The Difference Between Acute and Chronic Hunger Needs

By Jeff Palmer, CEO on September 25, 2017 | Print

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In our last blog, we looked at some global numbers regarding hunger. Just reading through them can be a bit overwhelming. What, if anything, can we do to make a difference? Why is it important to consider hunger issues as a part of my local ministry/strategies?

Addressing hunger and hunger issues can be, in many cases, a key component in your strategy to engage people for kingdom impact.

Hunger and hunger projects show compassion but create unique windows of opportunity for access to some hard-to-get-to peoples and places. Generally speaking, if you map hunger/poverty needs of the world and overlay a map of unreached people and places of the world, you see some coinciding strategic points for making the love of Christ known in some really needy spiritual areas.

Just like human needs, hunger needs are classified as either acute or chronic.

Acute global hunger needs result from drought, famine, war, population displacements, natural disasters, etc. We usually respond to these hunger needs (at least initially) with food dispersal programs. These can be small or large in scope depending on the reason for the need, the capacity of your team to respond, the amount of resources available, and your pre-determined strategic reason for responding.

The global hunger needs resulting from chronic conditions are the more common hunger needs we see every day. They are caused by some of the same things listed above but are complicated by poverty, poor health, unemployment, and lack of opportunities. These hunger issues require more sustainable and transformational solutions in order to be solved. They are rooted in generational problems, requiring a larger investment of time and resources. Chronic hunger solutions are initially food distribution but quickly move towards solutions that involve people in the process of feeding themselves, either through sustainable food production, increased income earning potential, or improved ways to store and market their food produced.

There are no easy answers to global hunger. But there are some practical things we can do and be involved in that show compassion for the hungry and demonstrate the love of Christ to the hungry.

Hang with us in the next few blogs and learn best practices and some tools that can help you assess whether you need to consider hunger solutions as one of your core strategies. We’ll first look at the assessment and practical solutions to acute hunger needs and then later in this series, show models for chronic hunger alleviation.