Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

From a Local Pastor: 'Making Hungry People Hungrier is Unacceptable'

120515-revdaveHave you ever been hungry? I mean, really hungry? As in no-food-in-the-house-and-no-resources-for-getting-more hungry?

I haven’t. Oh, sure, there’ve been some months when expenses were bigger than income and I didn’t know how to pay some bills. But I’ve always had support -- financial and otherwise -- from my family when needed.

We all know that’s not the case for everyone. Right now:

  • 48.8 million Americans are at risk of hunger.
  • 15 percent of Americans -- including more than one-in-five children -- live in poverty.

Tragically, the House recently passed a budget that could make more Americans hungry.

This is unacceptable to me.

And this is why the church I serve, Woodridge United Methodist, recently sent 100 letters to Senator Mark Kirk and Senator Dick Durbin urging them create a circle of protection around domestic nutrition programs vital to hungry and poor Americans -- programs such as SNAP and WIC.

I signed Bread’s petition urging Congress not to cut SNAP for the same reason: Deliberately making more people hungry -- and making already hungry people even hungrier -- is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to me as a father, as a pastor, as a Christian, and as a human being, and I need my members of Congress to know that.

So Senator Durbin, Senator Kirk, and Representative Judy Biggert will see my name on Bread’s petition, and I hope your members of Congress will see your name as well. (Sign the petition here.)

To make up the gap created by those proposed cuts to SNAP churches and charities would need to do everything they’re currently doing to fight hunger ... and come up with an average of an additional $50,000 each year!

$50,000!? I know our church does not have that kind of spare change sitting around, and I know that our friends at the West Suburban Community Pantry have already seen demand for their services increase sharply -- from serving 750 families per month to 1200. The pantry does incredible work in our community, feeding more than 35,000 people last year, including more than 15,000 children. They are maxed out too.

I agree that budget deficits, especially at our current level, are unsustainable. But reducing our deficit by making hungry people hungrier is immoral.

The biblical witness is clear: As followers of God in the way of Jesus we are called to protect hungry and vulnerable people. We are called to speak with them. Signing this petition is a terrific, and, let’s be honest, easy way to do exactly that.

Photo caption: Rev. Dave Buerstetta dedicates letters written during an Offering of Letters on April 22, 2012, at Woodridge United Methodist Church in Woodridge, IL. 

Rev. Dave Buerstetta is Koinonia Pastor at Woodridge United Methodist Church, Woodridge, IL. Follow him on Twitter @davebuer. He also blogs occasionally at All That I Can’t Leave Unsaid.

+Learn more about budget proposals and Bread's online petition telling Congress that churches can’t be the only ones responsible for feeding hungry people, on Thursday, May 17.  Join Bread National Grassroots Conference Call and Webinar and hear more from Rev. Dave Buerstetta, the organizing staff, and one of our government relations policy analysts. Follow the webinar on Twitter with the hashtag #breadweb.


« Caring for Poor People: Should the Church Do It Alone? Hunger QOTD: Martin Luther King Jr. »


How do I respond to those who say that with lower taxes church members will become flushed with wealth that they will then freely share?

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