EDITOR’S NOTE: Oct. 14 was Global Hunger Sunday in the Southern Baptist Convention.
NASHVILLE (BP) — People see the commercials with pleas for financial help. The man or woman lingers on the street corner with a homemade cardboard sign that says they need food.
Whether through the distance of the television screen or the closeness of someone asking vehicular passersby for help, there are hints of hunger all around.
But are they real? According to stats from Global Hunger Relief, the answer is “yes,” both in faraway places and in our own cities and towns.
— This year, around 795 million people around the globe are undernourished.
— The continent with the most hunger sufferers is Asia, which hold two-thirds of the undernourished people.
— One in six children (around 100 million) in developing countries is underweight.
— 13 percent (15.8 million) of American households lack financial resources to feed everyone in the respective household.
— Every county in America contains households who don’t have access to affordable, nutritious food.
“In the New Testament, James warns us that a faith without works is a dead faith,” notes Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in written comments.
“Words, even spiritual sounding words, aren’t enough,” he writes. “The gospel compels us to practical acts of mercy.”
What the church can do
Give. Support mission-based hunger projects and ministries (See more information on Baptist Global Response below). It can be easy to feel helpless when one hears about malnourished children on the other side of the globe; but financial contributions are one way to extend a helping hand.
Serve. It might be easier than one thinks to mobilize a church to do something about the local hunger issues. Consider gathering a group of people on a regular basis to make sandwiches and distribute them along with snacks and bottled water to an nearby area known for having people asking for help. Use the opportunity to have conversations with those being served.
The tendency for some can be to avoid those places and situations because it makes many uncomfortable. But the Gospel bids believers to face discomfort and meet people in their need.
Another thing to consider is hosting a regular, open-to-the-community potluck, particularly if one’s church is located in an area with high levels of need. Advertise it with highly visible, on-site signage and have church members bring their favorite dishes to feed those who are desperate for nourishment.
Pray. For those who live in a more affluent area, people who lack these basic needs can be “out of sight, out of mind.” Remember them in prayers; God hears those prayers, and He sees those in need.
“Hungry people … are not just issues; they are people in need of the grace and love of Christ,” Moore writes. “They bear the image of God and need the message and hope of the gospel.”
Global Hunger Relief
Global Hunger Relief is a partnership of seven Southern Baptist entities that collaborate to address hunger needs in the United States and around the world. The Cooperative Program’s support of SBC entities enables 100 percent of the gifts received by GHR to be used in hunger projects carried out by Southern Baptist missionaries and partners. Many churches give attention to the work of GHR, formerly known as the World Hunger Fund, on Global Hunger Sunday in October each year.