Utah steps in to help the hungry

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    By RAY HAMMOND

    World Food Day is recognized worldwide as a day to reflect on efforts by both organizations and individuals to eliminate hunger.

    This year’s World Food Day comes a year after the first World Food Summit convened in Rome. There, United Nations leaders proposed a 50 percent reduction of the 800 million malnourished people throughout the world, according to World Food Day National Coordinator Patricia Young.

    Relieving the hunger of 800 million people may seem to be a daunting and even impossible task. According to Young, accomplishing this goal starts with each person.

    “Heads of state make the commitments, but its up to the people to keep their feet to the fire,” according to Young.

    The United States is the country with the most power to help solve the problems — because of its fertile land and most importantly because of its influence in world issues, according to Young.

    “What we need are for citizens to express their will that this is a national priority,” she said.

    Lora Beth Brown, associate professor of food science and nutrition, stressed that besides contributing to food drives, the right attitude is essential to advancing the cause of feeding the hungry.

    “For quite a long time, the Food and Care Coalition of Provo had a terrible time finding a location because everyone said, ‘Not in my neighborhood,'” Brown said.

    Fear subsides when citizens become knowledgeable about the existing problems and the needs of others, Brown said.

    “It may be saying, ‘Maybe it would be OK if the shelter for the homeless families in Salt Lake was only three blocks away,'” Brown said.

    The Food and Care Coalition and Habitat for Humanity are a two of the organizations in Provo and in communities throughout the country where volunteers are appreciated, Brown said.

    Brown said students provide generous service to humanitarian organizations, but there is always a need for more help.

    There are various opportunities for students to get involved. Brown suggested sorting food and hanging holiday decorations at shelters — as well as getting involved in organizations on campus such as the Students for International Development.

    Young agrees that all individuals should be concerned for the welfare of the hungry.

    “That everybody has a right to eat and is assured of that right should be a general obligation as citizens of the country and as citizens of the world,” she said.

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