Churches on Sunday began mobilizing to raise awareness and funds and push for positive change on the problem of world hunger ahead of World Food Day on Friday.
Southern Baptist churches around the world took up an offering this past Sunday for the denomination's World Hunger Fund.
"I think Jesus was very clear that not only are we to share with people the love of God in sharing about Jesus Christ, but we also are to meet the human needs that exist," said Wendy Norvelle, a spokesperson for the SBC's International Mission Board, according to Mission Network News.
For over 30 years, the denomination has raised awareness and funding for those suffering from lack of food on World Hunger Sunday. The fund is divided between 20 percent going to help the hungry in the United States and 80 percent going to help the needy internationally.
There are currently more than 1 billion people who go hungry every day – a historic high – the U.N. World Food Program announced earlier this year. Due to the global economic crisis, people who were on the brink of hunger were pushed into this category with the lowering of incomes and loss of jobs.
Faith leaders have been active advocating for greater actions to help those suffering from hunger in the world. At the G-20 summit last month, dozens of faith leaders urged world leaders to focus more on hunger and poverty as they gathered to discuss how to reform the global economy.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), which participated in the faith-based poverty event ahead of the G-20 summit, is calling on its constituents this week to participate in Food Week of Action, Oct. 11-18.
During the week, Presbyterians are encouraged to advocate for fairer trade rules and debt cancellation for poor countries.
In addition to the action week, PCUSA churches are holding a 40-hour fast each month to raise awareness about the hunger problem.
World Hunger Sunday and Food Week of Action are some the faith-based events leading up to World Food Day on Oct. 16. The Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization declared World Hunger Day in 1979, and a year later the day was endorsed by the U.N. General Assembly. World Food Day is aimed at raising public awareness and strengthening the battle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.