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317 posts categorized "Global Hunger"
Barbie Izquierdo and her children are profiled in the new movie, A Place at the Table. To see a preview of the movie and learn more about "A Place at the Table: Bread for the World's 2013 Offering of Letters," visit www.bread.org/ol.
On March 1, 2013, Bread for the World will be involved in setting places at two tables.
One is "A Place at the Table: Bread for the World’s 2013 Offering of Letters."
The other is a new feature-length documentary, A Place at the Table, which shows the persistence of hunger in the United States.
Together, the two "Tables" represent a united effort to end hunger by raising awareness and advocating for policy changes. By coordinating our Offering and Letters with the social action campaign of the movie, Bread for the World will be promoting a national dialogue about how to best secure the leadership, commitment, and unity to end hunger in our country and abroad.
Bread for the World's 2013 Offering of Letters is the most sophisticated campaign we have ever conducted, focusing on both the White House and Congress.
For the first time, we are seeking greater leadership from the White House. We want President Barack Obama to set a goal and work with Congress on a plan to end hunger at home and abroad. Beside regular communication with White House officials, we are asking our members to petition the president. We hope to generate at least 100,000 signatures.
As in past Offerings of Letters, we will continue to focus on policy makers in Congress. Domestic and international programs that help hungry and poor people continue to be threatened by budget cuts. Through handwritten letters, personal email messages, in-person visits, and phone calls, we will be asking our legislators to protect funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps); the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and poverty-focused development assistance (PFDA).
We are also asking legislators to support a national commitment to reduce hunger through the tax code. We want Congress to preserve the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) while raising revenue to support anti-hunger programs.
Finally, we are asking Congress to work with the president on a plan to end hunger.
"The reality is that in order to break free from the bondage [of poverty] in this country and the world, we need elected officials to make good on their words and put love thy neighbor at the center of our legislative agenda," said seminary student and Hunger Justice Leader Derick Dailey in response to the two-pronged Offering of Letters.
This reality will be apparent to many people around the country after they watch the new documentary, A Place at the Table. When film directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush approached Bread for the World board member Terry Meehan, seeking support for the film, the rest of the board quickly decided that this was an opportunity to speed up change.
The filmmakers were inspired by the public reaction that was generated by the 1968 CBS Special, Hunger in America. In response to that television program, Congress passed bipartisan laws that all but eradicated U.S. hunger in the 1970s. "We figured that if it worked once, maybe it could work again," said Jacobson.
National distribution of A Place at the Table became possible when Participant Media came on board to finance the film, followed by Magnolia Pictures as the distributor. It will open in theaters throughout the country on March 1 and will be available on-demand (through iTunes, Amazon.com, and other outlets).
We urge all Bread members to see this film. We have resources to help you study the issues raised in the film, as well as materials to distribute at screenings. You can preorder them from Bread's online store or by calling 800-822-7323.
Bread’s association with Participant Media does not end when the film hits the theaters. We are also partners in the social campaign accompanying the film. Through A Place at the Table’s social action campaign, Bread members will have more avenues for action—at both the national and local levels. Bread for the World and Participant Media will regularly ask our advocates to take various actions throughout this campaign. To join the campaign, text FOOD to 77177.
"Jesus tells us to give them something to eat, and the film shows that our churches do a good job of providing food through food pantries and soup kitchens," said Rev. David Beckmann. "It also shows that this will never be enough. We need to demand that our government get serious about ending hunger."
[This piece originally appeared in the February edition of Bread's e-newsletter.]
By Robin Stephenson
“Hunger is a political condition,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) yesterday, in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives. A long-time champion of the anti-hunger movement, McGovern is encouraging the use of a new hashtag on the social media network Twitter: #EndHungerNow.
Social networks are about conversations and national conversations influence members of Congress. We have the resources to end hunger, but we need to build political will. Increased public dialogue around the issue of hunger can help convince both Congress and the administration that ending hunger must be a national priority.
One of the most important, but least talked about, stories to emerge about the economic downturn is that the safety net has worked. “It’s important to point out that even though over 50 million people were food insecure, the vast majority had a safety net that prevented them from actually starving,” McGovern said during his speech.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is largely responsible for keeping food on the tables of those Americans most affected by unemployment and under-employment. Yet during last year’s farm bill negotiations, the House Committee on Agriculture proposed $16.5 billion in cuts to the vital program. As many as 3 million people would have been cut out of SNAP and 280,000 children would have lost their school meals.
Members of Congress need to hear our call to prioritize ending hunger, so we must speak up, and use all channels available to us in order to get that message across. McGovern will continue to do weekly "End Hunger Now" speeches on the floor and ask that you join him online, using the #EndHungerNow hashtag. Join the conversation—and tag your members of Congress in a tweet while you're at it.
Here is a video of yesterday's floor speech:
And if you aren't on Twitter, you can still influence your members of Congress and encourage them to create a circle of protection around SNAP. Write or email your representative and senators, or consider making use of public dialogue by writing an op-ed or letter to the editor and submitting it to your local newspaper.
Robin Stephenson is national social media lead and senior regional organizer, western hub, at Bread for the World.
Sharmila Chaudhari feeds her daughter Sanjana, 19 months, at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Home in Dhangadhi, Nepal, on Sunday, April 29, 2012. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)
By Marsha Casey
Have you bought a snack today? Grabbing a bag of chips and a soda from a vending machine can easily cost about $2, right? Would you be shocked to learn that almost half of the world's people live on $2 a day or less—about the same amount of money that you might spend on a quick treat?
Although progress has been made in the fight against hunger and poverty, people around the world continue to suffer: An estimated 925 million of the world's people are hungry, and there were 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty in 2005. Children are hit especially hard. Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes.
Are you wondering what you can do to change these statistics? Here are three tips to help you begin advocating on behalf of hungry and poor people around the world.
Learn about the issues. Hunger is a global problem that affects people in the United States and around the world. Take the time to investigate the “why” behind world hunger and poverty. Start by reading materials available on Bread for the World's website and in our store.
Get your family, friends, church, and community involved. Spread the word and teach others about hunger and poverty. The more people get involved, the easier it will be to end hunger in our time.
Take Action. Volunteering and making donations both play a significant part in helping hungry and poor people, but advocacy is key to lasting change. Bread for the World advocates contact Congress—by mail, email and phone—and urge them to work to prioritize the needs of hungry and poor people. Join us!
While many people in this day and age don’t have to wonder where their next meal will come from, there are still mothers walking for miles to fetch water for their children, fathers who don't have enough money to feed their families, and children who goes to sleep hungry each night. Become an advocate and make a difference in someone’s life.
Marsha Casey is a media relations intern at Bread for the World. She is a student at Montgomery College Takoma Park, Silver Spring Campus.
By Keaton Andreas
Are you called? It’s a question that rattles around in my head and reverberates within my soul. Growing up, it was this question that served as my guiding light. It has always begged me to consider the larger plan that God has for my life and if I am willing to surrender to that plan. It is a question asked forcefully in churches by the visiting missionary, compelling his or her audience to consider it. It is an honest inquiry that simultaneously serves to challenge a person on how their life is being lived and whether or not they are willing to let God use their life for a higher purpose.
When I entered discussions at Bread for the World about our involvement in this year’s Justice Conference, I could think of no better question to ask. Our organization is one with a vision to end hunger. Through direct advocacy campaigns we urge our nation’s leaders to consider, first and foremost, those who would go hungry without help. It is a grand vision and one that fills the prophetic tradition of the Bible.
One day last year, as I was flying back from a work trip in Houston, I channeled all of these thoughts into the script for the “Are You Called?” video. It takes the language of calling as I have described it and focuses it around Bread for the World’s mission. In this manner the script seeks to root Bread for the World in both our advocacy work and our place within God’s mission while, at the same time, asking an honest and challenging question to the person watching.
Bread for the World will present “Are You Called?” at the 2013 Justice Conference on February 22 and 23 held in Philadelphia. There is still time to register. Also join us at the Justice Conference for the pre-conference workshop "Transformational Advocacy: A Faithful Witness to the Reign of God." And stop by our exhibit table and let us know if YOU are called.
Thank you for your extra generosity at the end of the year! Because of gifts from you and other Bread members, we were able to reach and exceed our $100,000 online goal between December 20 and 31, raising more than $120,000. This means that $100,000 of the total will be matched dollar for dollar by several generous Bread donors, bringing our grand total raised to $220,000!
Bread for the World continues to be blessed by the giving spirit of our members. You make our work on behalf of hungry and poor people possible. It is because of you that we’ve been able to make lasting changes that ensure parents are able to feed their children—like the recent extensions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit, both of which provide support to low-income working families.
Your support makes a huge difference for hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad. We are truly grateful for your partnership in our work to help end hunger. Thank you!
The Why Poverty? films (which were commissioned by the international non-profit STEPS, the same group behind the Why Democracy? project) are all themed around poverty, wealth, and inequality. The films, originally broadcast around the world in November and December, include "Poor Us: An Animated History," a myth-busting look at the history of poverty, and "Land Rush," (above), a look at how a proposed commercial sugar cane operation in Mali threatens small-scale rice farmers—and their ability to feed their communities.
The Why Poverty? films aren't pushing for any single, specific solution to global poverty, but the filmmakers do hope that the documentaries will inspire those who watch them to ask questions about hunger and poverty and why it persists. Learn more about the origins of the project at whypoverty.net.
Photo: Friends who are part of the jjajja (grandmother) group at St. Francis Healthcare Services in Jinja, Uganda, laugh over their lunch on Saturday, May 21, 2012. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)
It is the most basic of all human rights and over 100 countries have some level of reference to this right in their constitution. And yet over 900 million people live in perpetual hunger. 'Give us today the food we need' is the first material petition in the Lord’s Prayer. And the fact that it flows from the lofty statements about God’s transcendence is a clear commitment of a God who is concerned about our most basic needs.
—Rev. Joel Edwards, international director of Micah Challenge, in the 2013 Hunger Report
Today is Human Rights Day, an annual celebration of human rights and an opportunity to advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone
On Dec. 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—Human Rights Day has been observed every year, on Dec. 10, ever since.
This year, the spotlight is on "the rights of all people — women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized — to make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making," according to the UN.
If you're a hunger advocate, you can use your voice today to remind everyone—your friends, family, co-workers, and elected officials—that the right to food is a basic, fundamental human right. A few suggestions:
- Contact your members of Congress and tell them to protect SNAP, WIC, and other federal nutrition programs that help families put food on their tables.
- Inform others about poverty-focused foreign assistance, which accounts for just 0.6 percent of the federal budget, but feeds millions of people--and saves millions of lives--around the world each year.
- Spread the good news about the extraordinary progress has occurred in countries around the world in reducing rates of hunger and poverty.
The 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals has arrived.
This year's report focuses on meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets and setting the next round of global development goals once the MDGs expire at the end of 2015. The 2000s were a decade of extraordinary progress against poverty and hunger, but with just three years left before the deadline of the MDGs, a final push and a strong finish will be critical to build momentum for what comes next.
The report (hard copies of which are now available for sale in the Bread store) is accompanied by the launch of an interactive website. Below is a list of just a few of the web features to explore:
"Tohomina: Fighting Malnutrition in Bangladesh" tells the story of Tohomina Akter of Barisal, Bangladesh, who is working to keep her 17-month-old daughter, Adia, healthy and nourished so that she can become a doctor one day. Child malnutrition that results in stunting is one of many issues targeted by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Read guest pieces on from a wide range of topic experts, including U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Michal Challenge International Director Joel Edwards.
The Report in Photos
See the 2013 Hunger Report through a series of photographs highlighting key issues.
By Christine Melendez Ashley and Faustine Wabwire
Bread for the World’s efforts to create a circle of protection and push Congress to
reduce our deficits in a responsible manner are critical to ensuring
vulnerable people affected by natural disasters at home and abroad have
the support they need. These programs continue to be at risk as Congress
works to craft a farm bill and a deficit reduction package.
In the past year, Bread has worked to protect and strengthen domestic nutrition programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and child nutrition programs. These programs have provided quick and substantial help to New York, New Jersey, and other affected states in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. For example:
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rushed emergency food to affected areas for distribution through food banks and emergency food channels.
- USDA has authorized 13 affected states to issue replacement SNAP benefits for food purchased and lost in the month of October. They also authorized an extra two weeks of benefits for everyone on SNAP in and around New York City—a benefit totaling $65 million.
- Some of the worst affected states have also been authorized to allow SNAP recipients to purchase hot, ready-to-eat foods. This is not allowed under normal SNAP rules.
- USDA approved free school lunches for all children in New York public school districts for the month of November.
Bread has also been a strong advocate for effective foreign assistance programs and international food aid. In the last several years, Bread has pushed for robust funding of these programs. Hurricane relief efforts abroad are being carried out through foreign assistance programs at USAID. For example:
- USAID has provided 50 metric tons of food aid to Haiti to help address food insecurity concerns.
- USAID has distributed plastic sheeting to help approximately 10,000 people, family hygiene kits have helped nearly 12,500 people, and an estimated 6,400 blankets.
- USAID has also provided items such as wheelbarrows and tools helpful for clean-up to displacement camps most affected by Hurricane Sandy.
In the last two years, Congress has introduced proposals to decimate these programs. Despite these threats, Bread has pushed back and prevented these proposals from becoming law, thus enabling these programs to respond quickly and effectively to dramatic need. As Congress works to avoid the “fiscal cliff” and negotiate a budget deal, we must continue to push for a circle of protection around programs that effectively serve the most vulnerable in the United States and around the world.
Christine Melendez Ashley is a policy analyst in Bread for the World's government relations department.
Faustine Wabwire is Bread for the World Institute's foreign assistance policy analyst.