Together for the Hungry

By Stephen Hunt

Harsh desert conditions and prolonged civil war resulted in severe hunger in the African country where Jani* and Sarah* live. Sarah lost her parents in the war and has no relatives to care for her. As an orphan she is especially vulnerable to hunger and its effects. Jani took her in, but Jani is a widow and also especially vulnerable. Having enough food for both of them is a constant challenge.

A group of pastors in their country wanted to relieve the hunger around them, but they did not have the ability to do it alone. They needed others who would empathize with and serve people like Jani and Sarah with kindness and urgency. The pastors needed partners.

Ultimately, children suffer most from malnourishment due to the lack
of vitamins and nutrients in their diet.

Partnerships form the heart of humanitarian work at Unto®. Together our impact is multiplied as we relieve suffering, restore dignity, and reveal the hope of Jesus to people in need.

The process begins with our global field partners who create a strategy for effectively serving the people in their communities. We at Unto respond by involving others who can help provide resources to meet those needs.

A key partner organization for Unto is Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). FMSC is a like-minded nonprofit that provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children and families. Volunteers give their time and resources to fund and hand-pack meals that FMSC donates to Unto. Global field team members working with Unto then receive the meals and personally deliver them to hungry people in their communities — people like Jani and Sarah.

This is exactly how Jani and Sarah received meals to relieve their suffering. When the pastors arrived, Jani and Sarah had just endured two days without any food. They burst into tears of joy — grateful for the hope the gift provided, overwhelmed by the kindness people showed.

In addition to relieving suffering, meals help restore dignity. This refugee man was a chef in his hometown. He felt great joy when he added a few simple spices to a donated meal and used his gift to prepare a delicious dinner for his family.

Hunger is one of the few physical needs that every person on earth experiences to some degree. Many of us are blessed to rarely or never experience deep hunger, but deep hunger is surprisingly widespread. Enough food exists to feed the world’s 7 billion people, yet one out of every nine go to bed hungry each day.

Assistance and supplies are provided by Unto across the spectrum of humanitarian needs. Meals are a subset of our Food and Agriculture Program, one of our three main programs along with Clean Water and Critical Aid. Wherever possible, we partner with others to develop sustainable agriculture for hungry communities. But in many contexts — whether due to poverty, drought, violent conflict, or natural disaster — the immediacy of meals, life-saving sustenance, is what people need. In fact, in the past year more than two-thirds of Unto’s total shipments across four continents included meals. Because of our partners people like Jani, Sarah, and so many others received a 30-day supply of food when they needed it most.

Our global field team members recently provided meals to many people in many contexts, including:
  • civilians caught in the web of war in the Middle East
  • orphans in African countries like Malawi and Liberia
  • shepherd families in the remote mountains of Central Asia
  • people affected by natural disasters in North and Central America

In all of these contexts the need to relieve hunger is urgent. Doing so effectively requires partnership — collaboration, communication, and an ever-expanding network of people who will enter into other people’s suffering with the empathy, kindness, and eternal hope of Jesus.

*Names changed for security purposes.

Published October 16, 2018

Stephen has served as a content writer and researcher for Unto. He has been on staff since October 2017.