Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

29 posts from June 2012

Bread Congratulates Rev. Fred Luter Jr., First African American President of the Southern Baptist Convention

120620-fredluterThe Rev. Fred Luter Jr., a native of New Orleans, LA, and seasoned pastor, is the first African American to have been elected to serve as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the world's largest Baptist denomination and the largest Protestant body in the United States.  Bread for the World joins with all people of faith who serve the Lord Jesus Christ in celebration of his achievement! 

The Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board (NAMB) has demonstrated a strong commitment to addressing the needs of poor and hungry people over its long history. NAMB administers the Domestic Hunger Fund program. Every program dollar is used exclusively to feed the world’s hungry and monies are specifically designated for and distributed to hunger ministries throughout North America. In 2011, more than $1.1 million was provided to 1,100 such hunger ministries. Also, 5.2 million meals were provided with Domestic Hunger Funds and over 30,000 professions of faith were reported through hunger ministries in North America.

Bread for the World is proud to claim Dr.  Bob Terry, president and editor of the Alabama Baptist as a member of Bread’s Board of Directors.  Not too long ago Dr. Terry affirmed that “Bread’s work for the poor and hungry is evidence of the spirit of the lord.” As Rev. Luter steps into his new role, Bread welcomes strong partners within the Southern Baptist Convention.

201200605_DianeFordDessables_12F_8inDiane Ford Dessables coordinates denominational relations at Bread for the World. 

 

 

Photo caption: Press photo of Rev. Fred Luter Jr., from Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, LA.

Africa on the Ground: A Reflection by Rev. Derrick Boykin

In October 2011, Bread for the World hosted a delegation of religious leaders during a visit to three African countries -- Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania -- that are known as SUN countries for their commitment to "scaling up nutrition." The group was able to witness, first-hand, small but mighty successes on the ground. Rev. Derrick Boykin, Bread's associate for African American leadership outreach, was among the group. In this video reflection on his journey, he asks African-Americans to join him in speaking up for Africa.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Donald M. Payne International Food Assistance Improvement Act of 2012. This bipartisan-supported legislation is one of the first bills to highlight the importance of nutrition during the critical 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child's second birthday.

If passed into law, this bill will significantly benefit women and children in developing countries, especially those in Africa. That this legislation was even introduced demonstrates the growing understanding among congressional leaders that good nutrition is critical to improving the lives of poor people around the world.

African countries are also taking nutrition and development into their own hands. An exciting example of this is the growing number of African leaders who recognize the devastating impact of malnutrition during the 1,000-day window. Twenty African countries have committed to turning the tide on malnutrition by joining the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement — a committed effort to reducing malnutrition in the developing world.

 

Racine-tucker-hamiltonRacine Tucker-Hamilton is media relations manager at Bread for the World.

 


Come to the Wild Goose Festival

Come to the Wild Goose Festival – even for just one day. If you are intrigued by the Wild Goose Festival -- which will be held from June 21 to 24 in Shakori Hills, NC, southwest of Chapel Hill -- but can’t take in the whole four days, you can buy tickets for just one day or an evening. 

If you especially want to hear and meet David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, you can come for the day on Saturday, or just the evening.  David will speak at 5:00 p.m.

Or if the Bread-sponsored Concert for Justice appeals to you, Friday evening will be the time. But be prepared to stay up late. The concert kicks off at 10 p.m. Bryan McFarland and Jacob’s Join, along with members of The Collection and Songs of Water, will sing and invite participants to raise their voices to urge their senators and representatives to make ending hunger and poverty a priority.

The price for a single day ticket (9 a.m. to 11:30 pm) is $49 for adults and $39 for students or youth. A single evening pass (4:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.) is $29 for adults and $19 for students or youth.

Visit the Wild Goose Festival website to purchase tickets and for more information.

Michael-smithMichael Smith manages donor relations at Bread for the World.

 


The Agricultural Gold Rush for Africa

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Jane Sabbi, left, is a farmer with 12 acres of land in Kamuli, Uganda and a mother of seven children. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl.

At this year’s G8 Summit, which was chaired by President Obama, the G8 nations committed themselves to maintain this focus on food security and nutrition.  But they put new emphasis on the private sector.    

International investment in Africa is already increasing rapidly.  Ten percent of all the foreign direct investment in the world last year was in Africa.  A score of international companies have worked with political leaders in Africa to develop “Grow Africa,” a framework for international investment in African agriculture.  These companies have committed themselves to invest in African agriculture in ways that increase production, reduce poverty, and also reduce greenhouse gases.

Then last month, the G8 announced a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.  Simultaneously, 45 international companies announced $3 billion in planned investment in Africa.  Three African governments – Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Ghana – committed themselves to new private-sector oriented reforms, and the G8 government said that they will focus some of their increased funding for agricultural development in these and other countries that become part of this New Alliance.

In effect, African governments and G8 governments are jointly committing themselves to facilitate a major expansion of private investment in African agriculture.

There’s a lot we don’t yet know about the New Alliance.  It will be led by a high-level committee of government and private-sector leaders.

But African leaders, certainly Africa’s ambassadors to the United States, have repeatedly said that what they most want from the U.S. government is help in attracting trade and investment, and this initiative is a major new step in this direction.  The planned expansion of investment will presumably also increase trade.

Civil-society groups have important roles to play as this New Alliance takes shape.  Some NGOs can help international companies connect with African farmers in ways that really do contribute to development.  NGOs will also need to monitor the expansion of international investment in Africa.  It can do a lot of good, but it’s also likely to do some harm.

The expansion of international investment in African agriculture is a bit like a gold rush.  World demand for agriculture is expanding rapidly, and sixty percent of all the undeveloped arable land in the world is in Africa.  Africans can benefit from the expansion of private-sector investment in African agriculture, but civil-society groups will need to monitor what’s going on and be active in advocacy. While I believe this effort to facilitate international private-sector investment in agriculture is an opportunity, it is also a risk, and that is why monitoring and advocacy by civil-society groups will be important.

David-beckmannDavid Beckmann is president of Bread for the World. This blog post is taken from remarks that Beckmann made at the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act Civil Society Forum about the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

 

Bread for the World's 2012 Lobby Day

Meet Your Hunger Justice Leaders: Lyle Anderson II

LyleLyle Anderson, II, from Aumsville, OR, is a Hunger Justice Leader and an associate pastor at Tuality Community of Christ and Community of Christ churches. 

Q: What signs of poverty and hunger do you see in your communities?

A: I am an associate pastor and director of worship ministries in the Community of Christ. The church in Salem, OR, is really aware of hunger and poverty and they are engaging. They are trying to provide food for the weekend for kids in schools who otherwise would go without.

Q: Why do you work to advocate for hungry and poor people?

A: Hunger is a part of my own story. Even though I wasn’t necessarily aware of it, my mother’s shared stories from my childhood. As a follower of Christ, it’s just part of my essential calling to embrace the worth of all persons and caring for creation and for people.

Q: What have you learned through the Hunger Justice Leaders training?

A: I learned about the connection across the wide spectrum of Christianity. Despite all the things that divide us, there’s that common awareness and strength that we can be united in reflecting Christ when we work on hunger. I also learned that I’m not the only one who struggles to think about how to best engage our churches. And through our meetings with the White House, I realized that our voice really does have an impact. I learned not to give that up.

Q: Can you share one of the stories that your mom shared with you?

A: When we were children, one of the stories she told is how at times, even with the help of WIC, which was the only thing we had food-wise, we were still struggling financially. At one point, my mother had gone to try to get help from the faith community. A church member came and brought a box full of food and my sister and I were unpacking it and putting things away. My sister was so excited when she saw a gallon of milk that she said, does this mean we can have milk with our cereal again? It was then that the church member saw how bare our cabinets were.

This shows that sometimes you’re not necessarily aware of what the person sitting next to you at church is going through.

Meet Your Lobby Day Participants: Ellen and Al Fisher

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Ellen and Al Fisher from Cedar Rapids, IA, are attending Bread for the World's 2012 Lobby Day.

Q: What brought you to Lobby Day?

Al Fisher (AF): This is our fourth Lobby Day. We came to Lobby Day in 2007, 2009, 2011, and now 2012.

Q: Why do you commit your time and resources to come to Lobby Day?

Ellen Fisher (EF): We both feel strongly that this is a vital part of our faith. I hope to persuade the government to adopt programs to end hunger, and we hope to influence the political process and encourage greater generosity towards the poor.

Q: Are you seeing signs of poverty of hunger in your community in Cedar Rapids?

EF: Our church provides free Sunday night meals and we meet people who come back for four or five servings, and they look to me as people who live on the fringes. 

AF: The unemployment rate is lower than the national average, but there is still a lot of hunger and poverty there. 

Q: What do you hope to tell your members of Congress when you meet with them today?

AF: That they shouldn't cut federal nutrition programs and cut the budget on the backs of the poor. We met with a staffer last year who said that times are tough and everybody's gotta have skin in the game, but it seems unfair that 60 percent of the cuts are coming from programs for the poor.

EF: Right, saying you have to have skin in the game is one thing, but 60 percent of the cuts isn't having skin in the game, it's getting amputated!

Q: Why is hunger an important issue for you?

AF: When we adopted our two kids from South Korea, our son came into the care of the adoption agency and a very nice caring foster family the day after he was born, and then we adopted him. But our daughter had a difficult first 14 months before we adopted her, during which she was very sick and hungry. When we adopted her, at meals, she would eat with food in one hand and food in another hand. She had known hunger, so this is a personal issue for us.

Photo caption: Al Fisher and Ellen Fisher at Bread for the World's Lobby Day on June 12, 2012.

From the Pulpit to the White House! Hunger Justice Leaders Tweet with the Office of Public Engagement

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Hunger Justice Leaders gathered in front of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on June 11, 2012 after meeting with senior White House officials. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World.

After two days of anti-hunger advocacy training, Bread for the World’s Hunger Justice Leaders had an opportunity to engage in a lively discussion this morning with senior-level White House officials during a briefing at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds.

Participants spoke with Joshua Dubois of the Office of Faith Based Initiatives, Martha Coven from the Office of Management and Budget, and Paul Monteiro and Jon Carson from the White House Office of Public Engagement — just to name a few. The Hunger Justice Leaders heard from the administration about President Oabama's approach to ending hunger, and had the chance to test some of their new advocacy skills on high-ranking officials.

After the meeting, several lucky Hunger Justice Leaders continued the discussion as they joined Jon Carson in his office for a live tweet-up from the West Wing!

See the blog post below for some of the tweets from today’s chat, and thanks to the White House, the Hunger Justice Leaders, and all of you who participated to make this day a great success.

Kristen-youngbloodKristen Youngblood Archer is media relations specialist at Bread for the World.


Hunger Justice Leaders Visit the White House to Advocate for Hungry People

Can't Come to Washington, DC for Lobby Day? Participate Virtually!

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During our Lobby Day tomorrow, Bread for the World members will personally deliver petitions to Congress that oppose the view that churches are solely responsible for feeding hungry and poor people. More than 30,000 people of faith signed these petitions.

Even if you can’t join us in person, you can participate in our virtual Lobby Day. Here’s how:

  • Call your members of Congress using our special toll-free number: 1-800-826-3688.
  • Tell them you’re a Bread for the World member.
  • Ask them to create a circle of protection around funding for programs vital for hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world.

Here’s what else you can say:

  • Form a circle of protection around the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) as you work on the farm bill. (The Senate will vote on the farm bill this week, and the House will soon follow).
  • Protect domestic and international anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs by supporting the Senate’s overall discretionary funding level for fiscal year 2013. Members of Congress agreed to this number last summer, and they must stick to this deal to prevent harmful cuts to these programs.
  • Take a comprehensive approach to deficit reduction, including revenues in addition to spending cuts. Without a comprehensive deficit-reduction package that includes revenues, programs for hungry and poor people will face severe cuts.

The timing of your call and our visits to Congress couldn’t be more critical. The budget decisions before Congress this year will severely impact our efforts to end hunger and poverty. Please call Congress today at 1-800-826-3688!

Photo caption: Bread for the World members will be hand-delivering the petitions that Bread members signed to tell Congress that churches cannot be the only ones responsible for feeding poor and hungry people. There were a total of 34,555 signatures. Photo by Matt Newell-Ching.

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