True confession: I told a lie
I have never actually had nothing to eat. But for many people, food scarcity is real.
I have a confession to make. I lie to myself.
When I get really hungry, and I’m randomly opening my kitchen cabinets, I’ve been known to say things like, “I have nothing to eat!”
But that is simply not true.
I have lots of things to eat. I have boxes of pasta. Cans of beans. Popsicles that have been in my freezer for an indeterminate amount of time. I might not have been to the store recently, but what I really mean is that I have nothing that I want to eat.
I bemoan my “empty” refrigerator - then decide to walk down the street to pick up something at Chipotle instead.
I say things like “I’m not in the mood” when I look at my kitchen – then supplement my existing stocked cabinets with a quick trip the grocery store.
And despite my many delusions, I’m not truly hungry.
Not having a particular food dish that I’m craving is not the same thing as real hunger. My pickiness is nothing like true food scarcity.
I have never actually had nothing to eat.
But for many people living in extreme poverty, food scarcity is real – and feeding their families is an all-consuming, top-of-mind priority. It’s not about preference or variety or deliciousness – it’s about calories and energy and nutrients. It’s about filling children’s bellies so that they can go to school and learn. It’s about eating enough to provide needed energy to make it through the day. It’s about survival.
According to the United Nations, over 800 million people are chronically undernourished – and nearly all of them live in the developing world. These individuals are not tired of eating the same thing for a few days in a row – they are tired of not being sure if they are going to eat at all. They have big dreams for the future, but first need the protein and carbohydrates that will strengthen them to work and learn and grow.
Opportunity International is doing something to help.
Opportunity’s agricultural entrepreneurs are working to improve the quantity and quality of their yields, addressing food scarcity from the source. With tools and training from Opportunity International, these farmers are moving from subsistence to commercial agriculture, producing more food to feed more people.
For subsistence farmers, an investment from Opportunity empowers them to grow their plot and produce additional crops to eat, but also propels them into the broader economy.
As commercial farmers, they can employ their neighbors, sell their excess products and diversify their families’ diets with their new sources of income.
An investment from Opportunity turns a farmer into an entrepreneur.
And an entrepreneur can not only feed his family, but can transform his community.
From April 27 – May 1, I will join with thousands of people around the world to better understand the lives of those living in extreme poverty. For five days, I will eat and drink on less than $1.50 a day – and in so doing, raise awareness and funds to fight global poverty.
I invite you to join me as I Live Below the Line. Together we can empower entrepreneurs, create global change and influence the lives of those living in poverty.
Together, we can fight to end true hunger once and for all.
Written by Allison Kooser