I get asked frequently “What is Food for the Hungry all about?”
At first glance, our name suggests that we are about food. In most instances, that’s partially true. However, for our entire history, Food for the Hungry (FH) has been about much more than food.
Our name is derived from Psalm 146:7:
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
Our founder, Larry Ward, was inspired by the holistic meaning of this passage. That God calls us to interact with the oppressed and impoverished in ways that is physically, spiritually, mentally and culturally nourishing.
When I have the opportunity to share about FH, I first address this concept. That FH is about serving the most vulnerable of God’s people in a multitude of ways to help them thrive. But then I get to the crux of my answer.
FH is about ending extreme poverty through relationships.
Always has. Always will. This is what God has called to us to do.
I started with FH as an intern in Aceh, Indonesia. Two and half years after the major tsunami, the community of Calang was still reeling from the all-encompassing impact and devastation of the disaster. I understood my role as an intern was to predominately listen and learn, and when possibly contribute with whatever I could offer. What was very clear from this first interaction with FH is that they invest a large amount of time concentrating on relationships. Relationships with local leaders, with community members, with other organizations. It was easy to identify that this was different than some of the remaining organizations in the community.
Then I began to experience this at a more personal level. I became really good friends with the people I was working with. Muslim and Christian alike. I began to spend long hours discussing the world and God’s plan for us all with both co-workers and the people we were asked to serve.
My time in Calang was, in a phrase, intensely relational. So much so that on my last day, I wept. And they wept with me. How could I become so emotionally invested after only nine weeks? The answer I have come to find is at the core of who FH is, and what FH does.
I understand that RELATIONSHIPS is elemental to who we are.
And I now also understand that relationships is essential for truly fighting extreme poverty in a respectful and sustainable way.
FH is about ending poverty through meaningful, transformative relationships. It includes everyone involved. That’s why when we say, “Let’s end poverty together”… We mean it.
Especially the “together” part.