The many faces of hunger
By Dr. George Acquaah
October 16th is the day set aside to celebrate World Food Day. This annual event, hosted by the World Food Organization (FAO) is devoted to drawing attention to world hunger and food issues. The theme for this year's celebration is "Choices for a warm and hungry planet"
When you think of hunger, what comes to mind? Is it images of emaciated people in developing countries shown on network TV, or kids rummaging in garbage dumps advertised by relief organizations soliciting funds? Yes, political ineptitude and wars can create situations whereby people go hungry, but sometimes natural disasters and adverse weather such as drought can cause food shortages leading to hunger and starvation. These days we talk about weapons of mass destruction, but I submit to you that hunger is a weapon of mass destruction that can be more devastating than military weapons.
So what does this have to do with me, you may ask? Well, a lot more than you think, for hunger has many faces. Yes, even in affluent countries like the USA, people go hungry for a variety of reasons. Take a minute to visit this website: http//www.oaklandinstitute.org/?=node/view/104 for a summary of categories of people in the USA who experience hunger to varying degrees. Whereas chronic hunger may not persist in affluent countries, economic stress often plunges people into periods of hunger. And yes, even students sometimes skip meals when they face economic hardship on campus!
Food is a basic human right! Every human being has the right to adequate and nutritious food, and it is the responsibility of government to facilitate the achievement of this right. A right to food should not be misconstrued to mean a right to be fed. All able-bodied persons are required to make every effort to procure food. However, if unsuccessful, it is the responsibility of government to intervene to provide assistance.
On October 16, as part of the celebration of the World Food Day at Bowie State University, the Student Government Association and the BioMed Club of the Department of Natural Sciences will team up to conduct a food drive on campus to benefit a new food bank to be established at BSU. You are hereby requested to bring nonperishable food items in their original containers (please note the expiration date) to the office for pick up by student volunteers. If necessary, please call 23220 for assistance. Once established, the student community will be notified of the location and its operation.
Thank you in advance for your generosity. Until, next time, this is "Dr. G" saying, be socially responsible.
The writer is Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Bowie State University