Olivia Hatton

The World's Worst Enemy: Hunger

Every 3.6 seconds, someone dies of starvation. What is this thing called hunger, affecting an estimated third of the people in the world? Well, the true definition of hunger is the compelling need or desire for food. Currently, 800 million people struggle just to survive, due to lack of nourishment. Latin America, most of Asia, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent houses a large portion of the world's hungry people. There are three million people in the world today that struggle to survive on two dollars per day. Even children of all ages are extremely affected. 15 million die of hunger every year. One in eight children under the age of 12 goes to bed hungry every night. Many weigh less than they should. Starvation and race are closely related in the U.S. Studies show that African-American and Latino children are more effected than white children. In 1994, the Urban Institute estimated that one out of every six elderly people in the U.S. had an inadequate diet.

Fortunately, there are things that people can do to help end world hunger. Some contribute financially, influence public policy to support the poor, and even work directly with poor people. Some towns have weekly food pantries that offer food to the poor and hungry for free. One example of this is the Lexington Food Pantry in Lexington, MA. Teens can even get community service hours by helping out there. For the price of one missile used by the military, a whole school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for five years. Satisfying the world's sanitation and food requirements would only cost 13 million dollars, which is what the U.S. and European Union spend on perfume every single year. Just by reducing the amount we spend on some things, we can make a difference in world hunger. The problem clearly lies in the distribution of the world's food. That's also why there are so many organizations designed just to help poor and hungry people. Some of these organizations include Heifer International, Bread for the
World, and Project Bread.

Because hunger is such an important issue, my church, St. Brigid, does an event called the 30-Hour Famine, giving teens an opportunity to earn community service hours while learning about and doing activities associated with starvation. It's also a great opportunity to get to know other kids. The teens fast for 30 hours, during which they are allowed to drink water at all times and are rewarded mandatory juice breaks occasionally. The goal of this event is to help teens experience what hungry people really feel.
While fasting this year, I was inspired to help finally end world hunger, and aid those who suffer from it. This gives me confidence to say that in my opinion, the world needs to fix the issue of hunger. There are only so many ways that we can achieve this. We just need to get out there, spread the word, and make a difference. We've already done a lot, but I know that more can be done.


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