Faith Leaders Bring 'Loaves and Fishes' to Congress
Faith leaders including (l to r) Rabbi Kimelman-Block of Bend the Arc; Bishop Don Williams of Bread for the World; Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness; Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK Lobby, and Jennifer Butler of Faith in Public Life, at a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol for the Loaves and Fishes Day of Action. (Nina Keehan/Bread for the World)
By Nina Keehan
Yesterday, faith leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., and in 13 states across America, for a “Loaves and Fishes” day of action. The effort emphasized the need for Americans to demand that their political leaders protect hungry and poor people during federal budget negotiations.
In a country that’s blessed with abundance, the faith leaders argued that what America really needs is not more food for the hungry, but a budget that doesn’t ignore the most vulnerable citizens. The event culminated in activists delivering baskets containing loaves of bread and fish to lawmakers on Capitol Hill and to local offices of members of Congress around the country.
“We are standing here to tell our elected officials that there is enough food to go around if we share,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, during the D.C. press conference kicking off the action. “Sharing is the way forward.”
Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness, emphasized the importance of pushing for a budget that considers all Americans, not just the rich. "How can we declare that the haves in America should have more while the have-nots should have less? We are better people than that."
Bread for the World’s Bishop Don Williams, associate for racial-ethnic outreach, stated the importance of looking out for others. “We live in something called the ‘real world,’” he said. “For some people that means living in a real nightmare. Fifty million people live in poverty and hunger. And we can spout numbers all day, but behind each one of those numbers is a face and a family.”
As the Biblical story goes, Jesus was able to feed five thousand with just five loaves and two fish—a miracle. Yet feeding everyone hungry in America doesn't require a miracle, just a mandate.
Nina Keehan, a media relations intern at Bread for the World, is a senior magazine journalism and public health dual major at Syracuse University.
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