Food for the Hungry

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Food for the Hungry
Food for the Hungry official logo.png
Founded 1971
Founder Larry Ward
Type International relief and development organization
Area served
26 countries
Slogan To walk with churches, leaders and families in overcoming all forms of human poverty by living in healthy relationship with God and His creation.

Food for the Hungry (also known as FH) is an international relief and development organization with operations in more than 20 countries. Food for the Hungry was founded in 1971 by Dr. Larry Ward.[1] Food for the Hungry‘s stated mission is "to walk with leaders, churches and families in overcoming all forms of human poverty by living in healthy relationship with God and His creation"[2] which was taken from Book of Psalms 146:7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. Food for the Hungry is a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, since February 1, 1980.[1]


Larry Ward founded the organization in 1971, with offices in Southern California. He moved the offices to Arizona in 1974. Early projects included helping refugees in war-torn Bangladesh, victims of the 1972 Nicaragua earthquake, rescuing Vietnamese "boat people" from the South China Sea, and helping hungry and needy people in Haiti and West Africa. The child sponsorship program was started in 1978. Hunger Corps, the people-sending division of Food for the Hungry, began in 1979.

Dr. Larry Ward retired as president of both the U.S. fundraising office and the international implementation arm of Food for the Hungry in 1984. He was succeeded by Ted Yamamori, Ph.D. As a young child, Yamamori had his own near-starvation experience at the end of World War II in Japan. He survived, thanks to the kindness of strangers. Dr. Yamamori retired in 2001, at which point two people were hired to replace him.[3] Randall Hoag was appointed president of Food for the Hungry International, and Benjamin K. Homan was appointed president of Food for the Hungry/U.S.[4]

Since 2006, FH has consolidated its U.S. and international operations, led by President/CEO Gary Edmonds.

Evolution of FH's work[edit]

When Larry Ward founded FH, it was the result of his hurting heart for the 12,000 children who were then dying of hunger related causes.[5] The predominant relief theory of the day was that poverty was caused by a lack of resources, so providing resources was the solution.[6]

Ward left his position as executive vice president and overseas director at World Vision in 1970[7] and headed out to help impoverished people by taking to Haiti resources he had purchased with his personal credit card.[5]

FH’s first official response was to help returnees of war in the newly forming nation of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) in 1971. The focus on relief operations continued into the late 1970s, although many of those countries became areas where FH helped the people recover through long-term development projects.

Disaster Responses that became Development Areas in 1970s

Year Location Disaster
1971 Bangladesh Returnees of war
1972 Nicaragua Earthquake victims
1976 Kenya Drought victims
1976 Guatemala Earthquake victims
1978 Philippines Refugees of war
1979 Dominican Republic Hurricane victims

Beginning in 1978, FH began to more intentionally increase its development work. This is when FH first began working in countries without first responding to a humanitarian disaster, through its child sponsorship program. The child sponsorship[1] program was launched in 1978 in Bolivia, Guatemala and Philippines. Additional fields that were added in the 1980s included Peru, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Uganda.

Growth of Development Areas in the 1980s

Division of FH Development work
FH Peru Child Development
FH Ethiopia Drought victims
FHDR Haiti border
FH Mozambique Civil war victims
FH Uganda AIDS & Civil war victims

Throughout the early 1990s, a greater emphasis on the community began to emerge as the focus for development. At the same time, conflicts such as terrorism, genocide and communist rebel activity were on the rise. FH developed a concise set of development principles focused on transforming communities by working closely with the churches, leaders and families. Over time, new and existing areas of operation would increasingly focus on addressing the whole of the community as an essential approach to serving the most vulnerable. Several fields of operation were added in the 1990s under this principle.

Growth of FH Relief and Development Areas in the early 1990s

Division of FH Development work
FH Cambodia Post-conflict response
FH Rwanda Post-conflict response
FH Zaire (now DRC) Post-conflict response

The first ten years of the 21st century would prove to be challenging yet provide new opportunities to adapt to developing global realities. Challenges came through several major emergencies that were added to the ongoing issues of hunger, poverty, HIV/AIDS and war.[8]

New Development Areas in the 2000s

Year Division of FH Development work
2001 FH South Sudan Post-conflict response
2004 FH Indonesia Tsunami response
2007 FH Burundi Emergency response
2009 FH Haiti HIV and disaster response

Beginning in 1997 FH began implementing the innovative model of Care Groups into their developmental structure and programming. They have since been considered a leader and expert in the facilitation of these groups through their diligence and successful execution.

Care Groups uses of the idea of social networking to work in communities. Within this model, groups of 10-15 community-based volunteers educate their neighbors about health issues. The volunteer educators regularly meet together with FH staff for training and supervision. Each of the volunteers meets regularly with 10-15 of her neighbors to share what she has learned and to facilitate behavior change at the household level. This not only creates a multiplying effect, but it also provides the structure for a community health information system that reports on new pregnancies, births and deaths.

Since the Care Group model was first pioneered, it has been used by 20 (and counting) other Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in more than 20 countries, largely through the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development. In particular, the USAID Child Survival and Health Grants Program and the USAID Food for Peace (Title II Food Security) Program have helped to fund programs using the Care Group model.[9]

Organizational Structure[edit]

Food for the Hungry, Inc. (FH/US) was incorporated by Larry Ward in the United States in 1971 and has existed continuously since then. Ward incorporated Food for the Hungry International (FHI) in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1980. FHI was part of Ward’s dream to implement unified relief and development programs worldwide through an international partnership of supporting national organizations (NOs) or affiliates.

FH/US became a supporting NO for FHI, along with like NOs in Japan (established in 1981), Canada (established in 1988), Sweden (established in 1988), Switzerland (established in 1988), Korea (established in 1989), United Kingdom (established in 1989) and a second organization in the United States, Korea-American Food for the Hungry International (established in 2002).[8]

In 2006, FH restructured to align operations with NOs in Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States as members of FH Association (FHA), which was registered in Switzerland in November 2006.[10] Japan and Korea aligned as Food for the Hungry International Federation (FHF) and, though loosely affiliated as members of a larger FHI “family,” operate separately from FHA.[11]

FH is the umbrella for all FHA NOs and relief and development fields. Field work occurs primarily in Asia, Africa, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.[12] NOs support this work by raising funds, supplying human resources and helping to design and evaluate field programs.

FH is governed by a unified Board of Directors providing direct oversight of FHA and FH/US[13] and is led by President/CEO Gary Edmonds.

Biblical Holism[edit]

A biblical worldview is both a foundation and umbrella for FH’s work. Food for the Hungry’s Statement of Faith[2] corresponds to the Statement of Faith of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).[14]

FH functions on the belief that poverty is the result of broken relationships: (1) between humans and humans, (2) between humans and creation and (3) between humans and God,[15] and that restoring these relationships in a holistic way is the key to overcoming poverty.

FH is not affiliated with any specific church or denomination, and its work is available to the world’s most vulnerable people, regardless of race, gender or religion. While staff do not proselytize (use religious coercion or require a beneficiary to listen to a religious message before receiving help), biblical values infuse FH programs by promoting concepts that mend the broken relationships that result in poverty.[16]

The global FH partnership is committed to transformational development. This requires walking with churches, leaders and families to help them identify and overcome the issues that lock them in poverty. One of these issues is fatalistic worldviews that steal people’s hope.[17]

Many organizations acknowledge that faith can be vital in development, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).[18]

Examples of International Impact[edit]

The Democratic Republic of the Congo[edit]

FH installed a community water pump in Kamalenge. The community uses the water pump for farming and personal use. Since instillation, the water management committee in Kamalenge has managed the water pump. FH also helped families in Kateba learn about health and nutrition through songs and flipcharts. Villages that FH was able to work in are now free of malnutrition. FH also helped to build a seed multiplication station in Emilingombre so farmers would have more direct access to seeds and seedlings.[19]

Haiti and the Dominican Republic[edit]

In 2012, when Hurricane Isaac (2012) hit Haiti and the Dominican Republic, FH staff helped families who lost homes, animals and crops.[20]


Among several other countries, Food for the Hungry offers child sponsorships to children in Ethiopia. Sponsoring children in Ethiopia provides children with food, medical care, and education.[21] By 2011, FH reached approximately 84,652 households in Ethiopia. In addition to their work with families, FH helped 180,456 farmers improve access to markets due to road construction and maintenance.[22]

Republic of Mozambique[edit]

Food for the Hungry worked in Mozambique to significantly reduce morbidity and mortality – especially among children 0–23 months of age and pregnant women.[23] By 2010, FH helped develop 182 Farmer Field and Life Groups in Mozambique with 3,276 people receiving services. Their efforts have helped impact approximately 111,000 people.[22] FH’s Mozambique Child Survival Project was called one of the world’s best examples of what can be achieved at low cost to improve the health of children in high-mortality, low-resource settings.[24]


FH is a charter member in good standing of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).[1] Their audited financial statement for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013 shows that 35 percent of funding came from the U.S. government, 62 percent from individuals, 3 percent from churches, businesses, and foundations. Of this funding, 83 percent was used on programs, 11 percent on fundraising and 6 percent on administrative costs.[25]


In 2012, Food for the Hungry was one of hundreds of non-profits chosen by the IRS for a routine audit of their tax return for 2007. They cooperated fully with the IRS. A preliminary letter listed several issues that IRS wanted to clarify. That letter was illegally leaked to the media, launching a media controversy.[26] In March 2014, Food for the Hungry received a letter from the IRS. The letter accepted the tax return as originally submitted, and acknowledged that Food for the Hungry had followed all laws and accepted accounting practices.[27]

Food for the Hungry was also accused of "daisy chaining". The accusation of daisy chaining infers that the sole reason that multiple charities are involved is to inflate the revenue of all the charities that cooperate. As charter members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Food for the Hungry are in compliance with their Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship.

There are no outstanding issues concerning Food for the Hungry’s involvement in issues with the IRS.


Food for the Hungry’s HIV/AIDS prevention and care activities previously were smaller projects compared to its food distribution and development programs. In 2005, FH was awarded an $8.3 million grant through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to expand its prevention programs in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mozambique and Haiti. This grant is part of a $100-million pool of PEPFAR abstinence funds awarded by USAID through its Abstinence and Healthy Choices for Youth program in 2005.[28]

Tom Davis, formerly Chief Program Officer for FH, developed the Barrier Analysis methodology earlier in his career and was a pioneer of the Care Group model, which empowers volunteer peer educators to promote life saving behaviors with mothers at the community level. In 2012, while working with FH, his work earned him the American Public Health Association Gordon-Wyon Award for Excellence in Community-Oriented Public Health, Epidemiology and Practice.[29]

In 2012, David Evans, then U.S. President of Food for the Hungry spoke at the 2012 Faith Summit on AIDS in Washington, DC. They were recognized for their volunteer efforts like transporting water, washing clothes, bathing those in need, counseling, and praying.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Food for the Hungry (Accredited Organization Profile)". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  2. ^ a b "About | Vision and Mission | Food for the Hungry". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  3. ^ "Feeding the Hungry Dr. Tetsunao Yamamori & Food for the Hungry". Mission Frontiers. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Food For The Hungry, Phoenix Officials Assess Relief Programs in Indonesia". 2005-05-18. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  5. ^ a b "The Food for the Hungry Story". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  6. ^ "Keith Wright - Redux". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  7. ^ "World Vision International, Inc.: Information from". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  8. ^ a b "Food for the Hungry | ENN". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  9. ^ "Definition & Criteria". Care Group Info. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  10. ^ "Food for the Hungry Association (FH) | GPPlatform". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Work | Countries | Food for the Hungry". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  13. ^ "Food for the Hungry". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  14. ^ "Statement of Faith". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  15. ^ "Biblical Worldview: Both a Foundation and an Umbrella - Food for the Hungry Blog". 2012-08-17. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  16. ^ "Food for the Hungry". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ "Partnership Opportunities | U.S. Agency for International Development". 2014-07-18. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  19. ^ "A Lasting Impact on Food Security | USAID Impact". 2012-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  20. ^ Evans, Dave. "When the Spotlight on Disasters Fade, the Work Goes on | Food for the Hungry". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  21. ^ Evans, Dave. "Bringing Hope to the Hard Places | Food for the Hungry". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  22. ^ a b [2] Archived July 22, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Archived from the original on January 10, 2015. Retrieved January 2, 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ "Food for the Hungry 2011 Annual Report by Food for the Hungry". ISSUU. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  26. ^ "Gifts-in-Kind | Food for the Hungry". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ Marina Walker Guevaraemail. "Food for the Hungry | Center for Public Integrity". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  29. ^ "Gordon Wyon Awards". APHA. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  30. ^ Evans, Dave. "Faith Summit on AIDS Receives Accolades | Food for the Hungry". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 

External links[edit]