Join the global effort to fight hunger — starting now

It’s here! The season for peace, love, joy ... and roasting, sampling and baking.

The air is filled with the scents of Christmas blend coffee and spiced wassail. Many of us likely will participate in a Christmas cookie exchange. A friend of mine even is going through the intensive process of making a traditional English Christmas pudding (it boils for hours!).

Food is an integral part of the Christmas season — and it provides a wonderful opportunity for us to gather together, share a meal with loved ones and thank God for his abundant blessings.

This season, however, we are being challenged in a new way to do more than simply consume. On Dec. 10, Caritas International, along with the full support of Pope Francis and the partnership of Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA, launched a campaign against global hunger.

Editor's preview of this week's issue

Titled “One Human Family, Food for All,” the effort kicked off with a “global wave of prayer” at noon in Samoa and traveled around the world. The goal: to rid the world of hunger by 2025.

In a heartfelt video message, Pope Francis lamented that more than a billion people in the world suffer from starvation.

“We cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist,” he said. “The food available in the world is enough to feed everyone. The parable of the multiplication of the loaves and fish teaches us exactly this: that if there is the will, what we have never ends. On the contrary, it abounds and does not get wasted.”

Catholic Relief Services offers 10 ways to enter more fully into this effort by fighting hunger:

1) Host a meal-packaging event through CRS’ Helping Hands endeavor.

2) Donate nonperishable food items to a local food bank or shelter through Catholic Charities.

3) Pray for those who don’t have enough.

4) Shop with moderation and find creative ways to use leftovers.

5) Buy fair trade goods that will help farmers in developing countries earn a fair wage.

6) Support your community by buying local, in-season fruits and vegetables.

7) Get involved politically. Urge your senator or representative to take the issue of hunger seriously.

8) During Lent, participate in CRS’ Operation Rice Bowl effort.

9) Educate yourself by learning how hunger is fought in developing countries.

10) Spread the word. Tell your friends and family what you’ve learned, why it’s important and how they can get involved.

This week we celebrate the incarnation of the One who told us we only get to heaven by serving the least among us. Participating in this campaign is one way we can get started.

Merry Christmas!