Unto CEO Talks About Unprecedented Hunger in the Toughest Places
By Amanda DeWitt
We face an unprecedented global food crisis. The number of people struggling with acute food insecurity is at the highest point since World War II. In the toughest places people simply cannot afford or access the nutrition they need to survive.
Unto® President and CEO, Al Goff, answers questions about the current crisis and how every person can do something to help.
Unto: You talk a lot about serving people in the toughest places. What does that mean?
Al: People in the toughest places lack access to the basic items they need to survive — nutritious food, clean water, or shelter — and most importantly they have no access to the message of Jesus without some kind of effort.
Unto: When we hear in the media that we are facing an unprecedented global food crisis. What does that mean? And what is causing it?
Al: When we talk about a global food crisis, we are talking about a situation where millions of people in numerous places around the world do not have enough to eat. Right now 811 million people go to bed hungry each night1 because they lack adequate nutrition — which is defined as living on less than 1,800 calories a day.
Because we live in a broken world, suffering remains. People face the effects of greed, conflict, and disaster. They struggle to cope with crises, like the current one marked by food shortages and escalating food costs. Here are just a few of the reason people go hungry each night.
- Armed conflict is primary cause of hunger in at least 23 countries2. Crops are being destroyed. Economies are being dismantled. And basic goods cannot get into areas where people need them.
- Rising food costs and scarcity are disproportionately affecting the global poor3 — those who live on less than $5.50 a day. They simply cannot keep up or even access the nutrition they need.
- Droughts are threatening people’s ability to grow food and raise livestock4. This also impacts their ability to sell goods and provide for their family’s basic needs.
- Combine all this with the global logistics crisis and the war in Ukraine which is disrupting wheat supplies around the world, and people simply cannot access the food items they need to survive5.
Unto: Why can people in the toughest places not afford or access the food they need?
In the toughest places people struggle with the factors previously mentioned — war, poverty, and drought have left them without access to most basic goods and services. They are simply not available. Because most people live on less than $5.50 a day, they also cannot afford to purchase food or other items, even if they could get them, due to rising costs.
Unto: With all of our technological advances, why are so many people still going hungry?
Al: The really sad part is that people should not be going hungry. This is a solvable problem. Enough food exists in the world to feed everyone, but the disparity in distribution is the problem. Some of it is unavoidable. Supply chain disruptions, caused by war and COVID-19, plus droughts and storms have made food difficult to access in the toughest places.
Unto: Many organizations talk about eliminating hunger, yet the situation is worsening. Is it really possible to end world hunger?
Al: World hunger will not just end at some point. It will take a move of God to fix the problem.
As followers of Jesus, we recognize the inherent worth of every individual. Every person — no matter who they are, what they do, or where they live — is made in the image of God. This is why we go to the toughest places, where people have no other help or hope.
But more than just food distribution is required to end world hunger. Wars must cease. Inflated prices must regulate. Droughts must stop.
As long as we live in a broken world, problems will exist. People will go hungry. So we must continue to respond and serve those who need help most.
Unto: Do you expect the situation to improve? If so when?
Al: Ultimately there will be a day when everything is set right — when Jesus returns. Until that time He calls us to be people who help and serve those in need.
I do think the supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19 are easing up. I am hopeful the supply chains will improve and prayerful that the number of wars will decrease. But it may take a few years for these things to shift. In the meantime there is much for followers of Jesus to do.
Unto: I am just one person with limited resources. What can I really do to help?
Al: When you partner with Unto, you are joining with thousands of others who are committed to sharing help and hope in the toughest places. Because of the extensive 190+ country Cru® network, we are uniquely positioned to reach those who might otherwise be unreachable using local distribution channels and extensive international logistics.
It costs just 30 cents to provide a meal to someone affected by war, drought, or poverty. The meal is not just dropped off. It is delivered by a local staff member, pastor, or volunteer who can build a relationship with the family receiving it. At the right time and in a culturally appropriate way, they can share about the eternal hope of Jesus. These staff members are locals dedicated to the communities where they live and are committed to long-term relationships that will result in multiplying disciples who establish multiplying .
James 2:15-17 says, “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Let’s put our faith in action together. Let’s go to the toughest places. And let’s express the kindness of Jesus to those who have no other help or hope.
Send Meals to Children Facing Starvation
As the global food crisis continues, people in the toughest places face severe hunger. War, drought, economic shocks, and other factors have left them unable to access the nutrition they need to survive. Within four months Unto plans to send 1.8 million meals to suffering children and their families who are struggling to survive. It takes just 30 cents to provide a meal — and share the message of eternal hope with those who have never heard.
Published March 30, 2023
Amanda is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Gift for Leadership, Kindred Spirit, and Christianity Today publications. She holds a M.A. in Media and Communication from Dallas Theological Seminary.