Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

Rep. Dave Camp: Food is a Basic Need

111012_davecamp[Editors’ note: For the next few weeks, we’ll be running a series of posts on Bread Blog about each member of the Super Committee. If you live in Rep. Dave Camp’s district (4th/MI), please share this blog post with your family and friends, and message Rep. Camp on his Facebook page or through Twitter.]

In Michigan’s 4th district, Kathy Smith, 68, works at her church’s food pantry to help ease the hunger and poverty that affects so many people in the area. In this congressional district, more than one in six people, including one in five children, lives below the poverty line (set at $22,113 for a family of four).

“We feed about 350 families a month, and we also have a community café, which provides a nice, hot meal once a week,” Smith says. As a longtime volunteer and advocate for poor and hungry people, Smith has seen how hunger has affected her community. “In recent years we’re finding more people who are employed, but are not making a living wage. They’re underemployed. And we’re also finding older people who never come to pantries, now coming.”

Indeed, what Smith regularly witnesses supports recent government reports that show that while 40.8 percent of people in poverty in Michigan’s 4th district had a job in 2010, they still could not make ends meet.

The district is represented in Congress by Dave Camp (R-MI), who currently serves on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (or Super Committee). The committee must identify at least $1.2 trillion in federal deficit reductions over 10 years by November 23, 2011. Everything is on the table: the committee can raise taxes, make spending cuts, let tax cuts for wealthy Americans expire, or make changes to anything else in the federal budget.

In light of Michigan’s dire statistics, and the stories of working people who are hungry and living in poverty, it is imperative that Rep. Dave Camp and the entire Super Committee protect programs that are vital to people like those who are struggling in his district.  

For Kathy Smith, the choice is simple: Hungry people deserve the priority. “I just think if people are hungry, that’s pretty basic. Food is a basic need. I can’t imagine being hungry, so it’s something that I’m involved in, and that’s where I hang my hat,” Smith says.

Please join Bread in asking Rep. Camp to form a circle of protection around programs vital to hungry and poor people in Michigan, throughout the country, and around the world. Call Rep. Camp at 1-800-826-3688 today.

Official Photo of Rep. Dave Camp.

 

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Comments

I can't believe it! 20% of the children in Michigan's 4th district live in families that are trying to exist on incomes below the poverty level. Instead of drawing a circle of protection around the wealthiest among us, the Super Committee needs to insure that the least are nurtured to become the voters of the future.

I'm currently a student at Central Michigan University, and have had the opportunity to do some volunteering in the Mt. Pleasant area during my time here. One group that I particularly enjoy working with is the Community Compassion Network, which sponsors a local "Food Truck". Basically, these events are held twice monthly, and a semi-truck full of groceries is brought to a local church or non-profit agency and given to people who are in need. Every time I go I am amazed at how many people show up, needing food. People begin lining up at 3:00 in the morning just so that they can be sure to get some food. Although I can't remember exact numbers, I believe that at the last food truck event that I volunteered at, over 400 individuals were served. It amazes me that in a town like Mt. Pleasant that appears to be pretty 'well off', there are still so many who can't make ends meet. These people are working hard and doing the best they can, but in today's economic climate, it is a struggle just to put food on the table for some. I truly hope that Representative Camp will think of these people in his own district, as he helps to make these big decisions affecting the entire nation.

I couldn't agree more. Food is truly a basic need. When people run out of food, they begin to do just about anything just so they could survive. Which is why the government should avoid their citizens to be in such situation. - Science Summer Camp

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