Food insecurity is threatening the lives of millions of people around the world. Find out how Tim Jarrott and his colleagues are taking on the 345 Challenge to make a difference in the lives of children and families impacted by the global food crisis.

“To know that 345 million people around the world are experiencing acute food insecurity and they don’t know where their next meal is coming from—it’s unacceptable to me,” says Tim.

Tim Jarrott believes some things in life are simply unacceptable and the global food crisis is one of them. Tim and his wife, Tam, have been supporting the work of Compassion through sponsorship and donations for over 20 years. He first heard about the global food crisis through Compassion.

The knowledge that 345 million people are at risk of having no food to eat today was shocking to him, especially given the minimal media attention surrounding this critical humanitarian emergency. As a parent of three children, Tim struggled to come to terms with the difficult daily reality faced by mums and dads living in other parts of the world: not being able to feed their children.

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Tim was moved to take on the 345 Challenge to be a good neighbour to those needing love and support around the world.

“We are so blessed to live in Australia and I’m really aware of the responsibility we have,” says Tim. “Like it says in Luke 12:48, ‘For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required’”.

How does the global food crisis affect children?

Global hunger is on the rise at an unprecedented rate. According to the United Nations, the world is moving backwards in the fight against food security and malnutrition. Because of the crisis, the number of people around the world with insufficient food has increased exponentially. At least 345 million people worldwide are facing acute food insecurity—a 250 per cent increase since 2019.

Children are often the worst affected—hunger upends the lives of children in poverty and undermines holistic development.

The global food crisis is affecting many of Compassion’s partner countries, including Haiti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana, Colombia and Sri Lanka. The cost for Compassion’s church partners to provide meals for participants as part of normal programming has increased—and families are now even more reliant on those meals. Children living in poverty are likely to be at an increasingly severe risk of malnourishment or undernourishment and we must act now to bring urgent relief.

We can all play our part by taking on the 345 Challenge. We can also invite others to join in.

What is the 345 Challenge?

The 345 Challenge is a way you can fundraise to support the 345 million people facing acute food insecurity. The challenge empowers everyday Australians like Tim to not just hear about the crisis but to take action by fundraising to support the work of Compassion’s local partners who are already responding to the crisis.

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Participants can take on the challenge of either performing an activity, like running or walking 345km, shooting 345 hoops or doing 345 sit ups in a week, or they can choose to give up something, like social media or TV for 345 minutes a day, over one week.

Forming a team with friends or workmates can be a great way to get others involved and make a difference together.

The benefits of getting your workplace involved

Tim wanted to engage his work colleagues in the 345 Challenge and share his heart for those living in poverty. As the owner of an orthotics and prosthetics business based in Melbourne, Tim works in a predominantly non-Christian environment. He says the 345 Challenge presented him with the perfect opportunity to be a witness to his workmates and to let them see his faith in action.

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Tim's whole team signed up for the challenge and, to create ownership among his colleagues, he invited everyone to brainstorm ideas around what they could do. After they settled on a combination of activities, they started sharing the challenge with friends and family, encouraging them to support their cause. Tim says they have also shared the challenge on their business social media, spreading awareness of this critical global issue among their customers and industry colleagues.

To his surprise, Tim found that engaging his workplace in the 345 Challenge was also beneficial to his team and business.

“I love the team-building opportunity this presents for our business. It also helps to create a culture of looking out for others.” says Tim.

This could be true for your workplace too. The 345 Challenge provides an opportunity to invite collaboration and create engagement among staff while building a healthy team culture through unity and social activation. Research shows that increasing employee engagement lowers absenteeism, reduces stress and staff turnover, increases job satisfaction and improves the overall health of the team. It could also help get employees back into the workplace after the challenges of remote working. You can make it a friendly competition to see who can fundraise the fastest or who can come up with the best challenge!

How will your support make a difference?

Compassion’s 8,500 local partners across over 25 countries are already responding to the global food crisis. Donations to the 345 Challenge will go towards meeting the changing needs of children and families facing increased food insecurity. Our local partners are responding in two ways:

Short-term aid: Providing immediate food packages or unconditional cash transfers to households deemed vulnerable to food insecurity.

Long-term solutions: Providing long-term food security through distributing seeds, fertiliser, livestock and training on how to build and maintain home gardens and small-scale farms.

A story of hope

In Togo, Ayitevi and Aboni are parents that count on this help as a lifeline. With the significant increase in food prices in Togo, this young couple can no longer meet their family’s basic needs. Aboni resorted to farming when costs first shot up. But the price of fertiliser quickly skyrocketed and his efforts to grow crops were unsuccessful.

This brave couple say their hearts break when their children ask why there’s nothing to eat.

“The only thing I can do is bless water, give it to them to drink and reassure them that brighter days will come,” says Ayitevi.

But in the meantime, their local church has stepped into the gap.

In partnership with Compassion, their church is providing the family with lifesaving support, including food packs and financial assistance for their business. Their young daughter has been registered in the Child Sponsorship Program and, for this, the couple say they are grateful to God.

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Millions of people around the world like Ayitevi and Aboni are at risk of having no food to eat today. The need is massive and the numbers are staggering. It can be overwhelming to think about the scale of what is required to answer hunger with hope. But we can all do something.

Tim encourages everyone to get involved with the 345 Challenge. He says it is a great, fun way to make a very tangible difference in the lives of children and families who are experiencing food insecurity.

“Gather a group of workmates together and sign up,” says Tim. “What a great way to have some fun, build your team culture, maybe get fit and raise awareness for global poverty all in one!”

The 345 Challenge is the perfect opportunity to invite co-workers to join in being a good neighbour to those facing hunger around the world.

Today, will you answer hunger with hope?

P.S. To deepen your awareness of the global food crisis and to hear messages from those experiencing food insecurity firsthand, you can visit our interactive website. You can also send an encouraging message of hope in reply!

Words by Sidhara Udalagama.