Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

What We Are Thankful For

(Bread for the World)

By Rev. David Beckmann

We have a lot to be thankful for this year at Bread for the World, and you're at the top of the list. I thank God for you.

Here are just a few examples of the incredible work you have helped accomplish this year:

We won reforms that have allowed U.S. food assistance to reach 1.5 million more hungry people. Humanitarian crises in South Sudan and Syria along with the terrifying spread of Ebola in West Africa have dramatically increased the need for food aid, so our successful campaign to increase the reach of U.S. food aid could not have come at a more critical time.

As unaccompanied children crossed the U.S. border, fleeing violence at home and often deplorable treatment in detention centers, you opened your heart. You sent more than 10,000 personalized emails to your members of Congress urging them to protect these vulnerable children while addressing the root causes of their plight in the long term. A bill has been introduced into the House (H.R. 5368) to address these concerns.

On Monday, Bread for the World Institute launched its 2015 Hunger Report: When Women Flourish ... We Can End Hunger. Because of their leading role in farming, caregiving, and child nutrition, women are the primary agents the world relies on to fight hunger.  Your support makes this research and analysis possible.

And in June, we celebrated 40 years of your faithful advocacy and victories from earlier decades. We also launched Bread Rising: A Campaign to End Hunger, the most ambitious campaign in Bread's history. More to come on this campaign in the new year.

Through your dedication and through God's amazing work, we have accomplished so much. But our work isn't finished yet. As you gather around your Thanksgiving table, I ask you to pray for people who are hungry. And to pray harder for our nation and our leaders — that we might realize the political will to end hunger.

Are you asking yourself, "What more can I do?" If you have just five minutes, please help with this urgent opportunity to make a difference for people who are hungry around the world right now: email your members of Congress, and urge them to co-sponsor the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 5656 and S. 2909), which will boost agricultural development and address malnutrition. It passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week and will be voted upon next in the full House.

Rev. David Beckmann is the president of Bread for the World.

The 2015 Hunger Report Launch in Slides

By Bread Staff

The 2015 Hunger Report was unveiled on Monday to a jam-packed room at the National Press Club. Holding the report aloft, Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, said,  “We publish these reports every year. I think this will be our most popular.”

The report, When Women Flourish…We Can End Hunger, identifies the empowerment of women and girls as essential to ending hunger, extreme poverty, and malnutrition in the United States and around the world.

During a panel discussion, Asma Lateef, director of Bread for the World Institute, said putting women in the center of policy and program decisions is logical. “When women are empowered benefits extends beyond them,” she said.

Lateef stressed that empowerment must support women’s inclusion as decision makers in civil society. However, she added, that women too often are faced with barriers that limit their ability to engage fully in economic activity.

A key takeaway from the panel discussion was that the experts are the women who are working to overcome barriers of discrimination every day. Professionals and advocates must listen and act to remove those barriers that hinder women’s untapped potential.

“We have to be intentional about empowering women, it won’t happen on its own,” Lateef said.

Aside from Lateef, other speakers who took part in the panel discussion were Victoria Stanley, senior rural development and land specialist at the World Bank; Fouzia Dahir, executive director of the Northern Organization For Social Empowerment in Kenya; Gary Barker, co-chair of MenEngage Alliance and Andrea James, executive director of Families for Justice as Healing. The panel was moderated by Sandra Joireman, chair of Bread’s board of directors and a professor of political science at the University of Richmond.

Watch the photographic slide show above to learn about the launch and what the panelist had to say.  And then explore www.hungerreport.com to learn more about the program and policy recommendations that will build equality. 


Bread for the Preacher: Show the World the Kingdom of God

(Bread for the World)

Every month, the church relations department at Bread for the World produces a resource specifically for pastors. Whether you are searching for inspiration for a sermon you're writing or are just a lectionary enthusiast, Bread for the Preacher is for you.

After reading this introduction, explore this month’s readings on the Bread for the Preacher web page, where you can also sign up to have the resource emailed to you each month.

By Bishop José García

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. — Isaiah 9:6-7

This is a glorious passage with a glorious promise. There will be a great, perfect government of peace, justice, and righteousness. It will be like that because the Prince of Peace, our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father will be in charge. No earthly government can accomplish that.

However, we do not have to wait for the reign of the Messiah to experience God's peace. Scripture clearly states that the Kingdom of God is joy, peace, and righteousness. As citizens of God's kingdom, let us celebrate this Christmas by emulating the government of the Prince of Peace to change the circumstances provoked by financial despair, wars, social inequalities, crime, drugs, greed, injustice, hunger, disease, corrupt authorities, abuse against children, women, those helpless in society, and many other maladies. Let us reach out with the message of salvation, justice, and hope. Let us preach this message, not only from the pulpit, but from our hearts with acts of compassion, love, and service that exemplifies the life of Christ when he dwelled among us. Let us join the voices of those who are crying out for an opportunity to have and make choices that can deliver them from the strongholds of poverty, hunger, and inequality.

Let us intentionally put off our old self, be made new in the attitude of our minds, and put on the new self. Let us do this so the Holy Spirit can work through us in an endeavor to live a true Christian witness that allows the world to experience the righteousness of the Kingdom of God.

José García is the director of church relations at Bread for the World.

A Reflection on the Executive Action Taken by President Obama

Ricardo and the Bishop
Pictured from left to right: Rev. Ricardo Moreno, associate for Latino outreach at Bread for the World, Bishop José García, director of church relations at Bread for the World, and Pablo Chavez, son of the farm-worker advocate, Cesar Chavez. (photo courtesy of Ricardo Moreno)

By Bishop José García

Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him: Proverbs 14:31

Bishop and Dolores
On Friday, November 21 at Del Sol High School in Henderson, Nev., I heard President Barack Obama share his executive action with a very enthusiastic crowd. The action will temporarily stop deportations and keep families together. I was able to enjoy the excitement experienced by the many men and women who have been champions in advocating for a fair immigration reform in our country. I met with Dolores Huerta, who together with Cesar Chavez, fought hard for the rights of farm workers; Pablo, Chavez's son; Eliseo Medina, who fasted for 30 days in front of the Capitol calling on Congress to enact a fair immigration reform; Gaby Pacheco, the young woman who became a voice and a face for the "DREAMers"; Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Bill Richardson, former New Mexico governor; Rev. Ricardo Moreno, associate for Latino outreach at Bread for the World and Rev. L.B. Jackson, among many others. It was a great day in America.

It brings me great joy to know that as a result of the executive action, roughly one million of the five million who will benefit from the president's action will be able to overcome the struggle of food insecurity and that experiencing hunger may no longer be a part of their lives. Now they will have the opportunity of getting better jobs, higher wages, and other opportunities inaccessible to them before because of their migratory status.

This is Divine Justice because it responds to the biblical mandate to care and provide for people who are the poor among us. In doing so, God is honored because God cares about people who are poor as they are close to his heart. There are more than 200 biblical references dealing with the treatment of people who are poor. Some of these Scriptures talk about the blessings for those who help, as well as the consequences for those who oppress people who are poor. Throughout the ages, God has used kings and government officials as instruments for divine purposes. In my mind there is no doubt that God's sovereignty moved the president to order his executive action. In doing so, he has brought about justice to the many hard working parents who have lived in fear of being separated from their children.

Let us pray for God to move the minds and hearts of our government officials so they can do what is right for people who are marginalized in our country. However, let us also act and exercise the responsibilities of our democracy by calling, writing, and advocating before Congress to enact a fair immigration reform, for in doing so, they will honor God.

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.

José García is the director of church relations at Bread for the World.

Inset photo:  Dolores Huerta and Bishop José García in Las Vegas, Nevada. (photo courtesy of José García)

The Gender Matrix

 Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 3.13.39 PM

Reprinted from the Hewlett Foundation Blog: Work in Progress. Bread for the World Institute is a Hewlett Foundation grantee. 

By Alfonsina Peñaloza

In the movie The Matrix, the main character, Neo, is offered two pills: a red one, which will show him the painful truth of life outside the Matrix; and a blue one, which will erase all memory of what has occurred and send him back to blissful ignorance within it. Sometimes I feel that trying to understand gender and development issues, we’re all Neo, working inexorably towards our own moments of choice. A word of caution: once you look at the world through the lens of gender-based differences in power and opportunity, you can never unsee it.

Today, Bread for the World Institute launched its flagship 2015 Hunger Report. This year’s edition focuses on women’s economic empowerment, tackling issues that are at the forefront of gender and development. Poverty affects women differently than men. Working conditions, discrimination, and social norms mean women and the work they perform (both within and outside the economy) are less valued then men and their work. Women experience more poverty in terms of income, and are also more impoverished in other ways—education, health, time.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the burden of domestic work. Women and girls are usually responsible for what is sometimes called reproductive work, such as taking care of family, cooking, and cleaning. More women have joined the workforce, but men have not stepped up at home, so overall women work more and get paid less. The upshot is that many women (particularly in low-income countries) work double shifts, one of which one is unpaid.

Bread for the World Institute's report also highlights the importance of collective action. A critical element of empowerment is voice, and women who advocate collectively for their rights are more likely to be heard.

Perhaps most important, the 2014 Hunger Report draws a very clear picture: Women are missing from economic data. We just don’t know how and how much women are contributing to the economy, since most of their work is undervalued, invisible in the statistics, or both. This is not a data gap like many others we worry about in global development; it’s a reflection of systemic gender-bias, and it prevents sound policy-making.

To accompany the report, Bread for the World Institute launched a powerful visualization tool to illustrate how women are missing from data.

The tool allows you to search by country, region and five main indicator categories: public life, human rights, health, education and economic participation. Each indicator – such as mortality rate or wage gap- is represented by a pixel, and all the pixels together make up the picture of a woman. The more data available, the clearer the image. The conclusion is stark: in most cases we can’t see the women, and so the visualization imparts a powerful message: without the data, women can’t be seen. And if they can’t be seen, how can women have a voice and a seat at the table where economic decisions are made?


(As an aside: This tool was created at a hackathon, and initially set out to visualize data on women’s economic empowerment. It ended up taking a much more novel approach by visualizing the absence of data, rather than the data itself. It cost the organization no money other than the costs of organizing the hackathon—a great example of how innovation and creativity can go a long way in the face of limited resources.)

Bread for the World Institute has always included women in their reports. After all, the role that women play as caregivers and farmers puts them at the center of the hunger issue. However, this year’s report doesn’t just include women as research subjects; rather, it examines the social constructs and the gender biases in policies that hold women back, and impede development. You could even say that Bread for the World Institute has come to their moment of choice and decided to take the red pill, applying a gender lens to their work and seeing for the first time behind the “Gender Matrix.” Like Neo waking up to his revolution, there is no going back.

Alfonsina Peñaloza is a program officer in the global development and population program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation


Millions of Immigrants Offered Temporary Legalization via Immigration Overhaul

"The biggest victory for immigrants and their allies in the past 25 years," said one veteran immigrant advocate
about President Obama's immigration action. (Bread for the World)  

By Andrew Wainer

During a televised address to the nation last week, President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) legalization program. It’s an ominous sounding name for a program with the primary goal of legalizing almost half of all 11.2 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

One veteran immigration advocate called it, “the biggest victory for immigrants and their allies in the past 25 years.” That may be an understatement. DAPA has the potential to be the largest immigrant legalization program in history. However, more than 6 million undocumented immigrants in the United States would be ineligible for the program and temporary legalization.

President Reagan signed the last large-scale immigrant legalization law in 1986. That law, the Immigration Reform and Control Act, led to the legalization of about three million undocumented immigrants. President Obama’s program will allow about 4.3 million immigrants the opportunity to apply for temporary legalization, a work permit, and protection from deportation. Those who qualify for the program would be granted protection for three years.

The DAPA legalization program consists of two main components: keeping families together and expanding legalization for immigrants who came to the United States while young.

The first component addresses the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents who have lived in the United States for at least five years – roughly four million people. The president’s action would offer them legal reprieve and remove the constant threat of deportation they live under now.

The second component is targeted toward undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children – specifically younger than 16. It expands the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was created for “DREAMers” – undocumented immigrants who grew up in the United States. An additional 300,000 immigrants would benefit from the expansion, resulting in the potential for the legalization of a total of 4.3 million immigrants.

The president’s action will help undocumented immigrants escape and stay out of poverty by providing them with an increased opportunity for further education, job training and freedom to pursue opportunities throughout the employment market. Most are now confined to the “grey market” where they can only work without being detected as undocumented immigrants.

When immigrants are able to work legally, they can better protect themselves from workplace abuses. Also, it is estimated that immigrants could see a wage increase of 8.5 percent as a result of the president’s action because they will be better able to find jobs that match their skills. This will significantly help immigrant families who disproportionately live in poverty and experience food insecurity.

While the DAPA announcement was hailed a major victory for immigrants – particularly those struggling in low-wage jobs – it was only a temporary victory. The program could be rescinded by a new president in 2016 and some in Congress, who are upset with the executive action, are already threatening to defund the government agencies that will be responsible for implementing the law.  

In order for this poverty reducing-action to become permanent – and for the remaining 6 million undocumented immigrants to be legalized – Congress will have to act on immigration reform so that it becomes the law of the land.   

Andrew Wainer is senior immigration policy analyst at Bread for the World Institute


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.

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