Despite all the development around Delaware, farm fields remain to be enjoyed. Now the fields may not be under cultivation, particularly with the ubiquitous land-for-sale signs. However, even with all this development, the Delaware area remains, at heart, farmland. And this deeply embedded identity makes for good food and eating.
One of the pleasures of living in farm country is the accessibility of fresh, off-the-farm products. An organic farm even sits close by on the grounds of a local seminary. Accessibility is made easy by the many farmers’ markets and roadside stands where we can purchase fresh farm products. Stopping to make these purchases also provides the pleasure of meeting the people who cultivate and harvest the produce that will eventually fill our bellies. Good stuff from good neighbors!
We are blessed by living within such abundance. But though we enjoy abundance, we must recognize that many in our community suffer daily without either a safe place to sleep or daily nutrition, constantly wondering when they will eat again. This suffering is not exclusive to Delaware. The United Nations and non-government organizations that address worldwide hunger estimate that each day approximately 800 million to 1 billion people worldwide go hungry. These people have no idea when they will again have access to any type of food to moderate, let alone satisfy, their hunger. Further, when these people find food, its quality is often at best suspect and often rotten; providing minimum nutrition. These estimates are overwhelming, and there are indications that they are only going to get worst. Maybe it is a challenge that is simply impossible to overcome.
Of course, hunger is not new. Religious texts from nearly every religion or faith tradition speak about the poor, oppressed, and hungry. In the Bible alone, we find Isaiah 58:7 and 58:10, Ezekiel 18:7, Luke 3:11, or Proverbs 22:9, speaking of the hungry and poor, and service to them. Matthew 25:35-40 states:
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” Then the righteous will answer him, ‘LORD, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’” The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
But is it realistic to feed all these people? How are we to adequately feed 800 million to 1 billion more people than we already feed? “Impossible!” Now remember the story about the feeding of 5,000 people with only two fish and five loaves of bread (John 6:1-13). Certainly, a miracle, but people were fed. Think too of all those events (Alexander the Great’s elephants; peaceful resistance freeing India; Wright’s flight; landing on the moon, and so on) throughout human history that were proclaimed as impossible but were then successfully executed. Maybe this feeding is possible, too.
An estimated cost to eliminate worldwide hunger was placed at $30 billion. This is approximately 0.3% of the total net worth of the 2,200 billionaires in the world or on another scale, approximately $3 dollars a week from households whose yearly income is $52,000 (U.S.). So, how impossible is it? What is really holding us back from eliminating hunger in the world? Maybe it would only take focused ingenuity, commitment, direction of resources, and faith. Simple, right? As one of my college religion professors used to ask us, “Why aren’t we doing this?”
Richard Krebs Jr. is a chaplain at OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, having served there since 2014. He also serves as a chaplain for the Dublin Methodist Hospital as well as The Wesley Communities. He is a graduate of MTSO and Denison University.