World Food Day 2015: Fighting Hunger with Service & Education

This World Food Day, buildOn stands united with people across the globe working to eradicate hunger and poverty. Today, 805 million people around the world live in chronic hunger1, including 1 in 7 people in the U.S. who struggle every day to get enough to eat.2 But there is hope in service and education – the keys to reversing these statistics.

With education, people living in poverty are better equipped to feed themselves and their families, and parents are able make healthier nutrition choices for their children. Today, more than 100,000 people are attending 780 buildOn schools in seven economically impoverished countries, getting the quality education necessary to escape poverty and hunger. It’s not just children either; through buildOn’s Adult Literacy Program, thousands of parents and grandparents are getting a chance to receive the education they were denied as children. At the end of the program, adults organize community projects like goat rearing and and school feeding programs that generate food and income for their villages.

In the U.S., where 46.5 million Americans (including 12 million children and 7 million seniors) live in food insecure households,3 hunger is a very real problem for far too many. Youth serving with buildOn’s Service Learning Programs identify hunger, food insecurity and food deserts as some of the most pressing issues in their underserved communities. These students, many of whom have faced hunger themselves, have been empowered to help their hungry neighbors. They’re serving with community partners in food pantries and soup kitchens, growing vegetables in community gardens, and even taking food directly to vulnerable people living on the streets

Deja Davis, a buildOn student at Prosser Career Academy in Chicago, reflects on the importance of serving with community food programs: “If some people did not come to this food giveaway, they wouldn’t have food this week. We are helping provide for them … I love to come to the food giveaway because we put smiles on people’s faces. When I see them smiling it lights me up inside. We are helping our community.”

Check out the photos below to see the challenges that food insecurity present in U.S. cities and developing countries, and how buildOn is fighting hunger and poverty through service and education…


15825473173_17b1e910f6_kStudents from Benito Juarez Academy help clients gather food at the St. Pius food pantry on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Through partnerships with community organizations, buildOn students are helping to feed their hungry neighbors.



Many women and girls in developing countries spend several hours cooking each day, a situation that keeps many from school. When buildOn constructs schools with communities like this one in Nepal, the village commits to sending girls to school in equal numbers with boys.


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Students from the Bronx spent part of their summer making sandwiches and handing them out to homeless people they encountered on the streets of Manhattan. While most homeless people experience hunger, not all of America’s hungry are homeless.



buildOn students in Boston serve food to hungry vets at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. It’s estimated that one in ten homeless adults is a veteran.4



On school building trips in developing countries, buildOn volunteers live with and eat with host families, experiencing the challenges of every day life. Cultural immersion often involves cooking food together, like these tortillas prepared in Nicaragua.


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Feeding the hungry is a big part of the buildOn program in Detroit. It’s estimated that one in four people in Detroit can afford no more than one meal per day.5

(Pictured at top): A woman in Malawi prepares Nsima, a food staple made from ground corn and often eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Photos Credits: Braulio Acuria, Esther Havens, Mason Marino, Michael Sackett and Srijan Tamrakar.