Rotary: No child should ever go to bed hungry

Hunger touches every community, nation, and region of the world. It is a problem without a simple solution. At Rotary, we are committed to using the vast resources of our diverse membership and our partnership with organizations like the Global FoodBanking Network to seek fresh insights and pursue innovative answers. In the following letter for the official World Food Day website, Rotary's General Secretary John Hewko explains why Rotary is so motivated to help:

Hunger. Famine. Starvation. Malnutrition. Indeed, as World Food Day (16 October) reminds us, there is no easy way to describe the grim fact that nearly 870 million people on our planet are chronically undernourished. And sadly, so many of those affected are children, whose minds and bodies are denied the sustenance needed to grow into healthy, productive adults.

It is a truly global problem, plaguing communities throughout the developing world and even in developed countries where surprisingly high numbers of families struggle daily to put food on the table.

My organization, Rotary, a global network of volunteer leaders committed to finding solutions to the world’s most serious challenges, is well aware of the problem — and well positioned to do something about it. With more than 1.2 million members belonging to 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and regions, Rotary has “boots on the ground” where the need is high and also in communities with the capacity to help.

On their own initiative, Rotary members concerned about food insecurity have formed two very active international groups: the Rotarian Action Group for the Alleviation of Hunger & Malnutrition, and the Food Plant Solutions Rotarian Action Group. These action groups serve as resources, assisting Rotary clubs worldwide to collaborate and undertake effective, sustainable approaches to the hunger issue.

Recognizing the value of leveraging resources through partnerships with top-tier organizations with proven track records, Rotary in 2012 also became a service partner with the Global FoodBanking Network to combat jointly the issues of hunger and food insecurity through food banking.

Rotary First Harvest, a Rotary club supported charity in Seattle, Wash., USA, has developed a unique and effective way to support the food banking concept. Working in cooperation with growers and processors, Rotary First Harvest each year gathers more than nine million pounds of fresh, nourishing produce that would otherwise be wasted, and then helps deliver it to local food banks and food distribution programs serving families in need.