Want to get involved in responding to the global food crisis but don't know where to start? Nancy Arnison, director, ELCA World Hunger Program, offers these suggestions:
• Start with your passions: If you're passionate about your community, help out at the local food pantry. If you're passionate about public policy, visit the ELCA advocacy Web site and join the e-Advocacy network. Or start with prayer.
• Order the ELCA World Hunger packet, which is filled with resources for all age groups. This year's packet includes interactive curriculum for youth and a leader's guide that can be used for adult forums.
• Give to world hunger through the ELCA Good Gifts catalog. Many people give a gift of livestock through God's Global Barnyard. It can become a tradition and a way for parents to teach their children about the importance of living a grateful life and caring for people less fortunate than they are.
Scientists predict trouble as the global population continues to skyrocket. Perhaps another technological wave will ease the situation, but there's no guarantee. As people of God, North American Christians will be challenged to be hopeful, creative and generous in the days ahead.
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The World Bank forecasts food prices to be, on average, about 25 percent higher during 2009 to 2018 compared with 1999 to 2007.
For poor consumers, who spend up to 60 percent of their incomes on staple foods, volatility in prices means a strong reduction in their effective purchasing power, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
The World Bank reports: "When faced with high prices and left to their own devices, food-insecure households have few options other than to reduce their current levels of food consumption, shift to lower quality and less-expensive foods, or forego critical expenditures on health and education."
Describing the global food crisis as a "man-made problem," the World Bank says "high fuel costs have resulted in higher agriculture costs, falling food stocks and land shifted out of food production to create biofuels." For example, farmers are diverting food crops, like corn, into ethanol production, leaving less food available for human consumption.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers