a: to perish from lack of food b : to suffer extreme hunger (Merriam-Webster online dictionary)
I sat in a van listening to the chatter of happy, healthy twelve-year-old girls. A voice called out from the back, “Miss Deanna! Miss Deanna! Can we stop at McDonald’s? We’re starving!”
Starving. I paused for a moment. Did any of these girls know what it really meant? Were any of them unsure of whether they would eat that night, or when they would next eat at all? We use this term frequently in normal conversation, but do we truly think about it?
Here’s what starving looks like: “925 million people are hungry. Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. That’s one child every five seconds. There were 1.4 billion people in extreme poverty in 2005. The World Bank estimates that the spike in global food prices in 2008, followed by the global economic recession in 2009 and 2010 has pushed between 100-150 million people into poverty. In 2008, nearly 9 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday. One third of these deaths are due directly or indirectly to hunger and malnutrition.” (from bread.org)
Starving. Three million children in a year. This is not including the children who were forced into indentured servitude because their parents could not afford to feed them. The first of the Millennium Development goals is to halve between 1990 and 2015 the number of people living on less than $1 per day. We must hold the leaders of the world accountable for this goal.
By the way, I asked the following week if all of the girls had eaten supper after we dropped them off. They all had – and that’s as it should be.
This post was written by Deanna Roberts-Blair, a volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots citizens lobby dedicated to issues of poverty and hunger.