The Talk of the Town: Reforming U.S. Food Aid
Catarina Pascual Jimenez (center) feeds her two twins. Catarina works odd jobs such as washing clothes and menial labor in order to earn a few Quatzales (Guatemalen currency). She is the mother of four. She and the children were abandoned by her husband which left her and the children without income. She manages to feed her children through small rations provided by a USAID program designed to help mothers and children. (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World)
By Rev. David Beckmann
Letters have already started arriving in our nation's capital. These letters, written and prayed over by people like you, ask Congress to reform U.S. food aid. They are already having an impact. This year's Offering of Letters: Reforming U. S. Food Aid has Congress talking.
Last week, President Obama released his fiscal year 2015 budget. A presidential budget is a vision statement that outlines a hope for the future. Bread is encouraged to see that the president's vision includes reforms that would make international food aid more cost-effective and increase its impact. These reforms would allow our government more flexibility in purchasing more food locally and regionally. Congress has also taken a positive step forward with food aid by approving some additional flexibility in its January omnibus appropriations bill.
As people of faith, we have a greater vision: a world without hunger. Although we applaud the president's budget, we know our government can do more. Reforming food aid for more efficiency, for targeted nutrition, and ensuring robust funding will mean a faster and more effective response to hunger and malnutrition — helping millions more people.
We can build on this momentum as your letters continue to make their way to Washington, D.C., and impact policy makers here. Let's write hunger into history throughout 2014!
Rev. David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.
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