(Above) A $1.1-million project to support small-scale farmers in Malawi launched in August 2023
Food is essential as it fuels our bodies with nutrients for energy, growth and overall well-being. It sustains us, supports good health and influences cognitive abilities. Beyond its physiological role, food helps bring people together, is often culturally significant and helps to foster a sense of comfort and joy.
World Food Day is a global event observed annually on October 16. This important day in the annual calendar helps raise awareness of the tragic growth and pressing issue of global hunger, while promoting efforts to ensure food security for all. According to UNICEF’s The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023 report, approximately “2.4 billion individuals, largely women and residents of rural areas, did not have consistent access to nutritious, safe and sufficient food in 2022.”
Recognizing that food insecurity is a reality for millions around the world, it is imperative that faith-based organizations, civil society, governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals do more to combat this societal scourge and bring an end to global hunger. It takes everyone doing their part.
This World Food Day, I want to highlight a few projects that the Canada and Bermuda Territory supports financially that help alleviate food insecurity.
Addressing Food Insecurity in Monkey Bay, Malawi
The Salvation Army has a long-standing commitment to alleviating poverty and meeting the basic needs of vulnerable populations. Through collaboration with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, our partnership aims to maximize its impact on addressing food insecurity, especially in regions where access to food is limited due to hardship, conflict or environmental challenges.
The Canadian Foodgrains Bank, comprised of 15 faith-based organizations, is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending global hunger through sustainable agricultural practices and community empowerment. Their vision is to create a world where no one goes to bed hungry, and where individuals, families and communities have access to food that meets their nutritional needs.
The Salvation Army, in partnership with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, supported a conservation agriculture project in Malawi that started in 2020 and concluded earlier this year. The project focused on implementing sustainable agricultural practices in regions facing food scarcity. By training local farmers in innovative agricultural techniques and providing seeds and equipment, the partnership helps communities become self-sufficient and resilient to future challenges.
We are happy to share that the second phase of this project launched in August 2023. This $1.1-million project will support small-scale farmers in the Monkey Bay region of Malawi. Through joint efforts and in partnership with the local Salvation Army in Malawi, we are making significant progress in providing essential sustenance and hope to individuals in need.
Providing Humanitarian Aid in Ukraine
In times of natural disasters or humanitarian crises, The Salvation Army plays a crucial role in providing emergency food assistance as well as spiritual and emotional care to those directly affected and traumatized by the disaster.
Food accessibility and availability are often negatively affected during times of conflict, leaving survivors with little to nothing to eat. In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, The Salvation Army across Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Poland and Lithuania, displayed unwavering dedication, providing essential and lifesaving humanitarian aid to individuals fleeing the conflict for safety. Through their efforts, they not only provided practical and material assistance but also a sense of hope through caring and compassion. Although many kilometres apart, we in Canada helped to stand in the gap, too.
Over the past year, through the generous support of Canadians, The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory provided approximately $2 million in funding for various emergency response projects, with more than 50,000 people receiving direct assistance through vouchers, food parcels, water and sanitation projects, housing support and more, helping to meet immediate needs and to rebuild lives with dignity.
Our joint efforts ensure that displaced populations affected by unforeseen calamities receive timely aid and support, and we know that food is an essential part of this. By joining forces and working toward a shared vision, we bring hope and nourishment to millions, laying the groundwork for a future where hunger is nothing more than a distant memory. Together, we can create a world where everyone has access to the most basic and fundamental human right: food.
Matthew 25:35 reminds us of our Christian duty to address the issue of global hunger: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.” Just as Jesus emphasized compassion and care for the hungry, our Christian response urges us to work tirelessly to end this pressing issue. Through collective efforts, we can fulfil this biblical call, ensuring that nourishment reaches every corner of the world and demonstrating love through action.
So, this World Food Day, be reminded of the immense responsibility that is ours in helping to ensure that no one suffers from hunger.
Lt-Colonel Brenda Murray is the director of international development.