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/ Source: TODAY
By Megan O. Steintrager

Chronic hunger currently affects a staggering 821 million people around the world, according to statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Since its creation 1945, the FAO has been working toward its goal of freeing humanity from hunger and malnutrition.

What is World Food Day?

Oct. 16 is World Food Day 2018, a day that the FAO has designated to bring attention to how governments and individuals can help combat world hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity.

Strengthening the School Feeding Program in the framework of the Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative 2025
FAO teamed up with the photo agency NOOR to tell the stories of people who are fighting hunger in various countries with support from FAO and its partners. This photo is from an initiative in Chiquimula, Guatemala, where students receive meals prepared by volunteer mothers who have been trained in various subjects, such as nutrition and food preparation. The food prepared comes from family farming.(C)Pep Bonet/NOOR for FAO

On Oct. 16, 1945, representatives from 42 countries gathered in Quebec, Canada, to create the FAO. World Food Day commemorates the group's founding, celebrates the progress that has been made and highlights the need to do much more to fight hunger-related issues including malnutrition and food insecurity.

Strengthening the School Feeding Program in the framework of the Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative 2025
This photo shows another school food initiative in Aldea el Horizonte, Guatemala. (C)Pep Bonet/NOOR for FAO

The U.N. has set a goal of achieving zero hunger worldwide by 2030, and on World Food Day the FAO asks governments, farmers, organizations and individuals to get involved in working toward a world where everyone has reliable access to enough nutritious food — i.e. food security. With that goal in mind, the World Food Day slogan is "Our actions are our future."

Strengthening the School Feeding Program in the framework of the Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative 2025
This photo shows the FAO's Strengthening the School Feeding program in action in Los Vados, Guatemala.(C)Pep Bonet/NOOR for FAO

There are World Food Day events around the world, including a ceremony and panel at the FAO headquarters in Rome. Many local, national and global anti-hunger groups are holding events as well.

For example, to celebrate World Food Day this year, the group Rise Against Hunger will attempt to break the Guinness World Record of the most people assembling hunger relief packages simultaneously at multiple locations, and they're asking for individuals to help.

The anti-hunger organization Rise Against Hunger is holding a worldwide food packing event on World Food Day.
The anti-hunger organization Rise Against Hunger is holding a worldwide food packing event on World Food Day. Rise Against Hunger

Even those who can't make it to an official World Food Day event can still help support the cause of ending world hunger. Here are five ways simple ways to help.

1. Donate food.

Individuals and businesses can help their local communities by donating food to food banks and community organizations. The anti-hunger organization Feeding America allows people to search by zip code for local food banks.

2. Volunteer time.

According to Feeding America, 51 percent of all food programs rely entirely on volunteers, so giving time is a great way to help bolster food security.

Children in Haiti receive meals provided by Rise Against Hunger.
Children in Haiti receive meals provided by Rise Against Hunger. Rise Against Hunger

3. Raise awareness.

The FAO encourages people to talk to friends, family and coworkers about the zero hunger goal. Spreading the word can start with something as simple as tagging social media posts with #ZeroHunger.

4. Waste less food.

Wasting less food is one of the keys to creating a world without hunger, according to the FAO. Only buying what is needed, eating leftovers and using scraps are three possible ways to waste less.

5. Give money.

While donating food and time are great way to help on the local level, giving money is probably the most efficient way to help fight hunger globally. The UN's World Food Programme and Action Against Hunger are two large organizations fighting world hunger.

For more ways individuals can help, check out the What you can do to help achieve #zerohunger PDF from the FAO. And happy World Food Day!