The Global Hunger Relief Run
In the world of fundraising, activities such as running and walking have been a staple and are an easy way to get a crowd of supporters to participate. Great examples include The Walk To End Breast Cancer and The Walk To End Alzheimer’s. On June 14 in Phoenix, AZ, there wasn’t a walk, but rather a run. The Global Hunger Relief Run is an annual 5K run through downtown Phoenix. Participants meet at the Phoenix Convention Center at 6 a.m. and are bussed to Steel Indian School Park where the race begins.

Registration for the race starts at $25 and all proceeds raised from registration fees will go to feed the more than one billion people without adequate food supply around the world. One hundred percent of the registration fees will be donated to The Global Hunger Relief (GHR), and supporters are encouraged to make additional donations as well.

The Global Hunger Relief Run is arranged by a coalition of Southern Baptist organizations that include the Woman’s Missionary Union, Guidestone Financial Resources and LifeWay Christian Resources. According to their official website, projects such as the Global Hunger Relief Run combat hunger around the world by participating in disaster relief, addressing chronic hunger and working to eliminate urban food deserts.

The sponsors also provide business services, working in the fields of national and international development and medical and evangelical activities.

The registration website states that 80 percent of funds are used internationally through the work of the International Mission Board and Baptist Global Response. According to the Baptist Press News, The North American Mission Board (NAMB) distributes the other 20 percent with the supervisory help of the Baptist state conventions.

Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, stated: “Our partners have put together a first-class event for those who run and for those who simply want to have fun and support the lifesaving work of Global Hunger Relief while we’re together in Phoenix.”

In 2015 alone, more than six million meals were provided through projects supported by the GHR. The 2017 Global Hunger Relief Run hopes to raise even more. To support the visibility of this event, use the hashtag #GHR5K.

Vicente Vera

Photo: Flickr

UN Food Rations to SyriaThe United Nations World Food Programme recently announced that a record pledge of $675 million, made at the Supporting Syria and the Region conference, will restore full food rations for Syrians.

In early February 2016, world leaders gathered at the conference in London to plan the restoration, the U.N. News Centre reports. According to the New York Times, most of the new money for the pledge was provided by Germany. The World Food Programme had to make cuts in aiding Syrian civilians last year because its budget was severely underfunded. This new pledge has helped the budget immensely.

The rations will go to Syrians inside the country, as well as refugees in the region. According to the U.N., there are 4.5 million Syrians inside the country and 1.8 million refugees outside the country in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt who rely on the World Food Programme every day.

The executive director of the World Food Programme Ertharin Cousin said, “the pledge now fully meets the basic food assistance necessities for those in need.” The pledge will also support increased student meals and other in-kind activities that will help create a better future for those affected, World Food Programme News reports. According to the U.N., these funds will allow the World Food Programme to provide a full food basket to families between April and October 2016.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs also said that life-saving humanitarian assistance would be delivered by the U.N. and its partners to roughly 154,000 people living in besieged locations inside Syria. The assistance includes food, water, sanitation supplies, nutrition, household items, health and medical supplies.

Delivery trucks have already reached Moadimiyeh and more are expected to reach Madaya, Zabadani, Kefraya, Foah and East Ghouta. These deliveries will be in addition to regular operations delivering humanitarian aid to millions of Syrians, the U.N. reports.

According to Nonprofit Quarterly, the U.N. estimates that over 250,000 people have been killed and 12 million have been displaced due to the situation in Syria. The U.N. World Food Programme continues to do essential work to provide relief and assistance to the refugees and displaced persons.

Kerri Whelan

Sources: WFP, United Nations, Nonprofit Quarterly, NY Times
Photo: United Nations

Ghana Vitamin A Deficiency
As a leader in fighting extreme global poverty, government agency USAID is currently revolutionizing health and nutrition for northern Ghanaians. In order to counter the vitamin A deficiency from which many people in Ghana suffer, USAID introduced the sweet potato to the country. Since its introduction, the sweet potato has become one of the region’s most popular vegetables, USAID reports.

The implementation of the sweet potato is part of USAID’s 2014-2025 Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy. The project is aligned with the 2025 World Health Assembly Nutrition Targets and focuses on decreasing chronic malnutrition and improving other nutrition investments. According to USAID, over one-third of children under the age of five, in five northern districts, suffer from stunted growth resulting from poor nutrition, so the strategy is crucial for bettering the future generations.

USAID team members visited Ghana last year and taught 439 women in 17 districts how to grow the sweet potato. The crop instantly became admired, with villagers calling it “Alafie Wuljo,” or “healthy potato” in the Dagbani language. Ghanaians have also been taught different ways to cook the potato, such as schoolchildren enjoying sweet potato fries.

“Now everyone wants to grow orange-fleshed sweet potatoes,” said the head of the project, Phillipe LeMay, in a USAID article.

The Nutrition Strategy goes beyond just the sweet potato. The project also focuses on educating farmers about other nutritious crops, linking farmers to markets, helping community members create savings and loans, promoting better hygiene and improving water and sanitation infrastructure.

USAID and the government of Ghana aim to change the lives of roughly 300,000 people with this project. Northern Ghana is an area of particular focus because it is relatively remote with a harsh climate and limited resources. This work will also be assisting with the goals of the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. Feed the Future aims to decrease child stunting by 20 percent and double incomes of vulnerable households. With USAID tactics, this is becoming a reality.

The project has received positive responses thus far. The Ghanaian government has taken the initiative to promote a solution to vitamin A deficiency and nutrition in general, according to USAID, which has beneficial long-term effects. The organized training provided by USAID has also educated many people on how to practice proper sanitation and good nutrition.

“I now understand the links between poor sanitation, diarrheal diseases and nutrition,” said West Gonja District member Ama Nuzaara, in a USAID article. “I also make sure that my children wash their hands with soap and water after they use the toilet. I do this for my family’s health and well-being.”

Kerri Whelan

Sources: USAID 1, JSI, USAID 2, Feed the Future
Photo: Feed the Future

An effort of the Southern Baptist Convention, the World Hunger Fund is not aimed to discriminate between ethnicity, beliefs, or geographic location. Instead, volunteers and missionaries seek to primarily feed the soul and body of those in need, and secondarily open their eyes to the faith in God.

This fund thrives on the conviction to Christ; any and all donations proceed directly to feeding the hungry, with no administrative/promotional charges necessary or occurring.

In about a decade’s time, donations to the hunger cause by the Convention have seen a drop (from $6.3 million in 2000 to 4.6 million in 2011.) However, it is still a considerable contribution, as a meal at a Southern Baptist hunger ministry averages at only about $0.30 per portion. Thus, over five million North Americans alone were fed in 2011. The crusade continues year after year despite the relatively low “conversion rate”: out of those five million people, about 30,000 were reported to have professed their newly found faith as a follow-up.

Several hunger projects are currently active through the Southern Baptist fund, including a clean water initiative, focusing particularly on China, and the Bread for Life for Syrian Refugees program.

In 2009, a factory was started in China to manufacture water filters. In one year, its capacity was to produce 7,000 exemplars; with heavy demand, all 7,000 sold out rather quickly. In the coming years, the factory is expected to expand and double, even triple production of the filters. Through a partnership with local churches, food tickets were handed out to victims of the Syrian crisis, improving the availability of essential food supply.

Other projects stretch largely across North America and focus on working with struggling schoolchildren and elderly people.

The World Hunger Fund has recently been renamed to Global Hunger Relief, a broader working title that emphasizes the resourcefulness of the fund.

Natalia Isaeva

Sources: ERLC, World Hunger Fund
Photo: Great Commission Kentucky