Why I’m living below the line, and why you should join me

    Hunter Biden, chairman of World Food Program USA, visits the Philippines. Photo by: Silke Buhr / WFP

    Hunger is the single greatest problem of our time, killing more people each year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Across the planet, more than 842 million people go to bed hungry each night. That means 1 in 8 people are robbed each day of the nutrition they need to survive and thrive.

    But in many ways, global hunger remains a silent emergency.

    That’s why I was so touched by a handwritten letter I received earlier this year from a young orphan named Yvonne living in Mathare, one of the largest slums in Nairobi.

    “I have undergone through many problems just after the death of my father and mother,” Yvonne wrote. “The major one being lack of food when both lunch and supper to me was like just a dream. I and my six siblings thought that this was the end of everything and really doubted for our existence."

    Yvonne went on to explain how she worried day and night about how to feed herself and her family — until she enrolled at the Mcedo Primary School. It was there that she and her siblings began receiving daily school meals from the World Food Program, the world’s largest humanitarian agency working to solve hunger.

    You see, hunger is not just the result of poverty, it’s also a cause. Without school meals to nourish their bodies and minds, too many boys and girls are unable to concentrate in the classroom, or even make the long trek to get there. Many children — especially girls like Yvonne — are taken out of school completely so they can work to help feed their families. Without proper nutrition and access to an education, these children are trapped in a cycle of poverty.

    But it doesn’t cost much to break this cycle: Just $50 can provide a child with nutritious school meals for an entire year. By encouraging education through school meals, WFP gives families incentive to keep their children in the classroom so they can fulfill their potential and lead better lives.

    Food means more than survival. It is humanity’s common ground. Ending hunger is one of the smartest investments we can make in our collective future.

    This year, I choose to live below the line because 1.2 billion people have no choice. Stand with WFP USA and help children like Yvonne break the cycle of poverty that keeps them trapped in hunger.

    From April 28 to May 2, Hunter Biden will join thousands around the globe who commit to eat and drink on $1.50 per day to raise awareness and funds toward the fight against extreme poverty. Sign up for WFP USA’s Live Below the Line challenge and learn more about the power of school meals in solving global hunger.

    The views in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect Devex's editorial views.

    About the author

    • Hunter Biden

      Hunter Biden serves as chairman of the board for World Food Program USA, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., which works to solve global hunger in partnership with the United Nations World Food Program through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States.