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Food aid delivers more than full stomachs

Facing rising prices, food shortages, and natural disasters, families across the globe are struggling to find food for daily survival. In the face of hunger and disease, food aid can be their best hope for the future.

July 2008

In Burundi, child assemble to be served at a World Vision school feeding program. Across the globe, families are struggling to cope as food costs climb.
In Burundi, children assemble to be served at a World Vision school feeding program. Across the globe, families are struggling to cope as food costs climb.
©2008 Venerande Murekambaze/World Vision
Busi Dlamini wakes to darkness. It is 4 a.m., and most of Swaziland is asleep. Yet Busi has to start baking.

"There is nothing else she can do for the time being," says Mefkia, her husband. She must prepare fat cakes — deep-fried bread, filled with fruit or meat — for their 12-year-old daughter to sell at school.

Fat cakes are Busi's only means of income. They sell for 7 cents apiece. The odd jobs Mefkia finds in the community do not generate enough income to compete with the changing economy.

Rising food prices in Swaziland

"So many food commodities have gone up in a short space of time," says Mefkia. He had to tell his children that he could no longer afford to buy bread, which now costs $1.14 (U.S.) Due to the rising cost of flour, and the fuel used to import it, bakers are preparing to increase the price of bread yet again.


Help provide food and care for hungry children and families around the world, like the Dlamini family in Swaziland.

Because of rising prices, Busi's production costs are greater, and she only makes half of what she made a year ago. As price increases continue, this family faces greater expenses on a smaller income.


Many of the world's poorest families spend 75 percent of their income on food. The global food shortage, which has grown since 2005, is forcing them to either eat less or neglect critical health care, bringing threats of chronic malnutrition and disease.

Food aid distributed in the community helps combat these concerns. But with the global food shortage and higher energy prices, it is increasingly difficult to deliver aid to those in need. In March, The World Food Program announced that the cost of its food purchases had risen 55 percent in less than a year. Since then, prices have only continued to increase.

They may not have bread, but the Dlaminis still count their blessings. "At least we have World Vision and our basic needs are being met," says Mefkia, happy that his children — one of whom is sponsored through World Vision — can remain in school. Times are hard, but he is confident that his family will make it.

The Dlamini family, and many others in Swaziland, are not the only ones suffering. Many people in developing countries were already struggling to survive on less than a dollar a day. Now, they find that a dollar does not purchase as much as it used to.

Agricultural changes in Angola

Avelina, 28, stands with her four children. Like others in Angola and around the world, the family has been hit hard by the spiraling costs of food.
Avelina, 28, stands with her four children. Like others in Angola and around the world, the family has been hit hard by the spiraling costs of food.
©2008 Tatiana Gomes/World Vision

The people of Angola, who rely heavily on imported food, feel the effects of high fuel costs and the increased demand for food products. "We are surviving on foraging [for] wild fruits in the bush land," says Avelina, a single mother of four. Because seeds and fertilizer cost too much this year, Avelina was unable to plant crops to feed her children.

She is not alone. Plagued by worry, farmers in Angola watch as their yields diminish.

In 2002, Angola emerged from three decades of conflict that destroyed its agricultural sector. By providing agricultural education, World Vision helped Angolans rebuild their economy. For a time, the country's future looked bright. But now, with items such as fertilizers doubling in price, plentiful harvests are a thing of the past.

Angola needs multiple types of food aid. Without food distributions, children like Avelina's will soon become malnourished, making them susceptible to malaria and cholera.

But food distributions must be coupled with sustainable development efforts that look beyond the immediate need to address the future. Teaching Angolans organic farming methods will allow them to produce food without dependence on expensive imported goods, like fertilizer.

Combating hunger in Myanmar

Dave Toycen (second from right), World Vision's president in Canada, assists with a World Vision food distribution in Myanmar.
Dave Toycen (second from right), World Vision's president in Canada, assists with a World Vision food distribution in Myanmar.
©2008 World Vision staff

In times of crisis, emergency aid is vital. Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar is simply one example.

"We haven't had regular meals, as my father couldn't go to work," says 9-year-old Ni Ni, several days after the disaster in Myanmar. Thankfully, Ni Ni received high-nutrition snacks from World Vision staff members. World Vision's food distribution in Myanmar has helped children like Ni Ni make it through the day.

Increasing food prices are quieter than cyclones. But without food aid, their effects could be just as devastating.


Learn more


>> Read more about the global food crisis and how food aid serves as an effective intervention.
>> Read an article featuring stories of children and families around the world who have been affected by rising food prices.

Four ways you can help

>> Please pray for children and families who are affected by the global food crisis, including the Dlamini family in Swaziland, Avelina and her children in Angola, and Ni Ni in Myanmar. Pray that help like food aid will lessen the threat of severe hunger and malnutrition for these people.
>> Act now. Contact your members of Congress and urge them to support increased funding for food aid programs to help end child hunger worldwide.
>> Donate now to provide food and care for hungry children and families around the world.
>> Give monthly to help provide food and agricultural assistance to children suffering from hunger. For just $20 per month, you can help save lives.

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Learn more

Read more about the global food crisis and how food aid serves as an effective intervention.
- -
Read an article featuring stories of children and families around the world who have been affected by rising food prices.

Four ways you can help

Please pray for children and families who are affected by the global food crisis, including the Dlamini family in Swaziland, Avelina and her children in Angola, and Ni Ni in Myanmar. Pray that help like food aid will lessen the threat of severe hunger and malnutrition for these people.
- -

Act now. Contact your members of Congress and urge them to support increased funding for food aid programs to help end child hunger worldwide.
- -
Donate now to provide food and care for hungry children and families around the world.
- -
Give monthly to help provide food and agricultural assistance to children suffering from hunger. For just $20 per month, you can help save lives.

 





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