Image depicting Hungry Children Need Your Help
Photo: WFP/Arete/Damilola Onafuwa

Hungry Children Need Your Help

Every year, more than 3 million children die from hunger-related causes. We can save them.

Nutrition during childhood shapes children in ways that last a lifetime. The serious effects of malnutrition – from sickness and impaired thinking to stunted growth – impact not only them, but their families and their communities. Food can truly change the course of a child’s future.

45M

children suffer from severe malnutrition every year

45%

of deaths among children under 5 are caused by hunger

58%

of WFP’s beneficiaries are children

The Effects of Childhood Hunger
1 2 3 4

Health

When children don’t have adequate food, it directly affects their ability to fight off infection, and common illnesses can become life-threatening. The economic burden to families and countries can be great.

Report: Early Childhood Malnutrition and Humanitarian Emergencies

Cognition

Cognitive development in children is heavily impacted by nutrition. Without proper food in the first few years of life, most children will have an impaired ability to learn for the rest of their lives.

Report: Early Childhood Malnutrition and Humanitarian Emergencies

Growth

Malnourished children are often underweight (called wasting) and underheight (called stunting). Both are often accompanied by recurring illnesses that can be a heavy burden for families and public healthcare systems.

Report: Early Childhood Malnutrition and Humanitarian Emergencies

Productivity

It is estimated that malnutrition costs the global economy up to $3.5 trillion dollars each year in lost productivity, increased healthcare costs and emergency services.

Report: Early Childhood Malnutrition and Humanitarian Emergencies

Your Dollars Can Save a Life

How We Respond to Childhood Hunger

The U.N. World Food Programme feeds millions of pregnant women, new moms and their babies every year, giving children a hand up at the start of their lives. After infancy, we help kids reach their full potential throughout early adolescence via school meals and support to their farming parents.

Photo: WFP/Berta Tilmantaite
First 1,000 Days

The most crucial nutritional window for a child happens between pregnancy and their second birthday. That’s when WFP steps in with foods designed specifically to treat and prevent malnutrition.

Photo: WFP/Vilakhone Sipaseuth
School Meals

WFP’s School Meals program is the largest in the world. It’s an essential safety net that provides more than 15 million school children with lifesaving nutrition, health and education.

Photo: Courtesy of Rick Steves
Supporting Farmers

Ironically, over 50% of the world’s hungry people are small-scale farmers. WFP helps improve their food production so they can provide more nutritious diets for their children.

Photo: WFP/Badre Bhaji
Food Storage

WFP provides farming families with air-tight containers to store their dried crops, keeping them free from pests and mold so they can feed their children between harvests.

Share Their Stories of Hunger and Hope

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It's hard to imagine the scale of childhood hunger. Our FAQ breaks down the issue into who, what, where, when and why.

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Photo: WFP/Ahmed Haleem The Great Setback: How Coronavirus Sent Schoolchildren Home Hungry

The world had an expanding safety net, with school feeding a growing priority for governments. Then COVID-19 arrived and smashed it all.

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Food is a basic human right

Children are the innocent victims of adult wars. They can't help being born into poverty, and their lives are at our mercy. We believe every child should have the food they need to take their first steps, learn their first words and read their first book. We believe every child is born with the inalienable right to reach their full potential.