The Drought in Ethiopia
In 1984, a drought struck Ethiopia, causing a devastating famine. The country had already experienced a drought and famine in the early 1970s from which they had never entirely recovered. As a result, when almost all of the crops in northern Ethiopia died, the government was not able to provide enough relief supplies to go around. This was not helped by constant fighting over what little food remained, nor was it helped when locusts and grasshoppers plagued the region in 1986.
By 1986, the famine had spread to the southern half of the country. The government stopped sending out relief to areas where the fighting was at its worst, causing the international community to criticize the situation. This criticism, combined with the fighting, resulted in an economic collapse, which only worsened the problem.
Share Our Strength
Bill Shore was concerned about this famine since the beginning. Wanting to help minimize the damage, he and his sister, Debbie, founded Share Our Strength in 1984. To this day, Bill Shore works to end world hunger by raising money to help feed the hungry all over the world. While its main objective of Share our Strength these days has been to end hunger in the U.S., it also puts a lot of emphasis on ending hunger abroad. This is done by giving international grants to organizations that help to end hunger overseas.
For example, the organization has given money to Save the Children, an organization which helps children in developing countries survive and thrive by accepting monthly donations to sponsor specific children. Share Our Strength is specifically interested in Save the Children’s work in Ethiopia and Somalia, both of which have been ravaged by famine.
The Impact of Share Our Strength
The money that Share Our Strength provides to its international partners allows them to help starving people around the world. For instance, Save the Children, through the help of donations from Share Our Strength and other organizations and people, was able to help 155 million children in 120 countries. In 2017, Save the Children received $807,412; they spent 663,969 on actual programs and services, $65,267 of that money specifically went to help end hunger.
What about Ethiopia, the country whose famine inspired Bill Shore to start Share Our Strength in the first place? In 1993, there was only enough food in Ethiopia for each person to eat 1,510 calories a day. This is lower than the recommended 1,500 to 3,000 calories per day, depending on age, gender and body type. However, thanks in part to Bill Shore, Share Our Strength and Save the Children, there is now enough food in Ethiopia for the average person to eat 2,130 calories a day, a vast improvement from the days of famine.
In 2014, Shore was appointed to the National Commission on Hunger, a group dedicated to ending hunger in the U.S. Here, Shore and his fellow members are working to solve the problems of hunger, food insecurity and nutrition in the United States. Through this commission, Bill Shore will be able to continue his good work on a local level.