For over 825 million people in the world right now, a solid, nutritious meal is an unattainable dream. Of this number, 345 million are forced by circumstances beyond their control to make drastic sacrifices to survive. Despite such desperate efforts by devoted parents, malnutrition still ends up causing nearly half of all deaths in children under the age of five.
The effects of war, disease, and politics are all at play. The cost of bananas in South Sudan has now reached 58% of the average daily wage. If that was the case in Canada, it would make a bunch of bananas $125. Droughts brought on by the forces of climate change have brought about famine conditions in several East African countries. Meanwhile, in Venezuela, extreme levels of inflation have made food unaffordable, and in Ukraine and surrounding countries, the war has cut many people off from their basic needs. In all these circumstances, children, the elderly, and the disabled often pay the heaviest price.
While Canadians are not immune these changes, the malnutrition and starvation being faced in countries with more drastic circumstances are worse than many of us can imagine. For these struggling nations, the problem is about more than just hunger. The people we are describing also have been deprived of a voice – of the ability to change their circumstances. They lack not only food on their table but also a seat at the table. That is why ADRA Canada is launching a new campaign – “Justice At The Table.”
As part of the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist church, ADRA Canada has pledged to raise 2.4 million dollars in the fight against hunger. These 2.4 million dollars’ worth of food may sound like a lot, but it’s only the beginning of what ADRA can accomplish. Our programs will certainly provide food to people in need, but they will also teach them how to grow their own food in ways that are sustainable and resilient to climate change. By supporting ADRA, you will not just be giving food, but helping communities build resilience and self-sufficiency.
Additionally, if ADRA Canada can successfully achieve its overall goal of raising 2.4 million dollars, our partnerships with other organizations like the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) will help to increase that amount to 15 million. Every donation means much more than just the dollar amount!
If each of the 75,000 Seventh-day Adventists in Canada gave just 32 dollars to this campaign, we could easily achieve our goal. To get this effort moving, we are calling for at least 100 churches to join us in raising five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000). With this foundation, we will be able to raise that 2.4 million for people in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Lebanon, Moldova, Mozambique, Nepal, Ukraine, Somalia, Sudan, Venezuela, and Yemen.
While it’s clear that so many places are struggling, we must realize that global hunger is not about a lack of resources. This planet produces enough food to feed every person on it. God, our gracious Creator, has filled the earth with food, and is consistently portrayed in scripture as a provider and sustainer of this good creation. There is enough to go around. But global hunger is about the ways that people forget to care for each other as God intended.
Our church founder Ellen White unfortunately recognized these forces of inequality and hunger at work in her own time. She said: “All around us we see want and suffering. Families are in need of food; little ones are crying for bread. The houses of the poor lack proper furniture and bedding. Many live in mere hovels which are almost destitute of conveniences. The cry of the poor reaches to heaven. God sees; God hears.” (Testimonies for the Church 6:385)
Thankfully, we see God’s concern for the hungry and poor fully revealed in the life and teachings of Jesus. With Isaiah’s words, Jesus said that he was “anointed […] to proclaim good news to the poor.” He taught that his judgment between the wicked and righteous would depend on how people treated “the least of these.” He sometimes described himself as a source of food – a well of living water (John 4), the bread of life (John 6:35), and the true vine (15:1). These words all symbolize the same ethos and spirit – to bring abundant life to humanity.
True followers of Jesus have always taken that call to abundant life seriously. In the book of Acts, the early church followed Jesus by pooling their resources and selling their assets so that “there were no needy persons among them.” (Acts 4:32-35 NIV). Christians today, as Christ’s appointed hands and feet in this world, should be proud to pick up where those early Christians left off – demonstrating through our actions that Jesus still saves, still heals, and still feeds multitudes with our five small loaves of bread.
If you want to join ADRA in Christ’s mission for justice, you can follow these steps:
- Express your interest in participating to your church board.
- Decide on a fundraising method and the amount of money your church aims to fundraise.
- Take this information and register your church at adra.ca/hunger
Once you are registered and have your goals set, you will be connected to ADRA Canada and all the other churches participating in the campaign. You will be able to track your progress in your own church and alongside other churches. And as you run your campaign, ADRA will provide you with resources, ideas, and tools for your fundraising efforts.
As Christians, we are called to shine brightest in the world’s darkest hour and to act with kindness and generosity when we see others suffering. There is no crisis in our world that Jesus has not already conquered. And as surely as the Lord “prepares a table before us in the presence of enemies,” (Psalm 23) the church must now face down the enemies of hunger and injustice. The only sustainable future is love. It is time to dethrone hunger and to set a place for Justice at the Table.