Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: November 01, 2022

Let’s Stop the Scourge of Hunger Together

It’s time for our dedicated Food Distribution Appeal—an annual campaign that funds the delivery of crucial nutritional aid to children and families in need around the world. At a time of skyrocketing global hunger, we’re depending on compassionate friends like you to help us stop this rapidly escalating crisis.

According to official statistics, the number of people experiencing this critical threshold of food insecurity is the highest it’s been in the last five years. Fueled by ongoing conflicts, weather catastrophes, and continued economic impacts of the pandemic—among other things—millions of men, women and children in 55 highly vulnerable countries don’t have enough food to eat.

Sadly, our Salesian missionaries on the ground don’t need official statistics to know this. They see the effects of hunger and malnutrition every single day. Right now, as many as 66 million girls and boys are going to school on empty stomachs.

That’s the heartbreaking news. But you can help us address this crisis, one fortified meal at a time.

“Every day, our Salesian missionaries literally serve millions of children in over 5,500 schools and youth centers located in some of the world’s most impoverished countries and communities,” explains Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “This means we’re on the front lines of hunger. It also means we have a remarkable opportunity to do something about it. And do something, we must.”

Every year, more than 3 million precious girls and boys die from hunger-related issues. And malnourished children who survive suffer from wasting and stunted growth—both which lead to cognitive delays and health issues that escalate an inescapable cycle of generational poverty.

“Poverty is a leading cause of hunger,” says Fr. Gus. “But hunger also causes poverty. Chronically malnourished children are often too ill to attend school, or focus on their lessons. Consequently, these children grow up to be poorly educated adults, which severely limits their ability to secure employment and make enough money to support themselves.”

Fifteen-year-old Daniel could have easily fallen into this trap, through no fault of his own. Daniel lives in Cité Soleil, Haiti, where he’s been fending for himself since he was just 8 years old. Born to a teenage mother living on the streets, Daniel tried to survive on his own for a while—eating leftover restaurant meals he scavenged from the garbage, or stealing food from stores. Often, he didn’t have anything to eat for days at a time.

Fortunately, Daniel found his way to Don Bosco Lakay, a comprehensive Salesian-run program that provides shelter and educational services to former street children. Here, he receives healthy daily meals that nourish his body and mind, and fuels his active participation in school. Today, Daniel looks forward to becoming a carpenter—a skill that will enable him to live as a financially independent adult, far away from the streets where his life began.

Generously donated by Rise Against Hunger, the meals Daniel and his peers receive arrived in Haiti in 40-foot containers arranged by Salesian Missions. Funds raised from our Food Distribution Appeal go directly toward covering the costs of shipping these containers, and transporting the contents to their final destinations.

According to Salesians in Haiti, demand for such feeding programs continues to rise. Despite ongoing efforts to rebuild following a series of natural disasters, the country suffers some of the highest levels of food insecurity in the world. And it’s a trend mirrored in countless impoverished communities where our missionaries serve.

This is why Salesian Missions cultivates relationships with leading food relief agencies like Rise Against Hunger. Whenever possible, our missionaries wrap this aid into school-based programs and other social projects in order to ensure holistic support for the people they serve.

“It’s important that our feeding programs aren’t just a quick fix,” says Fr. Gus. “Offering them through schools, for example, serves as an incentive for parents to educate their children—a synergy that ensures students’ long-term health and success.”

For every child like Daniel, however, so many more pray for food to eat. For just a few dollars in support of our annual Food Distribution Appeal, you can help us answer their pleas for help.

“Effectively addressing the issue of chronic hunger and malnutrition requires a global, coordinated effort,” says Fr. Gus. “Salesian Missions, and 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.”

Learn more about our work in Haiti.

Our mission transforms every $1 into $20 worth of life-saving food. Please join us in this extraordinary effort to vanquish hunger today!

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