Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Hunger in the News: Feed the Future Moves Forward, Pope Francis on Nutrition, Immigration Reform, Beyond Ebola, Lame Duck

Hunger in News Graphic
A regular, non-comprehensive roundup of current news links on hunger and poverty issues from around the Web.

House panel approves bill to strengthen Feed the Future program,” by Daniel Enoch, Agri-Pulse. “The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday favorably reported to the full House a bill that supporters say would strengthen President Obama's Feed the Future Initiative as it works to alleviate hunger around the globe.”

Pope Francis urges concrete action in global nutrition challenge at UN conference in Rome,” UN News Centre, “Pope Francis today urged leaders attending a United Nations Food and Agriculture (FAO) nutrition conference in Rome to view food and nutrition and the environment as global public issues at a time when nations are more tightly linked with each other than ever before.”

Evangelicals a mixed bag on Obama’s immigration move,” by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service.  “While Republican leaders blast President Obama for taking executive action on immigration reform, some prominent evangelical leaders are welcoming the president’s plans to keep about 5 million undocumented immigrants from being deported.”

Empowering women key to ending hunger, Bread for the World says,” by Daniel Enoch, Agri-Pulse. “Ending discrimination against women - including in the United States - is key in the global battle against hunger, according to a new report from Bread for the World Institute."

“Why are Hispanic Catholics so concerned about climate change?” by Mark Silk, Religion News Service. “According to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, Hispanic Catholics are more concerned about climate change than any other religious group in America.”

A Step Forward on Child Care,” by The Editorial Board, The New York Times.  “Ensuring access to safe, good and affordable child care is crucial for helping to lift low-income parents out of poverty and build futures for their children.”

Beyond Ebola: Why rural development matters in a time of crisis,” by Kanayo F. Nwanze, DW.  “Ebola's impact on health distracts from another looming danger - hunger, says Kanayo Nwanze, the International Fund for Agricultural Development's president, as the One World Forum for the Future kicks off in Berlin.”

Millennium Challenge Corporation Celebrates 10th Anniversary,” by Bridget Bowman, Roll Call.  “While bipartisan efforts in Congress can seem few and far between, policymakers from across the ideological spectrum point to the tenth anniversary of the Millennium Challenge Corporation as evidence they can find common ground when addressing global development.”

Lamest lame duck," by Burgess Everett and Manu Raju, Politico. "Congress left for Thanksgiving without checking anything big off its to-do list during the lame duck, leaving just 10 days to fund the government when they come back in December and likely pushing big items like authorizing force against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants and the confirmation of an attorney general into 2015.”


2015 Hunger Report Released Today: When Women Flourish...We Can End Hunger


By Bread Staff

The 2015 Hunger Report, When Women Flourish…We Can End Hunger, and the companion website are available today.

The annual report will be released at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. during a 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. EST launch event. You can follow the launch on Twitter using the hashtag #HungerReport.

Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, will introduce When Women Flourish...We Can End Hunger, which shows why empowering women is vital to ending hunger and poverty. Women are the primary agents the world relies on to fight hunger. In developing countries, most women work in subsistence farming - the backbone of local food security. Women the world over feed and nourish their children.

The release will include a panel moderated by Sandra Joireman, chair of Bread for the World's board of directors. Panelists include Fouzia Dahir, executive director of the Northern Organization For Social Empowerment; Asma Lateef, director of Bread for the World Institute; Victoria Stanley, senior rural development and land specialist at the World Bank; Gary Barker, international director at Promundo-US and Andrea James, executive director of Families for Justice as Healing.

When Women Flourish...We Can End Hunger looks at discrimination as a cause of persistent hunger and makes policy and program recommendations in order to empower women both in the United States and around the world. Increasing women’s earning potential by boosting bargaining power, reducing gender inequality in unpaid work, increasing women’s political representation, and eliminating the wage gap between male and female labor directly contributes to ending hunger.

Bread for the World Institute provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. The Institute releases a hunger report each year that educates opinion leaders, policy makers, and the public about hunger in the United States and abroad.

Learn more about this year's hunger report at the companion website. The 2015 Hunger Report, and past reports, are available for purchase at Bread for the World's online store.


Orden Ejecutiva Sobre Inmigracion Proporciona Alivio

(Bread for the World)

By Bread Staff

La siguiente declaración fue emitida a la prensa esta mañana:

Rev. David Beckmann, presidente de Pan para el Mundo, emitió esta declaración acerca de la orden ejecutiva que firmo Presidente Obama que proporcionará alivio del riesgo de deportación a cuatro millones de inmigrantes indocumentados:

"Aplaudimos la decisión de presidente Obama de usar su autoridad para mejorar nuestro sistema confuso e innecesariamente duro de inmigración.

"La acción del presidente es controvertida y tiene implicaciones importantes para nuestros partidos políticos. Queremos reconocer a los líderes republicanos en el Congreso que están tratando de responder de una manera que no interrumpa el proceso de asignación de este año.

"Nuestro apoyo de la acción del presidente no es acerca de la política partidista. Se trata de millones de familias que tendrán un alivio de las preocupaciones y las nuevas oportunidades para trabajar y salirse de la pobreza. Se trata de nuestra fe; la Biblia es clara acerca de cómo debemos tratar a los inmigrantes.   Es una pieza de nuestro compromiso de traer oportunidad a todas las personas.

"Nuestra investigación demuestra los beneficios para los Estados Unidos que la inmigración ofrece. Nuestras investigaciones recientes en el “Rust Belt” y en Miami muestran como la inmigración está revitalizando diferentes vecindarios.

"La orden ejecutiva es un paso monumental en la dirección correcta, pero necesitamos una legislación permanente. Todavía esperamos que el Congreso reforme la ley de inmigración. Por ejemplo, el Congreso debe actuar con rapidez - en las decisiones de asignaciones que hará este mes - para hacer frente a la violencia y la pobreza en América Central que está causando la llegad de niños inmigrantes no acompañados.

"Pan para el Mundo también tiene un interés especial en los trabajadores agrícolas - hombres y mujeres que están entre los inmigrantes más pobres y vulnerables, sin embargo, son esencial para poner comida en nuestras mesas. El presidente decidió que él no tenía autoridad para reformar la manera en que los trabajadores agrícolas entran en el país. Esa reforma aguarda la acción del Congreso.

"La inmigración es una forma de escapar el hambre y la pobreza para millones de personas en nuestro mundo, y la llegada de los inmigrantes en este país está contribuyendo a la salud económica de nuestra nación. La orden ejecutiva es un paso en la dirección correcta ".

World Bank President Praises Bread at Annual New York City Gala

World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim speaking at an annual World Bank meeting (photo courtesy of The World Bank).

By Jennifer Gonzalez

Earlier this week, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, lauded the work of Bread for the World and its goal of ending hunger by 2030 at the 11th Annual Gala to End Hunger in New York City. However, he made it clear that numerous forces such as climate change, especially extreme weather events, will make achieving the goal a challenging one.  

Kim said scientists are predicting that about 40 percent of the arable land in Africa will be gone by 2040. At the same time, the demand for food will increase as the world’s population continues to grow.

“If the predictions are correct about what is going to happen with agriculture, we are in big trouble on the hunger front,” he said. “Setting a target of 2030 is great.  “It will force us to look at all the interconnected aspects of our life and the world today to get to that target.”

He made his remarks during an interview conducted by Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, at the gala. The event was hosted by Bread for the World, Bread for the World Institute, and the Alliance to End Hunger.

Kim suggested that one way to solve the agriculture issue is to implement climate-smart strategies, such as alternatively growing rice during wet and dry seasons. That, he said, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow down the process of arable land loss in Africa.

Kim urged Bread and its allies to continue their work, especially convincing U.S. legislators on the need to stamp out food insecurity here and abroad. He said he’s worried that the issue of food insecurity will only grow worse as extreme weather events intensify.

“These events always cut hardest on the poorest people,” he said. “What do we know about Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone? Twenty-five percent to as high as 40 percent of farmers have stopped working. They are eating their seed corn. We are looking at potential famine in these counties on top of the Ebola outbreak.”

For its part, Kim said the World Bank is looking into creating financial instruments that could help alleviate the impact of famine in poor countries. He said the notion of ending hunger by 2030 is a plausible goal as long as there is an understanding that it needs to be confronted on multiple fronts.

Jennifer Gonzalez is the associate online editor at Bread for the World.

Anna Gaye: A Farmer's Story

By Robin Stephenson

Your calls and emails helped move the Global Food Security Act of 2014 over the first hurdle yesterday. H.R. 5656 passed out of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Now we encourage the Senate to do the same and hope to see both chambers vote on a final bill before they leave for the holiday recess in early December.

Anna Gaye’s story illustrates how the initiative is working to end hunger.

In 2013, President Obama met with Gaye and other farmers in Mampatim, Senegal who are decreasing food insecurity in their communities with the help of U.S. foreign assistance. Gaye is part of a 600-member farming cooperative that has been aided by USAID’s Feed the Future initiative. Gaye wrote about the meeting for USAID

First, I demonstrated a traditional method of rice processing. I tried not to smile as he took the heavy ram from my hands and started pounding the pestle himself. “That’s painful!” the president said through his translator, examining his hands a minute later. 

“That’s what women lived with every day before our partnership with Feed the Future,” I said.

That partnership brought, among other benefits, a portable, electric rice mill, which was also on display. The mill takes only 20 minutes to separate 40 kilograms of rice, which previously would take an entire day. The president was curious as to who actually owned the machine, and I explained our group manages it for our common use. 

The mill, I explained, was very important to our progress. My fellow farmers and I were initially reluctant to grow more rice since the task of having to pound so much more would be huge. Our acquisition of the milling machines changed all that. We were free from the drudgery of the pestle.  

The time saved also gives us more time to engage in commercial activities, such as the production and sale of palm oil and nutritious rice porridge made ​​with peanuts, not to mention time to prepare for the next growing season. 

Since 2010, the Feed the Future initiative has been addressing the root causes that create food insecurity. Farming cooperatives and knowledge sharing have helped farmers like Gaye increase their bargaining power and therefore, their food production. In 2013, seven million small farmers increased crop production and provided nutritious food to 12.5 million children that year alone.

With results like that, it is time to make the program permanent law. This is a smart approach that recognizes that, in order to end hunger, we don't just need to make more food, but we need quality, nutritious food and systems in place to get it to the people who need it most.

Let's keep the momentum going. Call (800/826-3688) or email your representative and both your senators, and urge them to cosponsor the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 5656 and S. 2909).

To learn more read, Bill Analysis: The Global Food Security Act of 2014.

Robin Stephenson is the national lead for social media and a senior regional organizer at Bread for the World.

World Prayers for Nov. 23-29: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger

 Mauritanian meal – lamb stuffed with rice; French-fried potatoes; bread; and dates with a cream cheese-like dip. It is eaten while seated on the floor. Stephen H. Padre/Bread for the World

This is a weekly prayer series that appears each Friday on the Bread Blog.

One aspect of Bread for the World’s new Bread Rising campaign is prayer. The campaign is asking Bread members to pray, act, and give. In this blog series, we will be providing a prayer for a different group of countries each week and their efforts to end hunger.

This prayer series will follow the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle, a list compiled by the World Council of Churches that enables Christians around the world to journey in prayer through every region of the world, affirming our solidarity with Christians all over the world, brothers and sisters living in diverse situations, experiencing their challenges and sharing their gifts.

We will especially be lifting up in prayer the challenges related to hunger and poverty that the people of each week’s countries face. In prayer, God’s story and our own story connect—and we and the world are transformed. In a prayer common to all of us—the Lord’s Prayer/the Our Father—we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This line from this prayer can also be a prayer for the end of hunger.

We invite you to join Bread in our prayers for the world’s countries to end hunger. And we encourage you to share with us your prayers for the featured countries of the week or for the end of hunger in general.

For the week of November 23-29, we pray for Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger:

O God, your love is as deep as the ocean, and your mercies are greater than the sands of the desert. This week we lift up in prayer to you countries in West Africa by the ocean or desert. We pray for the peoples of these countries and the challenges they face—the ever-encroaching desert, political and economic instability, poverty, and others. Sustain the people in these places who struggle to get enough water and food in desert conditions. Bless the work of Christians and church-related organizations that work in these places, especially where Muslims are predominant. We pray for peace among people of different religions and ethnicities in these places. All these things we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Percentage of the population of these countries living below the national poverty line (2014 figures):

Burkina Faso: 46.7
Chad: 46.7
Mali: 43.6
Mauritania: 42.0 (2011)
Niger: Not available

Source: World Bank World Development Indicators as found in the new 2015 Hunger Report




A Step in the Right Direction for Immigration Reform

Close to three-fourths of all U.S. hired farm workers are immigrants, most of them unauthorized. Their unauthorized legal status, low wages, and an inconsistent work schedule contribute to a precarious economic state. (Bread for the World)

By Bread Staff

Immigration is a hunger issue. Hunger, poverty, and violence have driven roughly 60,000 children to seek refuge in the United States from Central America.  An estimated 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants live in the shadows where hunger and poverty persist.

It is time to act.

President Obama is expected to sign an executive order that will reportedly provide relief from the risk of deportation to four million undocumented immigrants. In a statement to the press earlier today, Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, said the president’s action is a good first step in dealing with a broken immigration system:

We applaud President Obama’s decision to craft improvements within his authority to our confused and unnecessarily harsh immigration system.

The president’s action is controversial and has important implications for our political parties.  So we also want to acknowledge those Republican leaders in Congress who are trying to respond in a way that does not disrupt this year’s appropriations process.

Our support of the president’s action is not about partisan politics.  It’s about millions of families who will have some respite from worry and new opportunities to work their way out of poverty. It is about our faith; the Bible is clear on how we should treat immigrants.  It is one piece of our commitment to opportunity for all people.

Our research demonstrates the benefits to the United States that immigration provides. Our recent research in the nation’s Rust Belt and in Miami shows how immigration is revitalizing neighborhoods.

The executive order is a momentous step in the right direction, but we need permanent legislation. We still look to Congress to reform immigration law.  For example, Congress should move quickly – in the appropriations decisions it will make this month - to address the violence and poverty in Central America that is driving the flow of unaccompanied child immigrants.

Bread for the World also has a special interest in agricultural workers – men and women who are among the poorest and most vulnerable immigrants, yet essential to putting food on our tables.  The president judged that he didn’t have authority to reform the way that agricultural workers come into the country. That reform awaits congressional action.

Immigration is a way that millions of people in our world are escaping hunger and poverty, and the flow of immigrants into this country is contributing to our nation’s economic health.  Today’s executive order is a step in the right direction.

Learn more about the connection between hunger and immigration here. And urge your members of Congress to pass legislation that addresses the root causes of hunger, poverty, and violence that are driving unaccompanied children to flee their home countries.

Rev. David Beckmann Challenges You to #ShareYourPlate

By Bread Staff

Yes, here’s proof that Rev. David Beckmann can cook – but with the help of two young anti-hunger activists, Elizabeth Quill and Margaret Hudak.

Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, answered a #ShareYourPlate challenge: a Catholic Charities, USA social media campaign to raise awareness about the pervasiveness of hunger. By sharing a cooking video, the #ShareYourPlate campaign reminds us that food is something we all share.

While preparing a taco salad, Quill and Hudak emphasized the need to advocate for programs that help people put food on their table. The girls told Beckmann of a meeting they had with their Virginia members of Congress in which they asked lawmakers to support funding for the SNAP program (formerly food stamps).

Their lobby visit illustrates how sharing a story with your member of Congress is a powerful advocacy tool. It can also help lawmakers understand the reality of hunger in states and districts far removed from their Washington, D.C. offices.

Hudak related her own experience of seeing hunger in the lunchroom at school.  She noticed some students restricted their purchases to only cereal and milk and saw others go without food entirely. “A kid can’t function through the day on milk and cereal,” she said.

Last December, Catholic Charities USA, Bread for the World, and others answered Pope Francis and Caritas Internationalis’ call for a global wave of prayer to end hunger as part of the One Family #FoodForAll campaign.

Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, created his own cooking video as a way to build on the #FoodForAll campaign. He then sent out a challenge to others to do the same before November 27 - including a special invitation to Beckmann.

Beckmann now challenges travel writer Rick Steves, community food systems expert Sharon Thornberry – and you.  Create a cooking video or post a photo at #ShareYourPlate and on your Twitter or Facebook page. Share a virtual meal and help bring awareness to the problem of hunger.

Folllow the challengers on Twitter: @DavidBeckmann, @Fr_Larry_Snyder, @RickSteves, and  @OFB_SharonT and tag @bread4theworld with your cooking video.

Activists Urge President Obama and Congress to Act Now on Immigration

Participants in the Fast for Families, join together in prayer (photo courtesy of Fast for Families).

By Bread Staff

Last week, a coalition of 16 activists and leaders from immigrant communities, including Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, sent a letter to President Obama and leadership in Congress asking them to act on immigration reform.

In a statement released to the press earlier today, Rev. Beckmann urged the President to act now.  He asks, “How can we consider ourselves a morally just society when we force families to live in the dark? How can a country as wealthy and prosperous as ours grossly mistreat our brothers and sisters who come here looking for the chance of a better life?”

Read the full text of the letter below.

Mr. President, Speaker Boehner, House Democratic Leader Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, and Senate Republican Leader McConnell:

Pope Francis has said, “Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chess board of humanity.”  Sadly, this is a principle Washington has not learned. We, who sign this open letter, personally know families being separated by the failures of our broken immigration system, hard workers mistreated because they have few protections, and law-abiding contributors to our economy forced to live in jeopardy of unanticipated enforcement action — all because Washington has failed to address this issue.

When we have asked you and other leaders what obstacles stand in the way; the answer we hear back is “politics.” It is time to end these political games around immigration reform. The plight of immigrant families is a moral crisis that you all must address. It’s time for moral imperatives and common sense to prevail over partisanship and ideology.

We, other pro-reform advocates, and leaders from immigrant communities have spent months meeting with members of Congress and the Administration. When our voices were ignored many of us fasted on the National Mall and rallied people across the country behind the need for immigration reform. Business leaders and entrepreneurs, people of faith, law enforcement officials, and the vast majority of Americans—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—want our broken system fixed.

Thus far, Congress has refused to act, ignoring the will of the people and the needless devastation being wrought on families and communities. We believe that a vote to fix the immigration system would pass in a bi-partisan way if brought to the floor of the House of Representatives and given a fair chance.

Mr. Speaker and Majority Leader, we hope, pray, and call upon the next Congress to act and address this issue because the suffering of millions has become both impossible and irresponsible to ignore. Your leadership is both desperately needed at this critical moment. The time for action is now. Compassion cannot be delayed any longer. Justice should not be denied any longer.

Mr. President, we urge you to do everything legally in your power to keep families together, strengthen our economy, and increase our national security. Legislation will clearly and finally be necessary to comprehensively reform our broken immigration system. But through executive action, you can and should alleviate a great deal of suffering while Congress determines a long-term path forward. Your leadership at this critical moment is both a moral imperative and a legitimate legal course. This is a step the country needs you to take.

Act Now: Tell Congress to Cosponsor the Global Food Security Act

Stunting dropped an estimated 9 percent over the past three years in Ethiopia with the United States’ help through Feed the Future. An estimated 160,000 children are growing up stronger and healthier. (Nena Terrell/USAID)

By Ryan Quinn

Next week, many of us will be fortunate enough to gather around tables piled high with turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. In expressing our gratitude for the abundance before us, we can also call to mind the role we can play in ending hunger at home and around the world.

Sometimes that means service, like volunteering in a soup kitchen. But right now we have the opportunity to make a huge difference for hungry people with one simple action: Urge your members of Congress to cosponsor the Global Food Security Act today!

Right now, more than 800 million people around the world are hungry, and approximately 1 in 4 children under age five is stunted due to poor nutrition, leaving them with serious complications that can last their entire lives.

But this problem is solvable. Tomorrow, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will vote on legislation that would dramatically reduce world hunger, and it needs your support.

The Global Food Security Act would put in place the Feed the Future framework. This is a smart approach that recognizes that, in order to end hunger, we don't just need to make more food, but we need quality, nutritious food and systems in place to get it to the people who need it most.

The Feed the Future program would work on a local level to empower small farmers, growing the local economy while feeding hungry people. A true win-win.

Feed the Future can save lives. But it's important to act right now. The bill is about to go before powerful congressional committees that can push it forward or stall it indefinitely. We need an immediate and powerful show of support. Will you speak out now?

Call (800/826-3688) or email your representative and both your senators, and urge them to cosponsor the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 5656 and S. 2909). Your advocacy today could make a lifesaving difference for a hungry child.

To learn more read, Bill Analysis: The Global Food Security Act of 2014.

Ryan Quinn is the senior international policy analyst at Bread for the World.

Stay Connected

Bread for the World