Today’s guest blog comes from Noel S. Paul, global leader in the realm of corporate responsibility at Elanco, Eli Lilly and Company’s animal health division.
Today is World Hunger Day, and roughly 1.2 billion people worldwide are living in extreme poverty. That’s defined by the World Bank as living on the equivalent of $1.50 a day. These people face a continuous struggle to find enough safe, nutritious food to eat. We know that hunger affects everything from development to emotional well-being and results in more than 25,000 deaths globally every day. At Elanco, we dedicate our time and effort to fighting this devastating issue.
Corporate mission and personal passion came together recently as more than 2,000 Lilly and Elanco employees around the world pledged to better understand the realities of living on the equivalent of $1.50 a day. These colleagues took part in the global Live Below the Line challenge. This was the second year I participated, so I figured I would simply use my menu from last year. Problem: The prices of lentils and eggs had gone up since then, meaning I needed to wander the grocery aisles and try to make trade-offs elsewhere. My options for healthy, affordable food started vanishing. I found myself counting the slices of bread in a bag. This one has 20. That one has 23. Now, can I afford some peanut butter? I wasn’t thinking about nutrition, but calories.
Throughout that Live Below the Line week, it was difficult to concentrate. I was always thinking about food, or the lack of it. More than once, I had to write down what was being said in meetings and go back to it later because I simply couldn’t concentrate in the moment. That frustration built, and I got a sense of it being a constant fight for far too many people.
We are committed to helping people win this fight.
As a show of support for the employees who took on the challenge, The Lilly Foundation donated $100,000 to United Way Worldwide to support that organization’s efforts to combat hunger globally. These funds will support projects in the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa, and India. In Brazil specifically, more than 4,000 children ages 0 to 5 who live in the Amazon region will receive improved nutrition. And in Mumbai, India, more than 2,000 children will be fed and 1,000 women will receive food as well as nutrition education.