Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

70 posts categorized "Action Alert"

Tell Congress: Strengthen Child Nutrition Programs


By Jon Gromek

Today, advocates across the country are speaking out together. We are calling on Congress to strengthen our national child nutrition programs. Will you join us?

PhoneOne in five children in the U.S. lives at risk of hunger. Child nutrition programs, including school meals, summer meals, and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program, keep food on the table for millions of children. Still, gaps remain. For every six low-income children eating lunch at school, only one is also getting a summer meal.

Join the national day of action. Call Congress at 800/826-3688. Tell your senators and representative to pass a strong child nutrition bill that closes the child hunger gap and improves children’s access to the meals they need to learn and grow.

Your members of Congress have a unique opportunity to strengthen child nutrition programs. On September 30, the current child nutrition bill will expire. Members of Congress are busy working on a new child nutrition bill this summer. They need to hear from you today! Call 800/826-3688 and tell them to pass a child nutrition bill that keeps all of our children fed and healthy.

Already called your members of Congress? Take the next step and make a special gift to support our nation’s children. Until June 30, your donation – of any amount – will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous donor.

Jon Gromek is a regional organizer at Bread for the World.

Tell Congress to Protect Child Nutrition Programs

Federal nutrition programs for children are a critical part of the fight against hunger. Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World.

By Eric Mitchell

In March, we asked you to tell Congress to protect SNAP and other anti-hunger programs from cuts in the budget. You delivered. Now, we're hitting the next stage in these budget battles, and we need your voice again.

Will you take two minutes to call (800/826-3688) or email your U.S. representative and your U.S. senators and tell Congress to fully fund programs that help children at risk of hunger in the U.S. and around the world?

Last month, Congress passed a budget blueprint that, if fully enacted, would increase hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world. Now, Congress is trying to figure out how to implement it. 

At this very moment, members of the appropriations committees are deciding how much to fund each federal program, and sequestration is making their jobs very hard. Automatic sequestration cuts lower the overall spending limits. This means there is less money to fund things like education and scientific research, let alone programs that effectively help people struggling to move out of poverty, such as foreign assistance and nutrition assistance for infants and low-income mothers. 

Our federal budget is an outline of the priorities of this country. Our children's health and nutrition must be a priority.

Call (800/826-3688) or email your U.S. representative and your U.S. senators today. Urge Congress to oppose cuts to programs like WIC and international poverty-focused development assistance. Tell Congress to address the additional sequestration cuts with a more balanced and responsible plan. Congress should be investing in our children, not undermining their food security. 

Eric Mitchell is the director of government relations at Bread for the World.

Let's Build Food Security For Women and Children Everywhere

Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World

By Beth Ann Saracco

If you have a garden, you are probably enjoying flowers or are seeing green shoots this spring. In Washington, D.C., the seeds you planted with your advocacy through Bread for the World are also taking root and growing.

Just last week, the Senate introduced S. 1252, The Global Food Security Act. This legislation makes permanent the U.S.’s food security program, Feed the Future. It also calls for a first-ever comprehensive U.S. strategy to address hunger and malnutrition in developing countries.

Let's move this legislation forward! Call (800/826-3688) or email your U.S. senators and urge them to support and cosponsor the Global Food Security Act (S. 1252).

Last month, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed H.R. 1567, the Global Food Security Act, a companion bill to S. 1252. This was no small feat, and thanks to you and other Bread members, our advocacy continues to push these bipartisan bills forward in the legislative process. Now, with a bill also introduced in the Senate, not only are these seeds taking root, but we can also envision the fruit they will soon bear.

These acts could improve the livelihoods of over 500 million small-scale farmers in the world, many of whom are women. The legislation’s efforts to address nutrition among mothers and children will help the U.S. achieve its goal to end preventable child deaths, almost half of which are caused by malnutrition.

Feed the Future is already successful. In 2013 alone, more than seven million smallholder farmers grew more food, and more than 12.5 million children received nutrition interventions.

However, Feed the Future is currently not a permanent program. In order to ensure it continues beyond the current administration, Congress needs to pass the Global Food Security Act, and the president must sign it into law. Call your U.S. senators today, and ask them to cosponsor S. 1252. Let’s bring our advocacy efforts to fruition!

Beth Ann Saracco is a senior international policy analyst at Bread for the World.

This is Where Food-Aid Reform Matters

Earthquake destruction in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Photo: Natalie Hawwa / USAID

By Ryan Quinn

Last week’s earthquake in Nepal is one situation where U.S. food aid is at work. In crises like that, as well as in the daily grind of poverty, food aid from our federal government is keeping hunger at bay. But U.S. food-aid programs can do better, and Congress needs to hear that from you.

Email your U.S. senators today, and urge them to cosponsor S. 525, the Food for Peace Reform Act of 2015.

The good news is that Congress has already been paying attention to this issue, and food-aid reform is moving forward. This is thanks to the continued efforts of activists like you. This month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held the first-ever hearing on the importance of food aid reform.

At the hearing, witnesses testified on how reforms to the government’s food-aid programs would improve their ability to reach more people in need and at less cost to taxpayers.

Last year, Bread for the World members won significant victories in food-aid reform. The Food for Peace Reform Act would build on those individual successes and permanently reform U.S. food aid laws.

Help us take this huge step toward ending hunger. Email your U.S. senators today.

Long ago, God provided by raining manna from heaven for the Israelites (Exodus 16). Help us follow God’s example in our day and better nourish people who are hungry around the world.

Ryan Quinn is a senior policy analyst at Bread for the World

How Good Policy Translates to Success

Paprika pepper farmer in Tanzania. USAID.

By Beth Ann Saracco

Congress is listening to you! Less than two weeks ago, we asked you to contact Congress and urge your representative to cosponsor The Global Food Security Act. As a result of your advocacy, the bill passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee this morning!

Let’s keep this important legislation moving forward! Call (800/826-3688) or email your U.S. representative. Urge your representative to support and cosponsor the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567).

On a recent trip to East Africa, I met with a women’s cassava cooperative outside Sengerema, Tanzania. I was struck by the progress they were making in improving their lives and their families’ lives. The women plant cassava, process it into flour, and then sell the flour at the market. With the extra income they earn, standards of living in the community are rising, and the women and their families are seeing a higher quality of life.

This success is a prime example of the progress being achieved on farms throughout the world. Because of programs like Feed the Future, seven million small farmers grew more crops, and 12.5 million children received nutritious food. Such progress has occurred in tandem with the progress of the Global Food Security Act in Congress.

The Global Food Security Act would support efforts like those of the Tanzania cassava cooperative throughout the world. More families will be able to send their children to school, buy nutritious foods to supplement their children’s diets, and further invest in their land and businesses.

From Washington, D.C., to Tanzania, we are making great strides in our efforts to end global hunger and malnutrition. Yet our work remains unfinished. We need the House of Representatives to pass the Global Food Security Act. Making this global food and nutrition security program permanent will ensure progress against hunger continues.

Call (800/826-3688) or email your representative. Urge your representative to cosponsor the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567).  Let’s stand with programs like the women’s cassava cooperative in Tanzania by praying for an end to hunger and engaging in faithful advocacy alongside them.

Beth Ann Saracco is an international policy analyst at Bread for the World

Break the Chains of Hunger

Hernán Piñera/CC BY-SA 2.0

By Dr. Iva E. Carruthers

This weekend was big. One thousand Christian advocates from across the country descended upon Washington, D.C., to learn about "Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration & Systems of Exploitation," which was the theme of the conference they attended. And after the conference, they went to Capitol Hill to talk to Congress about these topics. For Bread, breaking the chains of hunger means breaking the chains of mass incarceration and exploitation.

Some laws ban individuals with felony convictions from getting assistance. Many can't receive SNAP (formerly food stamps), TANF (welfare), or housing assistance. These programs are vital in keeping people from falling into — or back into — hunger and poverty. We can't take these lifelines away from people who need them so much.

Momentum is building for criminal justice reform. Will you keep it going with an email or phone call to your members of Congress? Urge your U.S. representative and your U.S. senators to remove the ban on SNAP and TANF for individuals with felony drug convictions.

People leaving prison or those with felony convictions are at a high risk of hunger and poverty. Employers often don't want to hire someone with a criminal record. Licensing prohibitions mean many can't work in certain fields — and even when they do get jobs, they earn much less than individuals who have never been to prison. Laws banning people with criminal records from getting assistance make the situation even worse.

These conditions stack the deck against people returning from prison or those with criminal records. Our laws should promote successful reentry and economic stability. Instead, these bans do the opposite.

It's time for a change.

Call (800-826-3688) or email your U.S. representative and your U.S. senators. Urge Congress to remove the ban on SNAP and TANF for people with felony drug convictions. The time is ripe for criminal justice reform, and this should be a part of it.

Learn more: Hunger and Mass Incarceration.

Dr. Iva E. Carruthers is the general secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference and a Bread for the World board member

Tell Congress to Feed the Future

Bread for the World.

By Beth Ann Saracco

April showers bring May corn, sweet potatoes, and beans. Yet, throughout the world, millions of people still go hungry.

Call (800/826-3688) or email your U.S. representative. Urge your U.S. representative to cosponsor the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567). Your advocacy today could make a lifesaving difference for hungry people around the world.

The rainy season has begun in East Africa — and so has the planting season for farmers there. If the weather cooperates, in just a few short months, these farmers will have produced enough corn, sweet potatoes, and other crops to feed their families — and some extra to sell at the markets for a profit.

Smallholder farmers in poor countries are very dependent on the weather. When all you have is a small plot of land, a turn from the normal weather patterns to drought or floods can spell disaster for you and your family. While hope is planted for many as crops go into the ground this season, 805 million people around the world are going hungry today.

But this can change — and our Congress can do something about it. The U.S. government plays an important role through Feed the Future, a global hunger and food-security program. This initiative operates in 19 countries. In 2013 alone, seven million small farmers grew more crops, and 12.5 million children received nutritious food. Improvements in food processing, production, and selling have made a significant difference in the lives of many farmers.

Recently, The Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567) was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would make the Feed the Future program law — a permanent program. This smart approach recognizes that, in order to end hunger, we don't just need to grow more food through building strong agriculture systems. We need quality, nutritious food as well.

Feed the Future can save lives. But it's important to act right now to ensure it continues. Call or email your U.S. representative today. Urge your U.S. representative to co-sponsor The Global Food Security Act.

Also, please join us on June 9 in Washington, D.C., for Bread for the World's annual Lobby Day. It’s a chance to speak to your members of Congress directly about these vital U.S. government programs that are helping to end hunger in so many ways. Visit our website to learn more and register.

Beth Ann Saracco is the international policy analyst at Bread for the World.

A Chance at Renewal


By Eric Mitchell

Easter is not only about Christ’s resurrection, but it’s also about renewal and redemption.

Does God's grace in Jesus Christ move you to help others realize a new life and a second chance?

An overwhelming number of people leaving prison and those with felony convictions are at serious risk of hunger because employers don’t want to hire them. Licensing prohibitions can bar certain individuals from working in certain fields. And even when some do get jobs, they earn much less than they did before prison.

Worse, laws ban individuals with felony convictions from getting government assistance. Many can’t receive SNAP (food stamps), TANF (welfare), or housing assistance.

With no job, no shelter, and no help, many people in these situations are denied a second chance.

This isn’t right. And it doesn’t make sense. We should create conditions that help people successfully reenter communities, reconnect with their families, and make a decent living after serving their sentences. Instead, we’re doing the opposite.

Congress can change this. Call or email your U.S. representative and your U.S. senators at 800-826-3688. Urge Congress to remove the ban on SNAP and TANF for felony drug convictions. Urge Congress to also oppose restrictions that keep formerly incarcerated individuals from accessing anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs.

Christ extended us a second chance and told us to forgive others. People leaving prison and those who have criminal records should have a genuine opportunity at a new start. Because of Easter, I believe in the power of redemption. Tell Congress to lift the benefits bans.

Learn more by reading our fact sheet: Hunger and Mass Incarceration.

Eric Mitchell is the director of government relations at Bread for the World.

Photo: Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World.

Urgent: Say No to Vote-A-Rama Amendments That Target Poor People

http://bread.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341d945753ef017d42340f38970c-piBy Bread Staff

As budget debate and voting continue in the Senate today, Bread for the World is deeply concerned about several proposed amendments that would cut critical programs that serve vulnerable populations.

Yesterday, the House passed a budget resolution, which would balance the budget on the poorest in our nation. We need your voice to tell the Senate they must not do the same. 

Budgets are moral documents. A faithful budget values ending hunger and protecting the most vulnerable - not cutting programs that would make it harder to end hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world.

Please call 800-826-3688 and tell your senator that this budget is unacceptable.  

  1. OPPOSE any amendments that cut foreign assistance or the 150 account including Paul Amdt #940, which increases the defense budget by cutting the entire international affairs budget by 50% over two years or a $42 billion reduction. These proposed cuts can severely impact funding for humanitarian and poverty-focused development assistance, including critical life-saving programs like maternal child health treatment, agriculture development and nutrition interventions, and humanitarian relief to millions of refugees. Amendment #940 failed in a recorded vote of 4 yays and 96 nays.
  2. OPPOSE any amendments that cut SNAP (formerly food stamps), change eligibility, or reduce benefits and oppose amendments that cut or make harmful changes to school nutrition programs. SNAP and school meals provide more than 21 million children with meals they need to learn and grow. Specifically, we urge senators to oppose Inhofe Amdt #375 and Rubio Amdt #547. Withdrawn.

  3. OPPOSE any amendments that cut Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), change eligibility, or establish barriers that make it more difficult for low-income working families to put food on the table. TANF is often the only source of support for families who receive it. Specifically, we urge senators to oppose Inhofe Amdt #372,which creates a financial burden on taxpayers and states while unfairly punishing children and familiesWithdrawn.

  4. OPPOSE any amendments that prevent individuals from claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Child Tax Credit (CTC), including Grassley Amdt #469. The EITC and CTC prevent more people from falling into poverty than any other program in the United States (outside Social Security). These tax credits reward work, promote economic mobility, and have a long history of bipartisan support. Withdrawn.

It is urgent to contact Congress in order to stop the cuts. Call your senators now - even if you have already reached out to them. This message is so important it must be repeated until they hear us and act. Call 800-826-3688 during the next 24 hours. Urge them to oppose cuts to programs that are working to end hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world.

If you use Twitter, please tweet your senators here: Aid Saves Lives.


Urgent: Tell Your Representative to Vote NO on House Budget

Update: The House proposed budget resolution passed: 228 yeas to 199 nays.  

By Eric Mitchell

The House of Representatives is about to vote on its fiscal year 2016 budget. The priorities the House budget lays out will not help end hunger. Please call (800-826-3688) or email your representative and say this budget is unacceptable.

The House is proposing severe cuts. They could lead to devastating increases in hunger and poverty in the U.S. and abroad. If we don’t challenge our representatives, here’s what their budget would do:

  • Take 69 percent of its $5.5 trillion in budget cuts from programs assisting low-income individuals – placing the burden on people who are already suffering;
  • Slash SNAP (food stamps) by at least 34 percent, the equivalent of up to 220 meals taken from each participant every year;
  • Cut lifesaving international programs by 16 percent. Funding for our international budget has already been cut by 22 percent. We can’t afford any further cuts.
  • By 2025, the budget would cut non-defense spending 33 percent below what it was in 2010. This puts programs like WIC, food aid, and poverty focused development assistance in serious danger; and
  • Let the 2009 improvements to the earned income and child tax credits expire, pushing 16 million people into – or even deeper into – poverty.

The House is voting TODAY. Your representative needs to hear that there are constituents in the district who find these cuts unacceptable. We should not be placing a greater burden on people who can least afford it.

Call (800-826-3688) or email your representative today! Urge a NO vote on the budget. The cuts to anti-hunger programs are horrific, too deep, and unacceptable.

Eric Mitchell is the director of government relations at Bread for the World.

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