THE BLOG

Time to End Hunger Around the World

09/21/2012 05:18 EDT | Updated 11/21/2012 05:12 EST
Courtesy, Hellen Keller International

I am very fortunate. I have an amazing wife and three gorgeous kids and a passion for my job as a chef. I love food, and cooking on T.V. has given me the opportunity to travel around the world to learn the flavours and traditions of so many cultures.

My travels have also shown me how lucky my family and most Canadians are. Most of us can afford good, nutritious food whenever we want. That isn't the case in many of the countries I have visited. As a father it has been hardest for me to see hungry children.

Every year 2.5 million children die and the underlying or direct cause is hunger and malnutrition. Right now in the Sahel region of West Africa one million children are at risk of acute malnutrition but the invisible killer is chronic malnutrition. Every day around the world children are desperately hungry and the lack of nutritious food is making them weak and vulnerable to illnesses like malaria and pneumonia. Three times the number of children die because of chronic malnutrition. These kids are hidden from the cameras, living in poor rural communities and big city slums around the world.

The children who survive are severely affected. Often they are physically stunted and experience difficulties learning. The lack of nutrients during the crucial growing years means that the potential of these children is often as stunted as their bodies.

Like all parents I want my kids to be healthy, happy and to reach their full potential. I can't even imagine how painful it must be for parents who know they should be providing more and better food for their kids but who simply can't.

In a couple of days I will be travelling to Bangladesh with my wife. This time I am not going to film a television show. Leslie and I are travelling with Save the Children to visit their food and nutrition programming. Leslie and I want to bring the story of these children and their families to the attention of Canadians. We want Canadians to know that ending world hunger is possible, and that no child should die because they are poor or because of where they were born.

We know the solutions, teach and support women so they can breastfeed for a minimum of six months, grow local food production and distribution, and make sure food is more affordable educate parents about how to increase the nutritional value of the meals they can afford, make sure children under five are vaccinated and that kids and pregnant and breastfeeding moms have supplemental nutrients when needed.

To save millions of children every year we just need to step up.

According to the World Bank, if governments around the world would commit $10 billion a year we could save a 1 million children. I know, $10 billion seems like an awful lot of cash to me too, but when you realize that by some estimates governments spent more than ten times that amount to rescue the global financial system it really puts things in perspective.

You can help. Save the Children is calling on Canadians to email Prime Minister Harper asking him to ensure that Canada leads the effort to end global hunger.

While we are in Bangladesh I will be sharing our experiences on Facebook and Twitter. Find out more about the people and their lives and how even though Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, kids are being saved every day.

Join Leslie and me on this important adventure.

The blog's earlier title "In Bangladesh, Many Are Starving," written by Huffington Post staff, has been changed because it is factually incorrect.