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Hunger Can't Wait in the Wake of a Storm
Emergency relief supplies flown into the airport in Tacloban City in the Philippines are trucked to a nearby warehouse to be sorted. From here, the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development, the lead local agency in charge charge of aid distribution, gets the commodities out to affected municipalities. (USAID photo/Carol Han, OFDA)
By Ryan Quinn
Generosity and compassion are Christian values exemplified in our willingness to respond to people who cry out in need. Often people in need are those caught in disasters. It takes only a moment for a disaster to happen, but it takes weeks and months for help to arrive. Hunger can’t wait.
American generosity through food aid has saved billions of people since the 1950s, but it’s time to update policies to respond to a changing world.
People who survived Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines or who are displaced because of the war in Syria desperately need the life-saving assistance of food aid, but outdated laws make it more difficult for it to arrive quickly. There is an opportunity to change those laws in the farm bill being negotiated now. But Congress needs to hear from you.
Currently, American food aid products must come from the United States and be shipped on U.S. vessels. This practice can add to program costs and delay the arrival of food aid up to six months when compared to local purchases. Instead of being used to fight hunger, funds get caught up in overhead costs and fees.
We must do better.
You can make a difference in helping to feed millions more people like those in the Philippines or Syria. Tell Congress that hungry people can’t wait — that food aid must be reformed in the farm bill today.
As you do your last-minute grocery shopping for Thanksgiving and gather around your table to celebrate the holiday, I encourage you to remember people who are hungry around the world by praying this prayer: God, empower us and inspire our leaders to fill the hungry with good things.
Use Bread’s toll-free number — 800-826-3688 — to call, or email your members of Congress, and urge them to do the right thing and lift the unnecessary restrictions on U.S. food aid.
Ryan Quinn is a senior policy analyst at Bread for the World.
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