|While Baptist World Aid observes World Hunger Month during October, the world's hunger crisis is a daily disaster. This year's awareness campaign seeks to drive home that point with the worldwide Baptist community under the theme, "Hunger Crisis: A Daily Disaster.
"According to a Web site, BWAid, the relief-and-development arm of the Baptist World Alliance, responds to global hunger and poverty 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
BWAid says the world hunger crisis has changed. People now go hungry because reasons including poor agriculture, disasters like flood and drought, political and commercial mismanagement, war and civil strife and climate change.
"We used to be able to say that there was enough food in the world, and that it was just a matter that it was not all in the right place where people clearly needed it," the Web site explains. "No more! There are now serious questions being asked about food security, and whether or not we are heading for serious shortages in food and clean water."
Despite rapid globalization of the world's economy, extreme poverty continues to plague a large percentage of the world's population. An estimated 1 billion people are extremely poor, earning less than a dollar a day. Another 824 million suffer from chronic hunger.
Despite the rapid onset of globalization, appalling poverty continues to affect a large proportion of the world's people. Approximately one billion people are extremely poor, struggling to survive on less than one dollar per day. A further 824 million people live in conditions of chronic hunger.
BWAid works with indigenous Baptist leaders around the world to assess needs and implement programs to combat both immediate hunger and long term food supplies through projects like training in agribusiness in Mozambique, working with four member bodies to respond to a famine in India and Bangladesh, supplying food and water in Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis and delivering food packages to poor families living in Roma settlements in the Ukraine.
Other projects include worldwide programs against HIV/AIDS and in countries including Armenia, Benin, Cambodia, DR Congo, El Salvador, Haiti, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
BWAid asks Baptists "to use the month of October to educate yourself about hunger issues, to pray for those who are hungry and those who are helping them, and to give generously to BWAid so that we can respond expeditiously to the many requests we receive."
Two years ago the Baptist Center for Ethics produced a DVD and online study guide, "Always Therefore: The Church's Challenge of Global Poverty," to educate and empower Baptists to respond to global poverty.
"We Christians too often read the Bible selectively about the poor, about the hungry," BCE Executive Director Robert Parham said. "That's bad news for the least of those among us."
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.