WhyHunger was founded in 1975 by the late musician Harry Chapin and Radio DJ Bill Ayres on the fundamental belief that access to nutritious food is a human right and hunger is a solvable problem in a world of abundance. What began as a simple commitment between two friends to make a difference has grown into a global non-profit, celebrating over 40 years of supporting social movements and grassroots innovations to change the systems, policies and institutions that perpetuate hunger and poverty in our world. WhyHunger has proven that change is possible and that justice can prevail.
Hunger is never just about food.
It can be difficult to imagine the impact of big, complicated problems on real people’s lives. When we say hunger is an economic, social, and environmental issue, here’s what we mean:
People struggle to afford food because they can’t get a living-wage job that allows them to pay for health and child care, housing, education, and food. People can’t access healthy food because grocery chains have abandoned lower-income and BIPOC neighborhoods, they lack reliable transportation, or there is simply nowhere to buy fresh produce nearby. People aren’t able to grow food because small farmers have been forced off their land, causing a loss of seeds and Indigenous knowledge; women, queer people, and people of color have been denied credit to purchase land and build farm infrastructure; and because climate change is driving extreme weather and major crop loss.
Hunger is primarily caused by social injustices like low wages, inequity in education and transit, racism, sexism, homophobia, and environmental destruction that create barriers to food, land, knowledge, and resources, impacting generations of communities worldwide.
But just because hunger is complex doesn’t mean we can’t solve it. At WhyHunger, we know that ending hunger means addressing root causes so that communities have all the resources they need to thrive. The solutions are innovative and exciting, and WhyHunger is working alongside our partners to enact them, right now.
For over two decades, WhyHunger has built trusted relationships with grassroots organizations worldwide to address the specific needs in their communities. While making nutritious food more accessible, our partners’ solutions are also tackling the very social, economic, and racial inequities that perpetuate hunger. Like establishing community grocery stores that source food from BIPOC farmers, pooling resources to buy land and start farmer training schools, and creating culinary education programs and urban farms that employ formerly incarcerated people and pay a living wage.
WhyHunger is committed to supporting grassroots organizations around the globe as they organize, grow food, regain control of their local food systems, and ensure racial, economic, environmental, and health equity for all. With our partners’ leadership, and with your support, we can and will build an equitable world free from hunger.