In 1971, Dr. Larry Ward founded Food for the Hungry (FH) based on a simple premise, if children died one at a time, he could help them one at a time. Thus began his lifelong mission to serve the world’s most vulnerable people in the hard places.
Food for the Hungry seeks to end ALL forms of human poverty by going to the hard places and walking with the world’s most vulnerable people. We’ve been serving through purposeful relief and development for over four decades. Our international staff belong to the nations they serve. We are not foreigners or outsiders offering a new way of life. We are sisters and brothers lifting the shared burden from the shoulders of our global family. We are agents of change.
Moreover, Don Vital, a Bolivian father who lives in the village of Keualanni. used to have trouble growing much more than potatoes. Like the rest of the farmers in his community, he struggled to feed his family. One out of every three of the community’s children suffered chronic malnutrition. Bolivia is ranked as the third highest country for chronic malnutrition in children under the age of 5. Their weakened bodies can’t fight off diseases and many die before their fifth birthday.
But then Food for the Hungry began working in Keualanni to help the community address their biggest obstacles. Ten years ago the farmers in Keualanni couldn’t grow much more than potatoes. Hunger led many to eat dirt. They didn’t have access to clean water sources and the community was without streets and quality education.
Don said that before Food for the Hungry came to his community, he and his family had to carry water up a steep slope from the river. “We had to bring pitchers of water in our backpacks, or carry them on our shoulders, or with our hands. In the dry time, there was not enough water.” But things changed after Food for the Hungry stepped in with more than 10 years of transformative solutions. Chronic malnutrition no longer plagues Keuallani.
Now, there are thousands of papaya trees, which generate more income, helping overcome malnutrition, and provide a better life for those in Keuallani. Food for the Hungry staff taught Don and others in the community how to farm and how to take produce to market. Incomes increased tenfold! Now Don has a thriving livelihood and his children are in school, which is something he never dared to dream about.
“Food for the Hungry taught us how to manage our farms and crop production well,” Don said. “We say that their help makes our hearts bloom. If we didn’t have irrigation, we wouldn’t have produce like the papayas. It would be very sad. I think God sent Food for the Hungry. If not, things wouldn’t be like they are. I am thankful.”
As Food for the Hungry, we’re proud of the communities we enter, but more than that, we’re proud of the ones we exit. These are the communities where extreme poverty no longer has a seat at the table. They’re self-sustainable and living out God’s purpose for their lives. We celebrate with them and then we intentionally seek out the next community suffering under the heavy weight of poverty.