All over the world, schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Canada, it can be fun to stay home from school, even if it is a little bit boring. Classes move online, and you complete your homework at the kitchen table, close enough to the fridge and pantry to get out extra snacks.
In many countries, staying home from school is not as comfortable as it is in Canada. With The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada's Emergency Relief and Development Overseas (ERDO), you can sponsor a child in an impoverished area of the world and pay for them to go to school. You can write your sponsored child letters, getting to know them as you both grow up. But, right now, many of our 8,300 sponsored children are at home. Their schools are closed too.
In countries like Honduras, Guatemala, Malawi and India, many sponsored kids receive school meals. Their families cannot afford to feed them every day, and they might not even have food in their kitchens. At ERDO, many of our program partners are distributing food packages to sponsored children and their families or finding other means to distribute food.
Here are some kids from Honduras where PAOC global worker, Kathy Mizen, is handing out emergency food packs to 275 families. These packs contain rice, sugar, beans, coffee, cornflour, spaghetti and sauce, oil, soup broth, flour, toilet paper, bleach, dish and laundry soap and a box of cornflakes. Families are so happy to receive these packs because they don’t have easy access to food.
When people do not have reliable access to affordable and nutritious food, it is called food insecurity. Poverty plays a significant role in food insecurity. In many places, nutritious food is expensive. But there are other factors to food insecurity. Nation-wide droughts leave the soil parched and keep food from growing. Insect infestations can devastate a crop. War and conflict can lead to food scarcity. Also, the COVID-19 lockdowns have made it very difficult to transport food to areas that have little.
The United Nations (UN) is an organization made up of many different countries working together for worldwide peace. In 1948, the UN decided food insecurity was an issue everyone needs to pay attention to, even in a country like Canada, where there is plenty of food. The UN stated that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of him/herself and his/her family, including food.” The right to food means that everyone, no matter who they are or where they live, no matter how much money they have in their bank account or what they believe, should be able to eat. Food sustains our lives. If you’ve ever been really hungry and felt a pain or emptiness in your stomach, you know how important food is. At ERDO, we are working very hard to ensure people do not stay in a state of food insecurity but are given access to nutritious food.
Since food is a God-given right, here are some questions to get you thinking about what you believe:
• What is food insecurity? Why are some people food insecure?
• Can you remember a time when you were extremely hungry? What was that like?
• What do you know about human rights? Why are they important? Why is access to food a human right?
• Why are we responsible for giving food to the hungry, even when they live far away?
• What does God say about feeding the hungry? Do you know any bible passages about food?
At ERDO, we are working very hard to ensure people do not stay in a state of food insecurity but are given access to nutritious food.To learn more about how you can respond to feeding children in this COVID-19 pandemic, click here.