World Food Day: A Day Celebrated All Over the World

06. October 2020. 12:20
Every year near the middle of October, a special day is celebrated around the world—thanks to a delegation of Hungarians 41 years ago! You might never have known about it or heard of it, but World Food Day is commemorated annually on October 16th in over 150 countries. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the issues behind poverty and hunger.

On October 15th,16th, 19th, and 20th Miskolc University is also going to take part in this important event. There is a group of students and teachers on our campus who are members of an organization called Universities Fighting World Hunger (Egyetemek Harca az Éhezés Ellen). UFWH started in 2004 at the University of Auburn in the USA in partnership with the United Nations’ World Food Programme. UFWH has activities on almost 300 university campuses around the world. The founding goal of UFWH is to develop and put in place an action agenda for students and faculty that leads to a university community that is fully engaged in the effort to eliminate hunger. UFWH at the University of Miskolc has annually been holding two food collection drives, one in the first and one in the second semester, since the spring of 2013, and it is the only UFWH group in the country to have two campaigns each year. Regrettably, the campaign scheduled to be held in the spring of this year was cancelled because of the COVID 19 virus.

Miskolc University’s UFWH team partners with the Hungarian Red Cross of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County to help people in our local area who are hungry and need assistance. On October 15th,16th, 19th, and 20th from 9 AM to 2 PM, volunteers will be collecting long-term foodstuffs (canned goods, pastas, etc.) at the University’s main entrance, and in a tent outside in front of the entrance that is near the Rácsós (iron bar) Büfé. You do not have to donate something large, because every little bit helps. The food that is given has to have a minimum expiration date of three months. The local Hungarian Red Cross will make sure that the donated items are distributed to people who need them.  

For the days of the collection, the Beli Diner (which is located in the large auditorium that is behind the main entrance) and the Uni-Café (in the Uni-Hotel) will give a 10% discount on soft drinks and coffee or tea to anyone who has a small stamped flyer which donors can receive upon making a donation. Those having such a stamped flyer are given the discount, and any beverages purchased using the discount must be consumed at the restaurants.

So what, exactly, is the Hungarian connection to World Food Day? 16 October was proclaimed to be World Food Day in 1979 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), as this day marks the date of the creation of the FAO in 1945. At the 1979 conference where this proclamation was made, the Hungarian Delegation (led by the former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture and Food Dr. Pál Romány) came up with the idea of celebrating World Food Day across the whole world, and then this idea spread.

So, there you have it! A day that is observed in many countries across the world thanks in part to the initiative of some Hungarians 41 years ago. Unfortunately, this year during the earlier wave of the COVID 19 epidemic, the number of aid applications for assistance received by the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Red Cross Chapter increased significantly. Experience shows us that we need to be prepared for the next wave so that when it does peak, we can provide help to families in need in the form of long-lasting foodstuffs. Let's preserve the generous spirit of those who decided to make World Food Day an international event, and have World Food Day 2020 make a great impact on our community by holding a very fruitful collection at the University of Miskolc on October 15th, 16th, 19th, and 20th! Thank you very much!