The Issue

Poverty & the Food Crisis

Around the world, 795 million people experience hunger every day.

Hunger has a devastating impact in the lives of children. In the United States alone, 13 million children face hunger: that’s one in six. Hunger affects brain development. It makes it harder to learn in school and puts our children at risk of chronic health issues. Irreversibly harming a child’s cognitive and physical development in turn makes it harder for them to find employment later in life.

Hunger burdens our economy with lost productivity and increased, avoidable healthcare costs. Hunger and inadequate nutrition for seniors exacerbates already existing health challenges, accelerates physical impairment, impedes recovery from illness, injury and surgery, and increases risk of chronic disease.

But the impact of hunger reaches far beyond just those families and individuals who experience it.

  • Increasing conflict and forced migration: Political turbulence around the world has resulted in millions of people fleeing their homes, shifting the balance of global humanitarian work. Islamic Relief is uniquely well placed to respond to this shift, being able to access Muslim communities in war-affected areas. This demands a greater focus on protection and building resilience to conflict. The increasing scale of forced migration has also affected many developed countries, with a growing need for humanitarian responses to inward refugee flows.
  • Climate change: As witnessed by the catastrophic impact of drought, extreme floods and rising temperatures globally in recent years, climate change remains a major humanitarian and development issue. The last few years have seen a renewed commitment by governments and global organizations to act on climate change, with new national targets and major new funds being pledged to help poorer nations adapt. Our new strategy prioritizes climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster preparedness
  • A multi-polar world: The last five years have seen an increasing shift of power and wealth to the global south, with a corresponding increase in the influence and capacity of southern actors. The UN imagines the close involvement of local civil society organizations in rolling out national development plans that will implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These changes create an opportunity for faith communities to partner in innovative ways, as national governments and funding agencies increasingly recognize the need to work with them to bring about sustainable change. Over the next five years we will build our representation at national and regional levels, as well as with major global institutions.

What We Are Doing

Islamic Relief USA has aligned its advocacy goals with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals priority of ending hunger worldwide by 2030. Food aid and food security programs are important to us, and are important to the donors who invest in our work.

Our services span the gamut in terms of size and reach: from mobilized deliveries in the wake of disasters to food pantries that provide easy access to quality foods. IRUSA community members have served millions of people through our food aid programs, including our seasonal distributions for Ramadan, the Udhiyah/Qurbani season around the world, and November food drives in the United States.

Beyond the implementation of humanitarian aid, we strongly advocate for legislation, public policies, and programs that address the systemic causes of hunger. It is critical for us to be a voice advocating for the feeding of those in need from a humanitarian level, and also from a spiritual level, as Islamic tradition requires.

But we don’t do this important work alone. It’s through a community of staff, affiliates, donors, volunteers, peers, and partners that these efforts can be seen through. Groups like InterAction, the Alliance to End Hunger, and Bread for the World are among the friends we work with to tackle poverty and food crisis related issues through campaigns like Vote to End Hunger and “Collaborating to #EndHunger and Pass the Global Food Security Act of 2016.”

What You Can Do

Want to learn how you can get involved in advocating for solutions to poverty and the food crisis, and other related topics? Connect with us at publicaffairs@irusa.org.