Pope Francis last week told a World Health Organization’s International Conference on World Hunger and Nutrition to “Feed the hungry, save life on the planet.” With uncharacteristic pessimism he challenged world leaders to “Take care of the earth so it does not respond with destruction,”

There is enough food in the world for everyone to be properly nourished, but good distribution and political will are needed to make it happen. Food insecurity means families daily do not know if they will be able to provide proper nutrition for their families. Many depend on food banks and other programs to supplement their diet. State agencies report that 25 percent of children in Maine go without proper nutrition.

World hunger has been the main focus of Bread for the World for over 40 years. This national inter-faith organization urges national leaders to support legislation related to hunger prevention.

Bread for the World conducts “Offering of Letters” in area churches, letters which are forwarded to Maine’s senators and congresspeople asking them to support hunger-prevention legislation. WHO documents many aspects of world hunger. Malnutrition from too little, too much or simply the wrong kinds of food. Chronic hunger from inadequate food intake over a long period. Hidden hunger – lack of proper vitamin and mineral intake. All of these have negative, long term effects on early childhood development.

So, what can one person do? Simply do something! Volunteer at a local food bank/soup kitchen, bring this subject up in your church and social groups, get informed, contact your elected representatives. Ask them what they are planning to do about it. Dare to bring this up at your holiday tables.

Frank Wnek

Brunswick

Rev. Marilyn Robb

Portland

co-chairs, Bread for the World, Maine