Hunger relief is a field of human activity aimed at eliminating chronic hunger and malnutrition. As of 2012, the United Nations's Food and Agriculture Organization reported that about 870 million people globally are suffering from severe hunger. Millions more suffer from food insecurity, including in the advanced economies of Europe and the United States.
Various methods are used to relieve hunger, including directly supplying the hungry with food; helping to develop people's abilities to grow or otherwise secure their own food; helping to develop related secondary skills such as budgeting; advocating and implementing economic reforms to improve the availability of affordable and healthy food in the marketplace.
Tens of thousands of organisations are engaged in hunger-relief efforts. For some, such as governments, corporations and religious groups, hunger relief is not their primary focus. Other organisations are dedicated to helping the hungry: these range from grass-roots local establishments such as independent soup kitchens, to multilateral agencies operating as part of the UN, such as the FAO or the World Food Programme. Many of these organisations are connected by a web of national and international alliances. For example, in the United States The Alliance to End Hunger is a national group with many smaller member groups, and is itself a member of several larger international groups, including the international civil society group Stop Hunger Now and the UN's Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition.
World Hunger Year is an organization that seeks to address the root causes of hunger and poverty. WhyHunger was founded in 1975 by folk singer Harry Chapin, a social activist who was as well known for his humanitarian efforts as for his guitar ballads, and 95.5 WPLJ New York, legendary radio D.J. Bill Ayres. Its Board of Directors is currently chaired by Jen Chapin.
WhyHunger is convinced that solutions to hunger and poverty can be found at the grassroots level. WhyHunger advances long-term solutions to hunger and poverty by supporting community-based organizations that empower individuals and build self-reliance, i.e., offering job training, education and after school programs; increasing access to housing and healthcare; providing microcredit and entrepreneurial opportunities; teaching people to grow their own food; and assisting small farmers. WhyHunger connects these organizations to funders, media and legislators.
After the Second World War, Boyd Orr resigned from the Rowett Institute, and took several posts, most notably at the FAO, where his comprehensive plans for improving food production and its equitable distribution failed to get the support of Britain and the US. He then resigned from the FAO and became director of a number of companies and proved a canny investor in the stock market, making a considerable personal fortune. When he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949, he donated the entire financial award to organizations devoted to world peace and a united world government. (The American Friends Service Committee was one of his nominators.
Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange (1936), a classic photo of people struggling with hunger. Lange's notes she took while photographing read: "Seven hungry children. Father is native Californian. Destitute in pea pickers’ camp … because of failure of the early pea crop. These people had just sold their tires to buy food."