Hunger in the World and How Much Food Is Wasted

Hunger in the World and How Much Food Is Wasted

I added up the number of letters I received begging for financial help to address hunger in the world. I received 116 letters in September of 2021. They all displayed pathetic, horrible pictures of starving children, women holding emaciated babies, or men looking at barren fields due to drought or war. It is wonderful that people have set up various organizations to meet the pain and anguish of deprived people worldwide. But, the fact is that all of this shouldn’t be necessary. 

The October 2021 issue of Scientific American contained a report of how much food is wasted. The article reports that 40% of all food produced is lost across the supply chain from farm to table. Each year 2.7 billion metric tons of food are lost—enough to fill 2,860 curbside trash tote bins every second. The article breaks down how much food is wasted in the various food groups, including seafood, meat, dairy and eggs, oilseeds and pulses, roots and tubers, cereals, and fruits and vegetables. 

In addition to not meeting the hunger in the world, a significant amount of water and energy are wasted. We see skeptics complaining that if God existed, He wouldn’t allow this pain. Advocates of population control say the Earth can’t feed all of the people living on it. Some people have advocated eradicating the “unfit” mentally ill or physically incapacitated because they use resources that the “fit” need. 

The fact is that God has blessed the Earth with the ability to produce more food than we can use with our present population. It’s human wastefulness and failure to wisely use God’s blessings that cause the pain and suffering of hunger in the world. Therefore, it is encouraging that various Christian organizations are working to prepare and transport food that would otherwise go to waste. They are also drilling wells and showing people in under-developed countries make better use of the resources available to grow crops and preserve food. 

Matthew 25:35 shows Christ telling His followers that in the judgment, we will all be commended or condemned partly based on how we met the need of others. “Then shall (Jesus) say to those on his right hand ‘Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink.’” The passage goes on to show people asking when they did those things, and Jesus replied, “Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me” (Verse 40). 

Let each of us support works that address the issue of hunger in the world and the shortage of clean water. That may mean directly supplying those essentials or helping people in undeveloped areas of the world learn how to make better use of what God has given them. 

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Reference: “Massively Reducing Food Waste Could Feed the World” in Scientific American October 2021, pages 77-78.