MAIN BLOG - Food as a Human Right - Mar 20

Food as a Human Right

A meal a day is a Human Right which many are deprived of.

Recently someone on the street asked me to buy them a bread. My first instinct was to say no, instead I took the individual to a soup kitchen I know of operating in my hometown. This does not make me special, but I cannot bear to see someone going without food. Food is wasted daily in homes, supermarkets, restaurants and hotels. Why can we not have a “Food Bank” to which we can take food that is left over from functions or if we have purchased too much? I posed the question to a manager at a local supermarket, his answer was “What if people get ill from the food we donated? We could be sued!”

The right to food is a human right recognised under national and international law, which protects the right of human beings to access food and feed themselves, either by producing their own food or by buying it. The right to food is linked to one’s right to life and dignity.

The right to food, and its variations, is a human right protecting the right for people to feed themselves in dignity, implying that sufficient food is available, that people have the means to access it, and that it adequately meets the individual’s dietary needs. The right to food protects the right of all human beings to be free from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. The right to food does not imply that governments have an obligation to hand out free food to everyone who wants it, or a right to be fed. However, if people are deprived of access to food for reasons beyond their control, for example, because they are in detention, in times of war or after natural disasters, the right requires the government to provide food directly.

For the past 40 years, since its founding in 1976, the mission of World Hunger Education Service is to undertake programs, including Hunger Notes, that:

  • Educate the general public and target groups about the extent and causes of hunger and malnutrition in the United States and the world
  • Advance comprehension which integrates ethical, religious, social, economic, political, and scientific perspectives on the world food problem
  • Facilitate communication and networking among those who are working for solutions
  • Promote individual and collective commitments to sustainable hunger solutions.

So why can we not re-look at our laws and make it easier for the food industry and supermarkets to donate food? If it was made on the day and left over or if the products have reached its sell by date, it is still edible. Soup kitchens can use the food and at least everyone will know that somewhere some person had a square meal.