if not hourly, worry. In the United States alone, 89% of households with children are considered “food insecure,” meaning they do not know how they will provide their next meal, according to the 2014 “Hunger in America” study by Feeding America. Today, one in seven Americans receives support through a feeding program, including 12 million children. This is a reality I have not known and, I
confess, have taken for granted.

Jill_Waggoner_calloutNumbers like these are an important reminder that hunger happens everywhere—not just in the slum of a foreign country or the housing developments of urban cities. Hunger is a part of my life and part of yours, by proximity, whether we realize it or not.

My church uses the phrase “as you go” when talking about sharing the Gospel. We share Christ with others as we live our lives in our communities, in our families and in our jobs. It’s incorporated into everything we do—that as we walk with Christ, knowing and serving Him, we would make disciples by encouraging others to join us.

On a personal level, “as we go,” means we must have our eyes opened to the hunger needs in our communities and neighborhoods. I believe you will find many ministries and governmental organizations meeting the critical needs where you live. I challenge you to join forces with those who do effective, Christ-centered ministry and seek out those who still might be overlooked.

On an international level, Global Hunger Relief operates from a similar mindset. The work of Southern Baptists around the world is vast, varied and Gospel-focused. Yet, “as we go” we encounter physical needs that must be met in order to effectively minister. GHR, formerly known as World Hunger Fund, is a cooperative initiative that comes alongside existing Southern Baptist partners and provides the funding to meet those needs. And while most humanitarian organizations keep 30-70% for administrative overhead, GHR is able to devote 100% of resources given to this life-saving work.

Southern Baptists around the globe will be drawing attention to both this critical need and the important work of Global Hunger Relief Oct. 12 with World Hunger Sunday. I encourage you to visit globalhungerrelief.com to learn how you and your church can participate and help us to change forever lives and communities in the name of Christ.

Jill Waggoner is deputy press secretary for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and lead brand strategist for Global Hunger Relief.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.