Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

32 posts from May 2012

Happy Mother's Day to Mothers Around the World

What would we do without our moms to comfort us, guide us and love us? Here's to all mothers around the world -- including mine. Happy Mother's Day!

Photo 1 - Mother and child in Haiti: A mother and child sit in a meeting with Fonkoze, a micro-finance institution in Debriga, Haiti. Mothers brought their children to receive Vitamin A capsules on Wednesday, October 13, 2010. Nicole Cesar Muller led the discussion and gave the babies the vitamins, which were donated by Vitamin Angels. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World

Photo 2 - Alli and André: Alli Morris, from Bend, OR, depends on SNAP, WIC, and other domestic feeding programs to care for her son André, who lives with a serious medical condition that affects his hormonal system. Photo by Brad Horn

Photo 3 - Neelum and Shuvam: Neelum Chand carries her son, Shuvam, 1, through the Nutrition Rehabilitation Home (NRH) in Dhangadhi, Nepal, after lunch on Sunday, April 29, 2012. The NRH, a project of the Rural Women's Development and Unity Centre, a Nepali NGO, works to restore malnourished children to health. Forty-one percent of Nepali children under age 5 are short for their age (stunted), according to the preliminary 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, and stunting is an indicator of malnutrition. Ensuring children are properly nourished in the 1,000 days between pregnancy and age 2 is vital to a child's development. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World

Photo 4 - Guatemalan mother and daughter. Photo by Margaret W. Nea.

Photo 5 - Tohomina and Adia: Tohomina Akter bathes her daughter Adia, 17 months, at the neighborhood well in Char Baria village, Barisal, Bangladesh, on Thursday, April 19, 2012. Tohomina participates in a maternal and infant nutrition program called Nobo Jibon run in part by Hellen Keller International. The program stresses proper nutrition in the 1,000 days between pregnancy to age 2, with an emphasis on breastfeeding and cultivating home gardens. The goal is to encourage social and behavior change and prevent stunting in children. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World

Photo 6 - Sharmila and Sanjana: Sharmila Chaudhari feeds her daughter Sanjana, 19 months, at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Home in Dhangadhi, Nepal, on Sunday, April 29, 2012. This Nutrition Rehabilitation Home (NRH) in the western part of the country is run by an NGO in Nepal called the Rural Women's Development and Unity Centre (RUWDUC). Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World.

Photo 7 - Janaki and Binti: Janaki Rana, 20, poses with her daughter, Binti Rana, 2, in Dhangadhi, Nepal, on Sunday, April 29, 2012. Janaki and Binti were once residents at the NRH in Dhangadhi, which is run by RUWDUC. Children and their mothers receive three follow-up visits after they leave the NRH. Photo by Molly Marsh/Bread for the World

Photo 8 - Mother and daughter in the United States: A mother and daughter enjoy a block party in Washington, DC. Photo by Crista Friedli/Bread for the World.

Photo 9 - Catherine and Laura: Laura Elizabeth Pohl, Bread's multimedia manager, at church with her mom, Catherine, in Newport News, VA. Photo courtesy of Laura Elizabeth Pohl.

Laura-pohlLaura Elizabeth Pohl is multimedia manager at Bread for the World. You can follow her on Twitter at @lauraepohl.

 


The Most Effective Person in Washington? You.

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On Lobby Day on June 14, 2011 during Bread for the World's National Gathering, Lobby Day participants Cecilia Wangeci (in white sweater) and Kimberly Burge (in black sweater) met with Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY-02). They urged him to provide a circle of protection around programs that affected low-income people in the U.S. and overseas during talks about budget cuts. Photo by Jim Stipe.

Recent studies show that personal visits to members of Congress are the most effective way of influencing their decisions. Well, we need your help.

The dramatic cuts of $169 billion to SNAP proposed this year in the U.S. House of Representatives would have a devastating impact on all of our congregations’ efforts to address increasing need.

Every church across America would need to come up with, on average, an extra $50,000 dedicated to feeding people — every year for the next 10 years — to make up for these cuts.

Don't get us wrong. We firmly believe in reducing the deficit and balancing the budget. But we also believe it should not be done on the backs of those who can least afford it. Congress must protect and strengthen programs in our federal budget that help hungry and poor people at home and around the world.

Can we count on you to personally discuss this with your member of Congress during Bread for the World's Lobby Day on June 12

Register here for Lobby Day.

Help us convince Congress to protect funding for programs needed by low-income people in the United States and for foreign assistance that is focused on reducing poverty.

David-beckmannDavid Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

 

 

Celebrating 50 Years of Service: The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee

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(From left to right) Peter Vander Muelen, Office of Social Justice at the Christian Reformed Church in North America; David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World; Andrew Ryskamp, director of Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC); and Ida Kaastra Mutoigo, director of CRWRC Canada gathered in Grand Rapids, MI, to celebrate CRWRC's 50th anniversary on Friday, May 4, 2012. Photo by Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy.

While Bread for the World’s niche is Christian policy advocacy, we often partner with dozens of church entities that respond to global poverty with relief and development programs and ministries. Organizations such as Catholic Relief Services (CRS), United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), and Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) operate as the “official development arms” of the national church bodies reflected in their names. The on-the-ground wisdom and best development practices of these organizations inform Bread’s policy advocacy analysis and policy platforms about what works.

This past Friday evening, Bread for the World had the honor of celebrating the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee in Grand Rapids, MI. The Christian Reformed Church, with about 280,000 members in the United States and Canada, and its relief arm, CRWRC, with an impressive budget of about $40 million, celebrated its five decades of work in 86 countries.

Along with tens of thousands of Christian activists and thousands of congregations, relief and development organizations help to strengthen Bread’s “collective Christian voice to end hunger.”  It was an honor for Bread’s president David Beckmann to reflect with CRWRC staff, board, and donors and consider the unique contributions CRWRC made in the life of Bread for the World.

CRWRC is a partner of the Alliance to End Hunger. Also, the Christian Reformed Church has faithfully supported Bread’s Hunger Report for the last 20 years. 

Andy Ryskamp, CRWRC’s executive director in the U.S., has been closely involved with two of Bread’s more recent high-profile religious-leader events aimed to engage influential evangelicals in foreign assistance reform: the evangelical consultation hosted at Wheaton College 2010 and its predecessor consultation hosted by Dallas Baptist University in 2011.  Ryskamp’s involvement in these initiatives helped attract other CEO’s from evangelical development organizations to participate in these events and to articulate why evangelical Christians should engage in advocacy, especially around U.S. foreign assistance.

CRWRC will change its name to World Renew this summer to reflect the wider reach of its relief and development ministries across the globe.

CRWRC’s commitment to local leadership, capacity building, empowerment, collaboration, and integral mission has impacted thousands of communities around the world. These aspects of CRWRC’s development work shape the kinds of effective development programming and policies that Bread for the World advocates for stateside.

Thank you for you partnership CRWRC.  Happy 50th anniversary!

Krisanne-vaillancourt-murphyKrisanne Vaillancourt Murphy coordinates evangelical church relations at Bread for the World.

 

Church Women United and Bread for the World Sponsor a Mother’s Day Webinar

120508-womenoffaithIn the last year, Bread for the World has partnered with many denominational women’s organizations in the 1,000 Days movement, aimed at improving nutrition for women and children in the 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday. In honor of mother’s day, Church Women United and Bread for the World are co-sponsoring a webinar to teach women (or anyone, really) about the 1,000 Conversations initiative, in which individuals and groups are pledging to have 1,000 conversations in 1,000 days about maternal and child nutrition. (Join our Women of Faith for 1,000 Days Facebook page.)

Improving nutrition in the 1,000-day period between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday is a unique opportunity to shape a healthier, more prosperous future for children. Proper nutrition during this time has a profound and lasting impact on a child’s growth, learning, and eventual economic productivity. Mitigating or overcoming malnutrition in young girls can “break the cycle” so that they enjoy better health and grow into women who have healthier babies.

The webinar will share more information about nutrition, background information on the movement, and how to have conversations with your friends, family, church, and your Senators and Congresspersons. We hope that you will join the webinar on Thursday, May 10 at 7 p.m. (EST) and invite the mothers in your life to join. Register here and we will send you information about how to log in.

Nancy-nealNancy Neal is associate for denominational women's organization relations at Bread for the World.

 

Photo caption: A Zambian mother and daughter. Photo by Margaret W. Nea.

Hunger QOTD: Rep. Jackie Speier

120508-motherchild"If we’re being honest about the millions of Americans who are hurting in our economy and just trying to put food on the table, then there is no question, funding for SNAP needs to be preserved."

-Rep. Jackie Speier,  D-CA

Photo caption: Mother and daughter enjoy a block party in Washington, DC. Photo by Crista Friedli/Bread for the World.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell Your Representative to Vote NO on the House Reconciliation Bill

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Marie Crise is able to use her SNAP benefits to purchase fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables at the Abingdon Farmers Market in Abingdon, VA. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl.

We need your voice  today! Congress has been proposing more cuts to programs vital to hungry and poor people. The latest is a vote that the House of Representatives will take soon on additional cuts to SNAP and Child Tax CreditsCall your member of the U.S. House of Representatives today using 1-800-326-4941 and tell them to VOTE NO on the reconciliation bill. Call now or at least, no later than Thursday, May 10.  

The House of Representatives is using a legislative process known as reconciliation for the FY 2013 budget. (Reconciliation reduces the federal deficit by changing mandatory programs such as SNAP. It instructs authorizing committees in Congress to change eligibility requirements or benefit levels to save money.)

This reconciliation bill, which the House of Representatives is about to vote on, will have a devastating impacts on hungry and poor people. Please call your representative now at 1-800-326-4941 and tell them to VOTE NO on the reconciliation bill.

Here are the basic talking points:

  • Don’t balance the budget by cutting programs for hungry and poor people.

If you have more time, you can also use the following points to expand your message:

  • Cutting programs that serve poor and vulnerable populations is not the way to reduce our deficits. Congress must take a balanced approach that maintains our commitment to serving those in need. Form a circle of protection around funding for programs for hungry and poor people.
  • SNAP efficiently and effectively delivers food assistance to the neediest individuals and families. A recent study confirms that SNAP not only lifts families out of poverty, but also alleviates the depth and severity of poverty.
  • The House proposed cuts to SNAP are tantamount to saying that every religious congregation across the United States needs to come up with an estimated extra $50,000 a year for the next 10 years to make up the difference.
  • Food banks have seen a nearly 50 percent increase in demand since 2006. Any cuts to nutrition programs will put an even greater strain on charities and churches providing emergency food assistance.
  • A parent with two kids working full-time at minimum wage in our country doesn’t earn enough to keep the family above the poverty line. Refundable tax credits, like the Child Tax Credit, boost earnings so working parents don’t have to raise their children in poverty.
  • The bill proposes to cut state funding for services that play a critical role in preventing child abuse, increasing the availability of child care, and providing community-based care for elderly and disabled individuals. In 2009, just some of these funds provided adult protective services for well over 500,000 seniors.

Every time Congress proposes these types of harmful cuts to programs for hungry and poor people, we must loudly oppose it. These types of cuts are unacceptable. We need to continue to put the pressure on the House of Representatives.  So please call today.  

Call your representative at 1-800-326-4941 and tell him or her to VOTE NO on the reconciliation bill today!

David-beckmannDavid Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

 

 

Blog version (Posting by David)

 

 

 

We need your voice  today! Congress has been proposing more cuts to programs vital to hungry and poor people. The latest is a vote that the House of Representatives will take soon on additional cuts to SNAP <link to mini-campaign site> and Child Tax Credits <link to mini-campaign site>.  Call your member of the U.S. House of Representatives today using 1-800-326-4941 and tell them to VOTE NO on the reconciliation bill. Call now or at least, no later than Thursday, May 10.  

 

The House of Representatives is using a legislative process known as reconciliation for the FY 2013 budget. (Reconciliation reduces the federal deficit by changing the funding of mandatory programs such as SNAP. It instructs authorizing committees in Congress to change eligibility requirements or benefit levels to save money.)

 

This reconciliation bill, which the House of Representatives is about to vote on, will have a devastating impacts on hungry and poor people. You need to call your representative now at 1-800-326-4941 and tell them to VOTE NO on the reconciliation bill.-

 

Here are the basic talking points:

 

§  Don’t balance the budget by cutting programs for hungry and poor people.

 

§  SNAP is a lifeline for 46 million vulnerable Americans <link to domestic nutrition mini-campaign> struggling to put food on the table. Eighty-five percent of SNAP benefits go to families with children, elderly or disabled people.

 

§  The Child Tax Credit effectively lifts millions of children and families out of poverty <link to tax policy mini-campaign>every year. In 2010, the Child Tax Credit lifted 1.3 million children out of poverty.

 

 

If you have more time, you can also use the following points to expand your message:

 

·         Cutting programs that serve poor and vulnerable populations is not the way to reduce our deficits. Congress must take a balanced approach that maintains our commitment to serving those in need. Form a circle of protection around funding for programs for hungry and poor people.

 

·         SNAP efficiently and effectively delivers food assistance to the neediest individuals and families. A recent study confirms that SNAP not only lifts families out of poverty, but also alleviates the depth and severity of poverty.

 

·         The House proposed cuts to SNAP are tantamount to saying that every religious congregation across the United States needs to come up with an estimated extra $50,000 a year for the next 10 years to make up the difference.

 

·         Food banks have seen a nearly 50 percent increase in demand since 2006. Any cuts to nutrition programs will put an even greater strain on charities and churches providing emergency food assistance.

 

  • A parent with two kids working full-time at minimum wage in our country doesn’t earn enough to keep the family above the poverty line. Refundable tax credits, like the Child Tax Credit, boost earnings so working parents don’t have to raise their children in poverty.

 

  • The bill proposes to cut state funding for services that play a critical role in preventing child abuse, increasing the availability of child care, and providing community-based care for elderly and disabled individuals. In 2009, just some of these funds provided adult protective services for well over 500,000 seniors.

 

Every time Congress proposes these types of harmful cuts to programs for hungry and poor people, we must loudly oppose it. These types of cuts are unacceptable. We need to continue to put the pressure on the House of Representatives.  So please call today.  

 

 

Call your representative at 1-800-326-4941 and tell him or her to VOTE NO on the reconciliation bill today!

Gaping Holes in the Safety Net in New Mexico

120503-newmexico
A migrant worker piles cucumbers in Blackwater, Virginia, on the farm of Ricky Horton and Sherilyn Shepard on Monday, July 25, 2011. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World.

[This blog post originally appeared on Bread New Mexico.]

Some politicians in Washington are talking about reducing the budget deficit by cutting big holes in our safety net.  So what happens if Congress gets its way and many eligible people are dropped from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps)?  And as an activist in New Mexico, I wonder, how would this affect New Mexicans? It turns out that a significant percent of New Mexicans are experiencing food insecurity, which, according to the USDA, means a lack of access to enough food for an active healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate food.

Food insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time. Food insecurity may reflect a household's need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.

In Luna County (Deming), food insecurity is a whopping 28.5 percent. And in neighboring Grant County (and Silver City),  where food insecurity is 20 percent.  The rate is close to  18 percent in Catron County and Hidalgo County. Food insecurity is high in southwestern New Mexico.  And it does not get any better as you go east.  The 18 percent rate applies to Sierra, Doña Ana (Las Cruces), Otero Counties.  So we can say food insecurity is high in southern New Mexico.  

But wait a minute. Guadalupe County (Santa Rosa) in eastern New Mexico also has a food insecurity rate of 20 percent, and McKinley county (Gallup) almost 23 percent. And in San Miguel (Las Vegas), Taos, and San Juan (Farmington) Counties, the rate is at about  18 percent.  The rate is only slightly better in Bernalillo County at 16 percent and in Santa Fe County at about 15 percent.  In fact,  the only county in New Mexico where food insecurity is not above 14 percent is Los Alamos County, home to the city in the U.S. with the most millionaires per capita. (Even so, Los Alamos County has a food insecurity rate of 9 percent).

These percentages come from the Map the Meal Gap project conducted by Feeding America, an organization that supports a nationwide network of food banks, including Roadrunner Food Bank.  The map reflects 2009 and 2010 data for every county in the United States, including child food insecurity.  The map will be updated every year with new data.

So how are we to address these dire needs during a time of economic slowdown? Please ask our elected representatives in Washington and Santa Fe and those who seek to represent us to strengthen, not reduce, the safety net. 

Carlos-navarroCarlos Navarro is an activist with Bread for the World based in New Mexico. He blogs at Bread New Mexcio.

 

+Sign a petition against cuts to SNAP!

Hunger QOTD: Carrie Chapman Catt

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A Haitian child collects water in a camp for displaced people in Cité de Dieu, Port-au-Prince. UN Photo/UNICEF/Marco Dormino.

"To the wrongs that need resistance, to the right that needs assistance, to the future in the distance, give yourselves."

--Carrie Chapman Catt, women's suffrage leader

Update: Federal Nutrition Programs Continue to be a Target for Cuts


120503-congressionalupdateFederal nutrition programs have continued to be targeted for cuts this Congress.

In March, the House of Representatives voted on a budget resolution that cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) by $133.5 billion – nearly 20 percent over 10 years – and recommended turning the program into a block grant. Today, SNAP automatically covers all eligible families, responding as need rises and falls. Under a block grant, SNAP would give a set amount of money to states every year, which would limit the state’s ability to respond quickly to increases in need.

In addition to the House passed budget cuts, the House Agriculture Committee was instructed to find $33.2 billion in savings from agriculture programs by April 27. They found $36 billion in cuts solely from SNAP. If enacted, this proposal would kick approximately 2 million people off the program, reduce monthly benefits for all participants, and most certainly increase hunger and poverty.

On the Senate side, the Senate Agriculture Committee continued efforts this spring to renew the farm bill. The farm bill, which governs federal farm and food policy – including SNAP – presents an opportunity to continue, alter, or discontinue federal farm and nutrition programs. As the largest share of agricultural spending, SNAP has been targeted for cuts in this process. The Senate version of the Farm Bill – the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 – was passed out of committee by a bipartisan vote of 16-5 on April 26. It included $4.3 billion in cuts to nutrition programs. This cut would lead to a drop in SNAP benefits for at least 500,000 SNAP households in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

The House Agriculture Committee continues with farm bill hearings in preparation for releasing their own bill this year. SNAP is expected to continue being targeted for cuts.

Furthermore, the House and Senate Appropriations Committee have begun work on their annual spending bills. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is funded through this process. While the Senate Appropriations Committee has provided WIC with $7.041 billion – enough to cover current and projected caseload – this is only the first step in the funding process. As Congress continues searching for savings, WIC remains at risk.

 Photo caption: (From left) Kate Hagen, Beth and John Lepinski, Laura Gerstl, Todd Post prepare to visit Congressional representatives during Lobby Day at Bread for the World's Gathering 2011 Tuesday, June 14. Photo by William Johnson.

Christine-melendez-ashleyChristine Meléndez Ashley is policy analyst at Bread for the World.

 

 

+Tell your member of Congress to protect funding for programs that help poor and hungry people!

$50,000 Per Church Would Devastate Us

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Photo by Flickr user silent shot

The dramatic cuts of $169 billion to SNAP proposed this year in the U.S. House would have a devastating impact on all of our congregations’ efforts to address increasing need. 

Every church across America would need to come up with, on average, an extra $50,000 dedicated to feeding people — every year for the next 10 years — to make up for these cuts.

Sign our petition now to say feeding hungry people is not the sole responsibility of churches.  Here’s what a few people who have already signed the petition shared with us:

  • “My church is situated in a community of high need in Los Angeles County. Our church's Food Pantry already serves over 400 people per week out of a garage. We are already at the breaking point! The need is real and raw. We absolutely cannot do this without the help of our elected leaders!”
        — Daniel in Bellflower, CA
  • “Our area churches are already collecting and handing out food in massive amounts simply to SUPPLEMENT those on SNAP and yet the shelves run empty time and time again. This is not a time for cutting programs that affect our most vulnerable, but a time to stand in solidarity with them.”
        — Katherine in Arlington, VA
  • "2,000 folks per month pass through one of our ministries in Gary, IN, homeless and without food. This would be devastating both to them and to us. We are barely making it now.”
        — Bob in Donaldson, IN

We have to tell Congress — and tell them again and again — that they must create a circle of protection around programs that are vital to hungry and poor people. And then we must pray hard that they will listen to their conscience as upright, moral persons of faith.

Thank you for your voice!

Margaret-mary-kimminsMargaret M. Kimmins, OSF is a Catholic Sister working at Bread for the World, and president of the Franciscan Action Network.

 

+Tell Congress to protect funding for programs such as SNAP. Sign the petition today!

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