Last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index showed global food prices went up 31.4% compared to 2020. With complications stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, global supply chain issues, and instability, eating a healthy diet is often out of reach for a large portion of the world’s population.
In fact, according to World Vision Canada’s 2021 Annual Report, 41 million people — the majority of whom were children — were at risk of starvation in 43 countries. This year, the number has jumped to 50 million people in 45 countries.
Despite the magnitude of this hunger crisis, it may seem like a world away for Canadians. That’s why World Vision Canada collaborates with local ambassadors, helping connect Canadians with the work World Vision does. These ambassadors provide a variety of services, such as giving emergency food and treatment for malnutrition to the world’s most vulnerable children and their families.
Dennis Prescott, a Canadian chef, cookbook author, and television personality, is one of those ambassadors. He is a long-time partner of World Vision Canada, first working with them in 2016.
During his partnership with World Vision Canada, he has travelled to countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, and Cambodia, and witnessed firsthand how life-changing these nutrition programs are for children and their families. Prescott also references World Vision’s Gift Catalogue, which helps Canadians donate much-needed staples such as chickens, clean water, and emergency food to families in need.
“I’ve seen emergency security programs where World Vision comes in and helps in those situations,” says Prescott. “I’ve also seen them partner with families in drought-ridden parts of the world and teach them how to grow [and harvest] drought-resilient crops.”
In addition to these gifts, World Vision leads several other initiatives. The Raw Hope project, for instance, provides life-saving interventions and crisis recovery programs to help build a future for vulnerable children. The Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition works to deliver aid during critical events when food supplies are disrupted. World Vision also has a partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme, delivering food assistance to people most in need.
Prescott believes that food can break down barriers and help people of all backgrounds connect. “Food is community. Food brings people together, regardless of what language you speak or where you come from,” says Prescott. “I think that it’s our job as food providers to ensure that everyone has access to that kind of moment at the table.
One of the children who benefited from these programs is Sara, a Syrian refugee currently living in a camp in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Through food assistance projects formed by donors in Canada, World Vision, and the World Food Programme, her family is able to provide her with healthy meals, giving her the energy to continue her primary school education to become a teacher.
With donations such as these, World Vision Canada has been able to reach more than four million people through 192 livelihood projects, with $226 million invested, according to its
Through the partnership with the World Food Programme, they’ve delivered more than 87,000 tons of food to over two million people — and $67 million distributed through cash-based programming to another million. This year, World Vision’s goal is to give $135 million worth of food and cash-based programming.
“We live in a world with a broken food system where some people have a lot and some people have nothing,” says Prescott. “We as people have to actively work to make sure that everyone has a full table, that everyone can enjoy the food that they love, that everyone has access to nutritious, healthy, delicious moments at the table.”
While solving the crisis of world hunger can seem daunting, Prescott believes smaller-scale measures — such as World Vision’s Gift Catalogue — will add up to a greater change. “Look at the world, look at the global food system and think, ‘What’s one small thing I can do today to help to shape a better food system?’”
Visit World Vision Canada’s website to learn more about their work and see how far a small donation can go.