Forgoing lunch, more than 30 RU students gathered on Oct. 16 in Heth 014 to mark the 31st annual World Food Day.
To strengthen the will to end hunger and heighten awareness of the global issue, two RU students—Kayla Kody and Charlande LaPittus—made presentations on global and national food security. "Quite honestly, it is scary how unemployment and food security are related," said Kody, a senior from Richmond who is majoring in marketing and economics.
Kody defined food security as access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. She pointed out that, according to research by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), more than 15 percent of Americans are hungry or have a condition of food insecurity. More than half of those Americans are served by major governmental food programs like the Mobile Pantry or National Produce Program and other local and regional agencies and organizations.
LaPittus, a senior economics major from Great Falls, said the problem is much greater on a global scale. She described hunger as the world's No. 1 killer, far surpassing other causes of death like HIV/AIDS or coronary heart disease. She pointed out that more than 900 million people around the world are chronically hungry and in dire need of the calories necessary to grow and develop, including nearly 600 million in China alone.
"Hunger is a complex problem, and we do have the means by which to put an end to it," LaPittus said. "Educating one another about the problem and how to get involved it is the right thing to do."
World Food Day was established by the FAO in 1979 and was first observed in 1981. Under the guidance of Economics Professor Prahlad Kasturi, RU began observing the day in 1991.