1. Callister, Lynn Clark PhD, RN, FAAN

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World Food Day was held in Rome, Italy in October 2022 and focused on addressing global food insecurity under the leadership of the United Nations. Pope Francis' message was, "Food is fundamental to human life...a concrete sign of the Creator's goodness" (Holy See Press Office, 2022, p. 1). Food insecurity is the inadequacy of food that is nutritious and affordable, resulting in impaired physical and emotional health and potential loss of life. At the close of 2022, approximately 222 million people in 53 countries are expected to face acute food insecurity and to need urgent assistance and ~45 million people in 37 countries are projected to have so little to eat that they will be severely malnourished, at risk of death or already facing starvation and death (World Food Programme, 2022).


Causes of food insecurity include conflict forcing people from their homes and destroying economies and infrastructure, making food nearly impossible to acquire or afford. A contributing factor is climate change. The global COVID-19 pandemic has created supply chain disruptions and inflation making it difficult to get affordable and nutritious food, disrupting humanitarian efforts, and is especially difficult for vulnerable women and children (Paslakis et al., 2021). Other social determinants of health that contribute to food insecurity include poverty, interpersonal violence, housing inequities, lack of education, consumer behaviors, racial, and ethnic and gender inequality (United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, 2021). Interventions addressing food insecurity are community-based, statewide, countrywide, or global, and can be large or small, consisting of governmental or private, nonprofit or humanitarian organizations, religious initiatives independent or collaborative (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 2021; World Food Programme, 2022). In small and simple ways community agencies work together to make a difference for vulnerable children.


One example of community engagement of multiple humanitarian organizations in the United States is described by the Denver North Communication Director of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On November 15, 2022, a truck carrying 40,000 pounds of food arrived at the Salvation Army Warehouse in Aurora, Colorado in a partnership with the sponsoring church, Catholic Charities, and The Black 14. At least 10 relief organizations including Catholic Charities, The Salvation Army, and the Denver Rescue Mission will receive a portion of this donation to distribute to Denver metro communities. Over the last 2 years, food insecurity in Denver has surged from 22% to an estimated 33%. Although hunger is widespread in communities of Colorado, new arrivals including immigrants, refugees, and asylees tend to be most affected. The breadth and depth of this need demands action to address this desperate need (Heather Scott, personal communication October 2022).


Across the world, people living in neighboring countries in Eastern Europe work together to help each other in the face of armed conflict (World Food Programme, 2022). Since February 2020, up to 11 million Ukrainians have left their homes. Globally in response to identified needs, in September 2022 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints granted $32 million to the World Health Food Program USA in support of the United Nations World Food Program's response to Global Hunger Crisis. These funds provide critical food and emergency support to 1 million people across nine nations including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.


Multiple agencies have organized efforts to help with world hunger both on the local, national, and international levels. Nurses should be aware of these organization in their area so they can refer patients they identify as being food insecure to local agencies that can help. Nurses also can participate in food drives organized by their health care facilities to fill local food pantries.




Holy See Press Office. (2022, October 17). Message of the Holy Father to the Director General of the FAO on the occasion of the World Food Forum 2022, 17.10.2022.[Context Link]


Paslakis G., Dimitropoulos G., Katzman D. K. (2021). A call to action to address COVID-19-induced global food insecurity to prevent hunger, malnutrition, and eating pathology. Nutrition Reviews, 79(1), 114-116.[Context Link]


United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. (2021). The state of food security and nutrition in the world, 2021, Transforming food systems for food security, improved nutrition and affordable healthy diets for all. Rome. Italy.[Context Link]


World Food Programme. (2022, September 21). Hunger hotspots FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity October 2022 to January 2023 Outlook.[Context Link]