A staggering one in nine people worldwide go to bed hungry and many are in imminent risk of starvation. Environmental and economic conditions have created an unprecedented food-shortage crisis in more than 50 countries worldwide. Worse, due to skyrocketing costs and pervasive poverty, far too many families simply cannot afford to buy even the most basic staples. While erasing chronic hunger requires a global effort, Salesian Missions is committed to being part of the solution, in every community in which our missionaries serve.
In South Sudan, for example -- where famine has left an estimated 5 million people in desperate need of food aid -- Salesian missionaries throughout the country are feeding thousands of children and families each day. And this assistance is critical.
“At the outset of the famine, our missionaries weighed more than 300 children between the ages of 3 and 6 -- and discovered that 200 of them were underweight,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “Worse, 170 of them were severely malnourished. Even in instances where food is available, families often do not have the means to purchase it.”
For this reason, missionaries also provide food to school children throughout South Sudan in Gumbo, Juba, Wau and Tonj -- nearly 13,500 meals every day.
Noting that malnourished children suffer from irreversible stunted growth, cognitive deficiency, difficulty maintaining attention and other health issues that often prevent them from attending or succeeding in school, Fr. Mark says “education is one of the most important factors in determining whether a child can break the chains of poverty. This is why we are committed to offering feeding programs -- in South Sudan and wherever they are needed -- that nurture children so they can remain in school.”
These programs are possible, in part, through our dedicated Food Distribution Appeal, launched at this time each year.
This critical effort raises the funds Salesian Missions needs to transport and deliver tons of food -- donated by partner organizations fighting hunger -- from the shipping docks to Salesian-run programs in some of the most impoverished, food deprived communities around the world. This food is already on the ground; the biggest challenge is getting it into the hands of those who need it most.
“Gifts to this special appeal are actually worth 20 times their value,” explains Fr. Mark. “This means that just one $10 donation helps us transport $200 worth of food. And the direct impact of this kindness is significant.”
In Angola, for instance -- where half of the population lives on less than $2 per day -- 40 girls and boys between the ages of 8 and 14 now eat at least one nutritious meal per day. These former street children live and attend school at the Salesian-run Mama Margarita Home in Luanda.
“Thanks to generous donors, we can buy nutritious food for these students, which they desperately needed,” says Brother Maximo Herrera, who serves at the Home. “Every single one of them arrived here malnourished. But, now they are thriving in the classroom and have an excellent chance of breaking the cycle of poverty that condemned them to the streets.”
However, for every child we feed in South Sudan, Angola and around the world, so many others do not know where their next meal will come from. Our Annual Food Distribution Appeal is your chance to make an immediate difference in the lives of desperately hungry girls and boys.
Our mission can deliver $20 worth of life-saving food for only $1. Please join this miracle and find your mission today!