TL;DR – Not as difficult as it seems.
Every year on 16 October, people celebrate World Food Day. It is celebrated in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations in 1945 and no, it doesn’t mean that you should making use of the occasion to eat more than you usually would.
In fact, we should be dedicating the date to tackling global hunger.
What is world hunger in the first place?
Loosely defined, global hunger refers to the want or scarcity of food in the world. The related technical term is otherwise known as ‘malnutrition’. There are two forms of malnutrition, the first and more important being protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) and the second being micronutrient deficiency. However when referring to global hunger, we are mainly talking about PEM rather than micronutrient even though it is important as well.
What is PEM then?
PEM is the most lethal form of nutrition/hunger. In layman terms, it is a lack of calories and proteins. Calories is a form of measurement of energy contained in food, whereas proteins is a macronutrient that is essential to build muscle mass.
Some stats to chew on
According to the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, 821 million people suffer from chronic undernourishment. Concurrently, obesity levels are rising rapidly and many countries experience the double burden of hunger and obesity.
Globally, the rate of hunger has been growing ever-so-quickly that it has reached 821 million people in 2017, which means one in every nine people are facing hunger. In Asia, there are about 515 million hungry people, with 256.5 million in Africa, and lastly, 39 million in Latin America and the Caribbean.
To achieve a #zerohunger world, we can take small steps by changing our day-to-day actions with the aim of reducing waste and taking on a more sustainable lifestyle.
People today, in general, have unfortunately become less sensitive and are detached to the fact that millions of people are hungry.
Here are some ways that you can reduce food wastage in Singapore:
Foodbank is a place where companies or people can come to deposit/donate their unused or unwanted food, which will then be collected and allocated to the needy via channels such as VWOs, charities and soup kitchens.
You might have purchased some canned food or snacks some time ago, and haven’t gotten around to eating them. Instead of throwing them away, you can drop them off at one of the many Bank Boxes located around Singapore.
Located at 11 Jalan Ubi Block 6, Willing Hearts operates a soup kitchen that prepares, cooks and distributes about 5000 daily meals to over 40 locations islandwide, 365 days a year to the elderly, disabled, low income families, children from single parent families and otherwise poverty stricken families and migrant workers in Singapore.
One can volunteer at their soup kitchen, which runs 365 days a year including public holidays. The day starts early at Willing Hearts, at 4.30am. Help is needed most during 4.30am to 12pm when the kitchen is mainly preparing, cooking and packing to provide meals for their beneficiaries.
As a volunteer, there are different stations that one can offer their help to. One can help to prepare the ingredients, which includes chopping, opening bottles and packets of seasonings. One may also offer their help to pack lunch boxes, or to help clean up the area or wash the utensils. Children can volunteer alongside with their parents, which may foster the bond that the parent-child may already have.
For individual donors who would like to donate their provisions to Willing Hearts, they also have a list of recommended items. The list includes rice, bee hoon, macaroni, sauces, cooking oils, salt and pepper, as well as sugar.
SG Food Rescue
Like the name suggests, this organisation ‘rescues’ food items that are still edible but are deemed as ugly by consumers or suppliers. They then donate it to soup kitchens and charity organisations that feed the needy. They have also came up with the idea of community fridges, which they store the rescued vegetables and meat in the fridge, for people in the community to take home. The community fridges can be found at 166 Stirling Road, 441 Tampines Street 43 and 508B Yishun Avenue 4.
Fridges are left unattended with no surveillance cameras nor locks and are open 24/7. Residents can take what they require or donate food items that no longer require. Fishing enthusiasts at the Tampines Community has been donating their catch frequently.
If you have some food items that you may not need or you have more than what you need, feel free to donate it to these community fridges for others to use!