“Feeding people in New York City is great, but there’s no way it can be a solution to hunger,” Andrea Tamburini, the president and CEO of Action Against Hunger-USA, tells me. Moreover, Tamburini notes, as opposed to the United States, there are places where the organization, whose mission is to “[save] lives while building long-term strategies for self-sufficiency,” is active—like Nigeria, South Sudan, the DRC, Syria, Pakistan and India—but there is no social net to catch those who struggle with hunger. “In many of these communities,” he says, “we’re the last resort.”
Though delivering lifesaving food is indeed a large part of ACF—the organization was founded in 1979 by a bunch of French intellectuals, so the name is technically Action Contre la Faim—the lion’s share is the very unphotogenic, very boring, very vital policy, advocacy and evaluative work. “Hunger is complicated,” Tamburini says, “nutrition is an orphan topic. It sits at the intersections of health, economics and agriculture.” Hunger, like almost everything or nothing at all, will likely be solved by meetings.