Imagine waking up every morning to a grumbling stomach, not able to remember the last time it felt full. Imagine feeling so weak you can’t get up out of bed. Feeding yourself is a constant worry, and feeding your family is an even bigger one. Hunger is uncomfortable, and it’s more than just a stomachache. It takes a toll on our mood, our focus, and our physical well-being.
In its true form, malnutrition affects every part of the body. While we think of hunger as a physical experience, it has a huge affect on brain function. Without food and nutrients, our brains work extra hard to learn and concentrate. Malnutrition can lead to anxiety and psychiatric issues, as well as reduced intelligence.
Hunger causes the heart to pump wildly in order to get the body functioning. Decreased heart rates and oxygen levels make our bodies weak, and any type of physical activity becomes difficult. We become exhausted without calcium, iron, protein, and Vitamin B for the heart.
Malnutrition threatens every organ in the body. Without fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, our intestinal tracts, kidneys, and livers cannot operate. Skin dries and cracks without hydration and Vitamin A, breaking down our designated shielding system from disease. Bones stop growing and become fragile without calcium. And nerves break down without Vitamin E, causing a loss of control and feeling in our extremities.
Malnutrition puts our immune system in danger. Disease enters the body more quickly, and we don’t have the nutrients from basic vitamins and minerals to fight off even the most common illnesses, like a cold or diarrhea. In most cases, if we had the right food, our bodies could fight off the bacteria.
Did you know this is the way of life for 13 percent of our planet?
More than 795 million people in the world suffer from hunger. One out of every nine people go to bed hungry every night. It is an epidemic that kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. And the vast majority, nearly 780 million hungry people, live in developing countries.
Give Up Your Coffee
We can end world hunger. This world epidemic could be solved. We could put food on the tables of these 795 million people, even though this number may seem unattainable. If Americans gave up $4 every month for a year, we would be able save $14.4 billion as a whole. That’s just one cup of coffee every month, and you could prevent a child from dying from hunger.
And if you simply can’t give up your daily cup of coffee, consider contributing to the eradication of hunger in another way.
What Your Money Can Buy
In third world countries, 75 percent of the population lives on less than $2 per day. While our $4 means a cup of coffee at Starbucks or Gloria Jean’s, that same money can make a huge difference in a place where a couple dollars goes a long way.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, 25 percent of the population is hungry. While the cost of living is over 50 percent lower in the United States, locals still struggle to find work and food for their families. In countries like Uganda, $4 can buy 3 gallons of clean drinking water, 4 dozen eggs, several pounds of fresh produce, or 5 pounds of good white rice.
In India, sacrificing that one cup of coffee could provide 60 bananas, 13 pounds of rice, 15 loaves of bread, buffet lunches for one for a week, or even a visit to the doctor and some cough medicine.
In Bangladesh, a few dollars could provide a bus ticket to almost anywhere from the capital city, enough to feed eight people at a local food stall, 80 cups of tea, or 40 cups of coffee.
In the Philippines, only $1 can buy a men’s haircut, two hours of Internet access, 45 fish cakes, nine spring rolls, or a taxi ride around Manila. Imagine what $4 could bring – 8 feedings for a child or 12 pounds of rice to feed a family for a week.
Our future generations are starving.
Half of the people living in extreme poverty are under 18 years old. With every child who dies of hunger, we lose not only the person, but also the potential of that person. It is a loss of life, as well as an economic loss for the nation and the world. The most heartbreaking part is that hunger is preventable.
Today, on International Day of Charity, rise to the challenge and make a commitment to help end hunger.
Sacrifice a simple cup of coffee each month and YOU can change lives. Make a donation today!
This blog post was contributed by Liz Gorga:
Liz is an international traveler and writer with two home bases: the United States and Australia. She moved to Brisbane, Australia, after graduating from Boston College with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication. Liz has worked, studied, volunteered, and traveled through seventeen different countries, and currently writes for GoAbroad.com. She believes magic exists in every inch of the Earth, from the bubbly laughter of a barefooted Nicaraguan child to the surreal Italian coastline of Cinque Terre, and her life goal is to experience every bit of it.