In a country like Canada where food is so readily available, it’s hard for us to fully comprehend the full ramifications of ongoing hunger. Sure, we say “I’m hungry,” or “I’m starving,” when dinnertime approaches, but to truly be hungry is something that few if any of us have ever experienced.
Richard Sterns, in his excellent book, The Hole in Our Gospel, wrote that true “hunger affects the human spirit. Perhaps most destructive of all is the desperation felt by parents who know that there will be no food today, and likely none tomorrow, to satisfy their hungry children.” He goes on to describe the effects of malnutrition that’s caused by a prolonged state of hunger: “Malnutrition compromises the human body in shocking ways. The body, in an attempt to conserve energy, compensates by slowing down physical and mental processes. A hungry mind cannot focus… And a child who hungers loses the ability to learn and even the desire to play.” (p. 119)
Yes, education is an effective way to overcome poverty, but a child who is hungry cannot learn and grow to his or her full potential. This is why The Joy and Hope of Haiti believes food sustainability is an issue of great importance.