Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

10 posts from April 2006

Action Alert: $5 billion for 2007

Please call your senators and representative during the week of April 24 at 1-800-826-3688. Urge them to increase poverty-focused development assistance by $5 billion for 2007.

[Note: This special, toll-free number will go directly to the Capitol switchboard, where you will ask to be connected to your member’s office in order to leave your message.]


Why are we asking for an additional $5 billion for poverty focused development assistance?

Continue reading "Action Alert: $5 billion for 2007" »

Have You Plugged Bread On Talk Radio Today?

Has your Professor?!  A big shout-out and plug for Dr. Jon Singletary, Bread for the World superactivist and Professor of Social Work at Baylor University here in Texas.  Listen here for his interview on "Mornings with Scott and Lorri", from a Christian radio station owned by the Southern Baptist Convention.  You can even download the mp3 and take it with you on your iPod - it's the perfect length for a walk to class!  He talks about Bread for the World, the ONE Campaign, how they're related, and how big a difference writing a few letters to Congress can make!  Way to go Jon!

Easter Vida

Rebecca J. Vander Meulen
16 April 2006, Easter
Lichinga, Mozambique

We live in a Lenten world of death and suffering.  But in the midst of AIDS’ Lenten character, there are glimmers of Easter, of life emerging amidst death. 

Last week we held a large diocesan-wide gathering that was part-celebration, part-conference, and part-training.  As I’ve probably mentioned before, after some cynical priests referred to us as the “group of death,” we formally changed our name from the “Equipas da SIDA” (AIDS teams) to the “Equipas da Vida” (Life teams).  Our goal is to promote life, not AIDS.  And not just survival, but real, deep, abundant life.  Life in the body, life in the spirit, life in community.  In preaching life, we long to reflect and channel God to one another—God who is not only the author of life, but also the author of NEW life.  This is our challenge, this is our calling, and this is our passion.  Beautiful life-filled stories were told and created during our conference.  I share here a few. 

At any conference or workshop I coordinate, I habitually ask if there is any congregation in which someone is living openly with HIV.  The question starts conversation on stigma, shame, and community, but until this most recent conference I’ve never had a “yes” response.  Last week, five or six people said that others were openly living with HIV in their congregations. Bit by bit, the silence is breaking.

Continue reading "Easter Vida" »

Happy Easter!


Experience of a Lifetime!

NY Times recently launced a "contest" to win a trip to Africa with Nick Kristof.  It looks like an incredible opportunity!  Be sure to check it out and consider applying for the experience of a lifetime.

Read a letter from Nick Kristof to learn more about what he's looking for:

"I'm looking for a masochist. If your dream trip doesn't involve a five-star hotel in Rome or Bora-Bora, but a bedbug-infested mattress in a malarial jungle as hungry jackals yelp outside - then read on.

"Over the next month, I'll be holding a contest to find a university student to accompany me on a reporting trip to the developing world. I'm not sure where yet, and that will depend partly on what's in the news at the time. But to give you a sense of the kind of travel I'm thinking of, the possibilities include a jaunt through rural Burundi and Rwanda in central Africa, or an odyssey from the coast of Cameroon inland to the heart of the Central African Republic …"

Observe, don't engage???

Several years ago, one of our fabulous DC museums was doing a special exhibit/display on the photographs of Pulitzer Prize winners over the years.  It was one of the most incredible exhibits I'd been to.  There was one amazing photo after another.  There were descriptions about the context for the photos and sometimes a report on how the photo affected the photographer's life.  The one that stood out the most for me was one shot in Sudan during a famine with a child dying of starvation and a vulture waiting nearby.

At the time, the photographer, Kevin Carter, did nothing to help the little girl.  He shot the girl and walked away.  Later in life he committed suicide because of this.  He received so much backlash for not helping the girl.  He didn't help because of an ongoing policy amoung reporters that they should not engage with their story.

The Christian Science Monitor had an interesting article about this topic, Western reporters in Africa struggle over when to help.  It talks about this traditional tenet of journalism, "Observe, don't engage."  Many Western reporters, especially when traveling to very poor areas like countries in Africa, are now struggling whether this policy makes sense.  The article quotes a journalism ethics leader, Kelly McBride who says:

"If you operate under real strict boundaries that you absolutely can't help anyone, you create this crisis of conscience that will drive good reporters from the business," she says, adding, "I don't think you have to separate being human from being a reporter."

I found this article very thought provoking.  I have heard similar dilemmas occurring with development workers.  Do you loan or give money to people you work or interact with while serving in a developing country or will that open a can of worms that leads to everyone asking you for loans?  Does that matter?  What is our responsibility as people of great wealth (comparatively)?  These are just questions that I think are really interesting and have different answers for different people.  I enjoyed reading about the debate within the journalism world.

Continue reading "Observe, don't engage???" »


DEFINITELY check out the trailer for this upcoming documentary:


It was made by the uncle of a good college friend of mine who also lives here in Austin, and that trailer gives me chills of excitement!


I wish I had seen it when it premiered at the SXSW festival here a couple weeks back, but it looks like more screenings are on the horizon - and may be near you too!  If not, you can probably host your own, and then hold a discussion afterwards!  Is there a Bread group or ONE group on your campus?  A group with similar leanings looking for something to dialogue and wrestle with like this?

I'm truly excited to see 'Nobelity', and once I do I'll hopefully find the time to get a review up here as well!  Thoughts/reactions to the trailer?  Have you actually seen the movie already?  What did you think?!?

Film Your Issue

Wouldn't it be great if the winning entry would be on HUNGER???

Check out this "unprecedented issue film competition," FILM YOUR ISSUE.  It's open to 18-26 year olds.  This competition provides young people the opportunity to bring their voice to the table through a 30-to-60 second film.  To learn more details about this competition, what they're looking for, and the prize connected with it, check out Film Your Issue.  You can also read open letters from George Clooney and the Dali Lama about why you should participate in this competition!

I think this film copetition would be a great way for us to show that overcoming hunger and poverty is THE issue for our generation!

It won't happen again until 3006

Unrelated to the work of Bread for the World, but here's a fun, random fact for you!

On Wednesday of this week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.  That won't happen again until 3006.

UK's Plan to End Childhood Poverty

There was an interesting op-ed in today's Washington Post on the UK's plan to end childhood poverty.  Their initiative, started in 1999 has already reduced childhood poverty by 17%.  How?  By doing simple things like boosting the incomes of working parents! Do you think it's feasible for the U.S. to create a similar plan? This op-ed argues it's possible.

My favorite quote:

As we learned in our meetings with those whose job it is to hit these goals, opponents initially warned that investing significant national resources in ending child poverty was incompatible with global competition. We asked one politician about this. His response: "How can the U.K. compete globally if a third of our children grow up poor?"

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