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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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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!