Several years ago, I came home from work complaining about how hungry I was. My wife was fixing dinner and the girls were working on homework at the kitchen table. They asked if I had eaten lunch today. To which I replied, yes, but I haven’t had anything since lunch. They laughed at my foolish reply because no one else had eaten since lunch either. I was embarrassed by my response because it had only been hours since I’d eaten, but I acted as if I were starving. Truth is, I’ve never been starving, but there are those for whom starvation is a reality.
Almost 800 million people around the world live with constant hunger, and 1 in 6 people in the US are food insecure, meaning, they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The tragedy of hunger is very real for many of our churches and their communities. We all wish hunger would go away, but it isn’t going anywhere and the church has a clear command in scripture to feed the hungry (1 John 3:17-18 & James 2:5-17).
The Southern Baptist Convention’s Global Hunger Relief is a very effective funding system, put in place to assist ministries and churches in feeding the hungry. 80% of the hunger relief funds are used internationally while 20% are distributed within North America. 100% of every dollar given to Global Hunger Relief goes directly for the purchase of food. None of it is used for promotion, administration, transportation, or operation costs.
The Global Hunger Relief offering has helped rescue starving children in West Africa, provided food for forcibly displaced refugees and given hope through backpacks filled with food to children in Appalachia. SBC hunger relief ministries provide food to the hungry and offer the Bread of Life to them as well. There were over 21,000 professions of faith as a result of hunger ministries throughout the world. That includes 142 decisions for Christ last year in Kentucky as a direct result of hunger relief ministries.
Even though we have an effective hunger relief funding system in place and every penny of every dollar goes only toward the purchase of food – it’s still not enough because the average Kentucky Baptist church member gave less than the cost of a canned soft drink to hunger relief last year.
Southern Baptists have set aside October 9th as Hunger Relief Sunday. Let me challenge you and your church to step up it’s giving to the Global Hunger Relief offering. Raise awareness of the offering and how it helps relieve hunger. Encourage friendly competition between small groups in your church. Preach a sermon on hunger relief or prepare a children’s sermon for Sunday morning. You’ll find resources to help with these suggestions at: www.kybaptist.org/hunger
The next time you start to say, I’m starving, stop and remember that you aren’t. But, there are many others in the world, and in our neighborhoods, who are.