Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

11 posts from September 2005

One of our Bread for the World members found this meditation on a recent trip to England. It’s a wonderful connection for our work!


Be gentle

when you touch bread.

Let it not lie

uncared for, unwanted.

So often

bread is taken for granted.

There is such beauty in bread;

beauty of sun and soil,

beauty of patient toil.

Wind and sun have caressed it.

Christ often blessed it.

Be gentle

when you touch bread.

(…discovered next to a loaf of bread, tucked in an alcove at Cartmel Priory, England)

Ice Cream Sundaes and MDGs

I just heard about a cool awareness raising/marketing technique Georgetown University did during an organization fair.  They set up an ice cream sundae stand at the fair.  Students could make an ice cream sundae, but to get a condiment, they first learned about a Millennium Development Goal (MDG).  So to get ice cream students learned about Goal nubmer 1, reducing by half the number of people that live on less than $1 a day and to get hot fudge on your ice cream students had to learn about Goal number 5, etc.  With each goal, students also learned about various Georgetown student organizations they could get involved with pertaining to the goal.  Isn't that fun?!!  What other creative events are your campuses organizing to raise awareness about hunger and market your organizations?

National Call To Serve

The National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness is declaring a National Call to Serve in response to Hurricane Katrina.  On their website they have wonderful tools on ways students can serve those affected by the Hurricane whether that's raising money, volunteering to serve in the gulf states or working to keep cuts from the Food Stamp Program.  Please check out their awesome resources and think about ways you might incorporate this call to serve onto your campus!  Go to their website to access the toolkit.  Here's an excerpt from their intro letter:

Amidst the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, we must demand that the extreme poverty now apparent in the Gulf States remains in the national spotlight. Thousands of individuals and families already experiencing poverty have felt the destruction of Hurricane Katrina; yet, we should use this as an opportunity for change and hope for countless others.

What does a Bed and Breakfast have to do with hunger?

Recently, my boyfriend and I were vacationing up in Maine.  We were staying at a lovely bed and breakfast and one morning as we were eating blueberry infused frenchtoast (yum!) and looking out the window at a beautiful bay of water the bed and breakfast owner asked us what we did in DC.  I dread the question for a few reasons, but for one because you never know what kind of response you're going to get.  I say:

"I work for a grassroots anti-hunger advocacy organization - we try to make Congress more responsive to the needs of hungry and poor people."

"Oh" she says.  "So what are you working on right now?"

"We're trying to get Congress to commit to cutting hunger in half by 2010 and end it by 2015."

This time she laughs.

"So you're trying to end hunger?"

"Basically" I respond.

"Good luck with that." she retorts.

The next morning, there is another couple also eating breakfast with us (a delicious Finnish pancake this time).  They were from South Carolina.  The bed and breakfast owner informs them:

"Erin here is trying to end hunger."

In my head I'm thinking, here it goes again.  I'M ON VACATION!  The husband turns to me and says:

"Seems like you should be working on obesity these days instead of hunger."

Mental groan from me.

Continue reading "What does a Bed and Breakfast have to do with hunger?" »

Human Development Report release

Here's a great link for statistics on a mass of global issues like hunger, poverty, gender equality, trade, aid, etc. http://hdr.undp.org/ - Its the newly released Human Development Report 2005 (HDR2005), an annual release by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). And the best part is that you can download it for free through the UNDP website!

Some highlights:

UN report warns poverty goals likely to be missed (The infant death rate for African Americans in Washington DC is higher than that in the cities of the India state of Kerala, the United Nations has warned as part of a damning review of poverty and inequality around the world) - Financial Times

'Aid, trade fail to mend divide' (The developed world does not give as much aid to the poor nations as it must if the millennium development goals (MDG) are to be met. What’s more, by keeping world trade rules unfair, it robs the developing world of sums that three times as large as the aid flows.) - The Times of India

Life 'worse for world's poorest' (Many of the world's poorest countries are doing worse in 2005 than they were 15 years ago, a major UN report says. Kemal Dervis, UNDP administrator, warned that the world's governments had to act quickly if they wanted to meet those targets) - BBC

UN Summit starts today--- with more poor in the world today than last year.

Great editorial today in the NYTimes by Kristof, as the UN General Assembly gathers today in NY.  The disparity between the rich and poor is getting greater and greater, rich are getting richer and less, but the big tragedy, is more people are becoming poor.  This goes for both the world and our country.  Kristof refers to the Human Development Report that was just released, clearly mocking the rich in the world for not supporting just 70 cents of every $100 dollars to go to the poorest in the world, but yet money is spent on much more frivelous things like pet food, perfume and cosmetic surgery, when 2.6 billion people can't afford clean water.  Kristof writes:

The world's richest 500 individuals have the same income as the world's poorest 416 million people....We Americans set a dreadful example as hosts to the summit. President Bush has been trying to wriggle away from his 2002 endorsement of the principle that rich countries should try to provide 70 cents in official development assistance for every $100 in national income. It notes that the U.S. and other rich countries seem unwilling to provide a total of $7 billion annually for the next decade to provide 2.6 billion people with access to clean drinking water. That investment would save 4,000 lives a day, and the cost is less than Europeans spend on perfume - or than Americans spend on cosmetic surgery.

A Movie for Midweek: The Constant Gardener

Has anyone seen The Constant Gardener yet?  It's excellent - but I also found it incredibly depressing, hence my suggestion that this is a movie to see during the week, not on the weekend!  Nothing is left out of this movie and it leaves your head spinning as you begin to process every element/issue that was brought in.  Not only is it about the corruption and immorality of rich corporations/pharmaceuticals and their inhumane practices, the movie touches on the Sudan/genocide, gay rights (or lack thereof), the role of the UN, poverty, AIDS, war, contrasts of rich/poor and the list could go on.  It is so rich and stimulating and the cinematography is absolutely beautiful! 

It also made me angry, disheartened, depressed and frustrated.  I'm usually not a fan of movies that leave me feeling like this - I like to leave with a bit of hope that change can happen, that I am an individual that can make a difference.  While you could draw some hope from the ending (I didn't get too much hope from it...), I think what I've taken more from this movie is that I cannot be silenced even when it seems that evil is winning. I would encourage people to go see this movie, but also leave time afterwards or the day after to discuss it with friends because it's a movie that should create wonderful and intense conversation.

The New York Times review summed up the movie well with this quote:

This is a supremely well-executed piece of popular entertainment that is likely to linger in your mind and may even trouble your conscience. Which is only proper, since the theme of the film, as of Mr. le Carré's novel, is the uneasy, divided conscience of the liberal West.

Racism, Poverty and Katrina


From the New York Times: From Margins of Society to Center of the Tragedy

"Is this what the pioneers of the civil rights movement fought to achieve, a society where many black people are as trapped and isolated by their poverty as they were by segregation laws?" Mr. Naison wrote. "If Sept. 11 showed the power of a nation united in response to a devastating attack, Hurricane Katrina reveals the fault lines of a region and a nation, rent by profound social divisions."

Continue reading "Racism, Poverty and Katrina" »

Meet the Authors

KDB Lobby Day2  Kimberly Burge is Senior Writer/Editor in Bread for the World’s national office, where she has worked for 11 years. She’s also a contributing writer for Sojourners magazine. These are a few of her favorite things: Johnny Cash’s music, traveling (South Africa, Australia, Costa Rica), ginger limeade, E.B. White’s essays. (Give Strunk and White another chance. Seriously.) She’s currently slogging her way through an MFA in nonfiction writing at George Mason University; her thesis is a series of essays on Africa. 

Brian breadblog

Brian P. Duss is the Multimedia Associate for Bread for the World in Washington, DC.  He graduated from Messiah College in 1998 with a B.A. in Communications.  When he’s not taking photos, shooting video or recording for podcasts he’s playing with his ‘math rock’ band, IBID.  Brian is also a board member of We Are Family, a senior services organization in DC.

Holly_headshotHolly Hight is the Field Organizer with Bread for the World's California Regional Office. She graduated from Scripps College in 2004 with a B.A. in Religious Studies. Holly is passionate about faith, advocacy, justice and drinking good beer. She loves to cook delicious food and spend time with her husband Joel. 

Carlos_mugshotmeCarlos Navarro volunteers as state coordinator for Bread for the World in New Mexico and has been a member of the organization since 1983. He earned a BA in Journalism/Communications from Loyola University in New Orleans and an MBA in International Trade from Laredo State University (now Texas A&M International University) in Laredo, Texas. Both those degrees are very useful in his job as writer-editor for SourceMex, a weekly newsletter on political and economic issues, published by the Latin America Data Base at the University of New Mexico.  In his spare time Carlos grows chile peppers (and enjoys their byproducts) and rides his mountain bike in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. He is also an avid fan of the New Orleans Saints.

Robin Robin Stephenson is a Field Organizer for the Western Region and is based in Portland, Oregon.  After graduating from UC Berkeley and a career as a contract archeologist, Robin began working at Bread for the World as an organizer with the strong belief that justice requires the voice of the people – speaking loudly and in unison.  When not community organizing, Robin enjoys Portland’s incredible array of happy hour cuisine.  Her favorite things include baseball games on warm nights, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, her kitties and being Goo Goo to her niece and nephew in China.

Blog for Relief

Bread for the World (BFW) posted the following on its website today:

Hurricane Katrina is particularly devastating for hungry and poor people, who are more vulnerable to unexpected emergencies. The high cost of transportation and motels means that some were unable to leave dangerous areas before the hurricane struck. Low-income people may not have financial resources to help them through the recovery period, which will last weeks or months.

Bread for the World's hearts and prayers are with those that have suffered losses from Hurricane Katrina.  Today is Blog for Relief day, a day of blogging to raise funds for people affected by the hurricane. To see a list of organizations that BFW recommends you make a financial contribution to please click here, http://www.bread.org/katrina.htm.

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