All of us are feeling the pinch of rising food costs, but for families in poverty, the food crisis is upending their lives.
As global events intensify, including the Russia-Ukraine war, inflation, extreme weather events and the lingering effects of COVID-19, the number of people with insufficient food has increased fivefold in six years*. 276 million people—more than ten times Australia’s population—are now experiencing severe food insecurity.
All of us are feeling the pinch of rising food costs, but for families in poverty, the food crisis is upending their lives. Food insecurity threatens to undermine and even reverse decades of global progress in the eradication of extreme poverty.
“We are already seeing how this crisis, compounded with other serious challenges, is affecting our friends in Sri Lanka,” says Compassion Australia CEO Clare Steele.
“Many Sri Lankan families can no longer afford basic goods due to sharp inflation. Food, medicine and fuel are increasingly difficult to acquire, and power cuts are frequent and severe, “says Clare.
But this problem truly is global. The World Bank warns that for each one percentage point increase in food prices, 10 million people are thrown into extreme poverty worldwide.
“We must act now. Compassion is leading a local-first response to the global food crisis through partnerships with more than 8,500 local church partners in over 25 countries. The local church is well positioned to respond quickly and effectively, having decades of established trust and relationships throughout their communities. This means aid is delivered neighbour to neighbour,” says Clare.
Compassion’s response is two-fold: meeting children and families’ urgent nutrition needs now while working towards a sustainable solution to help stop ongoing hunger.
“Our local partners will provide immediate food packages and unconditional cash transfers to households deemed vulnerable to food insecurity. We are also working towards long-term food security through distributing seeds, fertiliser, livestock and training on how to build and maintain home gardens and small-scale farms,” said Clare.
Over the past two years of the pandemic, Compassion’s local church partners have provided over 21 million food packs to families in poverty, but now the crisis is skyrocketing the number of people who need help. Experts predict it could last years if action isn't taken now.
“This is indeed a time of crisis, but we can—and must—answer hunger with hope. By supporting the work of Compassion and other not-for-profits at this time, you can help vulnerable children and their families not only make it through these challenging times, but flourish on the other side of them,” said Clare.
You can act today and answer hunger with hope by supporting the people of Sri Lanka through Compassion or by giving to other charities working to stop the global food crisis.
*Data from the United Nations - Nations must ‘act together, urgently and with solidarity’ to end crisis of food insecurity
For an interview or comment from Clare Steele, please contact Andrew Marsh on firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo courtesy of Etienne Boulanger on Unsplash