Ash Wednesday

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

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Pope Francis reminds us: “Indifference to our neighbor and to God represents a real temptation for us Christians… When we fast from this indifference, we can begin to feast on love.” Through our almsgiving, prayer and fasting this Lent, may we become more compassionately aware of the many people, especially children, for whom hunger and malnutrition is a daily burden. May our Lenten practice lead us to work toward ZERO HUNGER in our world.

World Hunger and Malnutrition

  1. Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That's about one in nine people on earth.
  2. The vast majority of the world's hungry people live in developing countries, where 12.9 percent of the population is undernourished.
  3. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger. One person in four there is undernourished.
  4. One child dies every 10 seconds from hunger.
  5. Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five—3.1 million children each year.
  6. One out of six children—roughly 100 million—in developing countries are underweight.
  7. Asia has the largest share of the world's hungry people (some 552 million).
  8. World Food Programme (WFP) calculates that US$3.2 billion is needed per year to reach all 66 million hungry school-age children.
  9. Of the 4 billion metric tons of food we produce each year, one third is wasted. In developed countries food is often wasted on the plate, while in developing countries it is lost during production, as crops go unused or unprocessed because of poor storage or because the farmers cannot get their goods to market.
  10. Today across the globe, four crops (rice, wheat, corn and soy) represent 60 percent of all calories consumed. Addressing the challenges of climate change, food availability and food access will require helping farmers explore and identify a more diverse range of crops and build a market by educating communities about the nutritional importance of eating a wide range of foods.
  11. If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.

Prayer

O Creator of all living things, we are  hungry in a world full of abundance. The possibilities of food for bodies and souls overflow in this beautiful world. We ask for the grace to see the abundance of our world and to share this abundance with those who experience the brokenness of hunger and poverty in our communities, in our country, and around the world.

Give us loving and compassionate hearts and the courage to reach out to our sisters and brothers who are hungry and in pain. We ask you to be present to every person hungry for earthly food and hungry for the taste of the Spirit of God. We want to respond to your invitation to be co-creators with you in the care of our brothers and sisters. Help us to feed those who are hungry, to support those who are feeling lost, and to share your love with those who do not know you. God our Creator, nourish and strengthen us all. Amen.

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