At this time of year, we are constantly bombarded with food. Thanksgiving dinner. Your office holiday party. Cookie baking. Brunches, lunches, and dinners with your family. We leave cookies out for Santa and hang candy canes from our trees. We uphold traditions and make new memories through food. We give it. We receive it. We get together around it.
Holidays or not, for most of us, it is really easy to eat anything we want. It is almost impossible to imagine food being hard to come by. The harsh reality is that hunger and malnutrition are the biggest public health threats in our world today. We lose a child every six seconds because of hunger.
As a mother, I can't accept that.
When my 18-month-old son is hungry, he literally cries out for food. I can't fathom not being able to feed him when he's hungry. But there are millions of mothers who, because of crippling poverty, conflict, natural disaster or food scarcity, are not able to meet their children's cries for food. They and their families comprise the 870 million undernourished people that the United Nations World Food Program estimates are in our world today. That means one in every eight people do not have the basic food they need to lead healthy, productive lives.
I am one of the lucky seven in eight who does have enough food to eat. If you are, too, we need you.
This fall, I joined the international humanitarian organization Concern Worldwide in a movement to make hunger history. For 45 years, Concern has worked on the frontlines of hunger in the world's poorest countries, providing lifesaving treatments for children who are malnourished while also investing in local agriculture and food production to end food insecurity altogether. The Concern for Hunger campaign is an opportunity to support that critical work and help save a life by doing something simple.
Throughout the holiday season, Concern and I are asking you to donate the cost of your favorite holiday food to someone who does not have enough to eat -- you'll be surprised by how far very little can go. For $11, the cost of a family-size serving of mashed potatoes, you help save a child's life in Niger by giving her a week's supply of therapeutic food. Or, for $14, the price of your favorite pie, you can provide a three-day emergency supply of food like rice and cooking oil to a family of five in Afghanistan. The cost of a store-bought honey-baked ham ($55), can give a family of six in Somalia vouchers to purchase food for a month.
If everyone gives something, big or small, it adds up to a lot. We can change lives. We can save lives. There is enough food to feed everyone, but to move the needle, those of us who do have enough food to eat need to come together to make a difference for those who don't. Concern for Hunger is that opportunity and I hope you will join us.
Remember: you really can save a life by doing something simple.
You can see award-winning actress Toni Collette in theaters now in the hit film Hitchcock, with co-stars Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, and Jessica Biel.
This blog is part of our #GivingTuesday series, produced by The Huffington Post and the teams at InterAction, 92nd Street Y,United Nations Foundation, and others. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday -- which takes place for the first time on Tuesday, November 27 -- is a movement intended to open the holiday season on a philanthropic note. Go to www.givingtuesday.org to learn more and get involved.