By Mark Kelly
EDITOR’S NOTE: Southern Baptists will observe World Hunger Sunday Oct. 13, and Southern Baptist congregations across North America will receive offerings for Global Hunger Relief (formerly the World Hunger Fund).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — When it comes to people in need, big numbers can hide the human faces they represent. Statistics tell us that more than 1 billion people around the world are hungry more often than not, and about 24,000 people — over half of them young children — die every day from various conditions that could have been alleviated by basic nutrition.
The personal realities of those numbers are more compelling. Think about the humility of the African man who scours the ground where bags of maize are being distributed in his village, picking up every dusty kernel so that he can provide one more mouthful for his family.
Try to imagine the anxiety of the Tennessee child who is afraid to leave her classroom on Fridays for fear that she will miss the backpack of food that will keep her from going hungry over the weekend. Consider the worries of the Syrian lawyer who is a refugee in a neighboring country, living in a shelter made from plastic bags and cardboard and scrambling for any work to provide for his extended family of 20.
In each of these situations, Southern Baptists are there, providing help for today and hope for the future.
Certainly, other relief organizations are doing similar work, but Southern Baptists are different: While some groups keep as much as 70 percent of their donations to cover overhead, Southern Baptists are assured that their donations go directly to the actual need.
A greater and more efficient impact
How is that possible?
For Southern Baptists, the answer is because we support our mission endeavors by giving through our Cooperative Program. In this way, most overhead costs are already covered for missionaries and partners who are our “boots on the ground.”
Not only that, but because hunger donations are channeled through the International and North American mission boards, those funds become a vital part of Southern Baptist mission strategies to impact the world for Christ.
Whether churches are “loving loud” in communities across North America or “embracing” unreached, unengaged peoples in difficult places, Southern Baptists have a tremendously effective approach to loving their neighbors through hunger ministries.
A new name
To help raise awareness about Southern Baptists’ unique approach to funding hunger ministries, a new name — Global Hunger Relief — is taking the place of the World Hunger Fund.
Beginning with this year’s World Hunger Sunday, Oct. 13, the new name will show up in more places. Global Hunger Relief will follow precisely the same guidelines used with the World Hunger Fund. As with the WHF, funds will continue to be distributed 80-20 between international and North American causes.
The hope is that a new name and fresh look will revitalize conversations about the global hunger crisis and raise awareness about the effective efforts Southern Baptists are making to help people in need experience the life-changing love of God.
A new website is being developed at www.GlobalHungerRelief.com, and social media presences are being created on Facebook and Twitter. The GHR initiative will officially launch at the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore, Md., and will be in full swing for World Hunger Sunday 2014.
Updates about the new initiative will be shared through Baptist Press and the WHF/GHR partners: the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, Woman’s Missionary Union, LifeWay Christian Resources, SBC Executive Committee and Baptist Global Response.
Two free bulletin inserts — one focused on North America, the other international — can be downloaded for promotion of the global hunger relief cause here. You also can help the cause by visiting www.GlobalHungerRelief.com to share your heart about the importance of combating hunger and tell what your church is doing to make a difference.
Mark Kelly writes for Baptist Global Response. Other information and resources for promoting hunger relief continue to be available at www.WorldHungerFund.com and the partner organization websites.