Guest Columnist

You can still help address hunger

Union photo by Andy Hallman

Local food pantries are busy preparing for the holiday season by stocking their shelves wit
Union photo by Andy Hallman Local food pantries are busy preparing for the holiday season by stocking their shelves with a host of nutritious food.

By staying at home you are helping reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). While at home you can also advocate for feeding the hungry impacted by the pandemic.

One way is by playing the online educational game FreeRice, which helps the UN World Food Program (WFP) fight hunger. The coronavirus has caused such havoc that it’s also escalating global hunger. Last week the WFP warned “More than 320 million children around the world are now missing out on school meals due to school closures because of Covid-19. Many of these children are from poor families and depend on the daily meals they receive at school.”

WFP now has to find ways to feed the children through alternative means with either take home rations or home delivery. These are countries in already desperate circumstances due to conflict, drought and poverty. Without food they will be more at risk of malnutrition and Coronavirus.

The coronavirus has now even arrived in war-torn Syria. One of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world is about to get a whole lot worse. WFP is going to be facing an even more daunting task as it leads relief efforts there.

Fighting hunger takes on even more urgency to reduce the spread of malnutrition and disease.

While at home you can help the WFP by playing FreeRice. It’s better than an online class and you are helping raise donations to feed the hungry. Every correct answer you get playing FreeRice means 10 grains of rice donated to WFP. The donations are paid for by advertisers on the site.

You can answer trivia questions in vocabulary, math, science and other subjects while helping WFP fight hunger. They are going to need every bit of it as they grapple with global hunger, and now Coronavirus on top of that.

The University of Cincinnati and Mount St. Joseph University in Ohio are holding a FreeRice challenge to see which school gets the most correct answers and raise the most donations. That would be something every school could do. Mount St. Joseph is one of the top ranked FreeRice teams in the world, but is facing a major challenge against UC. It’s a March Madness contest taking place online.

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While at home you can also write letters to Congress urging it to support foodbanks in your community.

The coronavirus crisis is causing major economic harm and is increasing the ranks of the hungry right here in America. Foodbanks are seeing massive lines of new requests for help. We must do more to help foodbanks and other social agencies. This is vital to our response to the Coronavirus.

As Hannah Kemble, an Ohio State University public health major, explains “We are not doing enough for those who have lost their jobs, income, and benefits. Our health care system is faulty, in that some people have access to resources because they can pay for it, and some people do not. We have no safety net for the most vulnerable. And that is just as important, if not more important than the epidemiological factors of Covid-19. That is public health.”

Charities like Feeding America, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, UNICEF, Action against Hunger and others need support for their heroic relief programs.

William Lambers partnered with the UN World Food Program and Catholic Relief Services on the book Ending World Hunger.

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