Global Battle Against Hunger
In East Timor, poverty is rampant and hunger is a daily fact of life. Most families rely on subsistence farming and rice cultivation as their primary source of food and income. But because of drastic weather patterns and other threats—such as pests and crop disease—that are beyond their control, the country suffers from the highest rates of malnutrition and stunted growth in Asia. Therefore, school-based feeding programs are critical to the future success of the entire country and its children.
This is why Salesian missionaries strive to provide daily meals for students in our programs. “Education is one of the most important factors in determining whether a child can build a better future,” says Fr. Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “But when food is scarce at home, and students come to school hungry, they’re at an immediate disadvantage. At best, they have trouble concentrating and learning. At worst, they may drop out—either because they’re not making good progress, or their parents need them to help earn some money to survive. This perpetuates the cycle of poverty for families, and for the country as a whole.”
Sadly, these issues are not unique to East Timor. Statistics show that in developing countries, one out of every six children is underweight—that’s nearly 100 million girls and boys. And 66 million children around the world go to school with an empty stomach.
Fortunately—thanks to ongoing partnerships with international relief organizations such as Rise Against Hunger and our long-standing presence in countries around the globe—life-saving food is already on the ground. The biggest challenge is getting it onto the plates of those who need it the most. That’s where we come in, with your help.
Every November, Salesian Missions launches our Annual Food Distribution Appeal. This critical effort raises the funds needed to transport donated food from the shipping docks to schools and other vital programs—where missionaries, staff and members of the local community are ready to prepare and serve it.
For a $1 donation, you can provide 20 times that amount in food! That means that just one $10 donation helps us transport $200 worth of fortified meals; $20 immediately becomes $400; and $50 can distribute $1,000 worth of nutritious food.
The direct impact of your generosity is significant. Since we first partnered with Rise Against Hunger in 2011, compassionate friends like you have helped us feed tens of thousands of desperately hungry children and families. This life-saving aid has nourished students in Salesian-run schools, as well as members of the broader communities.
In East Timor specifically, hundreds of children who participate in Salesian programs no longer worry about being hungry. Thanks to Rise Against Hunger and our donors, girls who live at the Laura Vicuña and the Salesian Sisters orphanages now receive several meals a day. These girls, ages 6 to 16, also participate in educational programs designed to develop the knowledge and skills they need to support themselves in the future.
“Effectively addressing the issue of chronic hunger and malnutrition requires a global, coordinated effort,” says Fr. Mark. “Salesian Missions, along with our dedicated Priests, Brothers, Sisters and lay volunteers around the world, are committed to being part of the solution, in every community where we serve.”
For just a few dollars in support of our Annual Food Distribution Appeal, you can be part of the solution, too!
Our mission transforms every $1 you can give into $20 of life-saving food. What’s your mission?
Learn more about our work in East Timor.