Our History

Dr. Larry Ward was struck by the pain and sadness of knowing that thousands of children die each day from hunger-related causes. His work in relief and development opened his eyes, and he knew he had to do something more. In 1971, he 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. Our organization’s name, Food for the Hungry, was inspired by Psalm 146:7, which reads:

“He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free.”

Psalm 146:7

FH has been serving those who are living through unimaginable hardships for over four decades and today, FH works in more than 20 countries around the world providing life-changing resources such as clean water, medical aid, food, education, vocational training, spiritual development and hope.

Learn about our founder

Meet Larry ward

Here's a glimpse at our organization's rich history:

In 1971, Dr. Larry Ward founded Food for the Hungry and in the next decade, responded to worldwide disasters in Bangladesh, Nicaragua, West Africa, Vietnam, Guatemala and Romania. After being particularly moved by the Vietnamese refugees adrift in the South China Sea, Ward and his colleagues purchased a boat to assist them to safety.

In 1980, FH launched its long-term missionary and self-support staff program called Hunger Corps, which provided a way for dedication individuals to work in the field. FH also established an international office in Switzerland and affiliate organizations in Japan, Canada, Korea and the United Kingdom to expand the vision and work of FH to other continents. In 1984, Dr. Larry Ward retired and appointed Ted Yamamori as his successor and President of FH.

FH launched the Christian artist program, which allowed concert-goers all across the country to intersect with the message of hope and respond through child sponsorship. FH also began helping churches and other groups organize short-term trips to developing countries, bringing an effective and sustainable model to their global missions program.

FH responded to many devastating world crises, including the September 11 attacks in New York and the Indonesia tsunami that killed more than 280,000 people. FH also responded to earthquakes in El Salvador and India, famine in Malawi, a volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a typhoon in Korea, floods in Honduras and Nicaragua, war in Iraq, and to hurricanes in the DRC, Haiti and New Orleans. In 2003, FH mourned the passing of Dr. Larry Ward.

FH began working in India after two exploratory visits revealed the desperate need among the Banchada people, whose primary livelihood included the age-old tradition of selling their daughters into prostitution.