340 posts categorized "Global Hunger"
Migrant workers load cucumbers into a truck in Blackwater, Virginia, on the farm of Ricky Horton and Sherilyn Shepard on Monday, July 25, 2011. Almost three-fourths of all U.S. hired farm workers are immigrants, most of them unauthorized. The U.S. food system—particularly fruit and vegetable production—depends on immigrants more than any other sector of the U.S. economy. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)
By Kiara Ortiz
How can someone live and work on a farm and suffer from hunger? It doesn’t make sense. And yet this sad irony is a reality for many immigrant farm workers in the United States.
Nearly three-fourths of U.S. farm workers are immigrants, many working in the U.S. without authorization and filling low-wage jobs that citizens are reluctant to take. Yet immigrant farm workers, who are so vital to the U.S. food system, disproportionately suffer from hunger and poverty.
Immigrants come to America in search of a better life, but are often exploited on farms. Pressure from immigration enforcement, low wages, inconsistent work schedules, and other inequalities can shatter their dreams. These workers are vital to the economy of this nation—a path to citizenship allowing these workers and their families access to federal anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs, such as SNAP and EITC, is an important first step in immigration reform.
During Bread for the World’s 2013 National Gathering, I had the privilege of sitting in on the Immigration as a Hunger and Poverty Issue workshop. I was lucky enough to hear Lucas Benitez tell his story. Benitez is originally from Mexico but lives in a small town in Florida called Immokalee, an area where many Mexican, Guatemalan, and Haitian immigrants live. As an activist in Florida, and the co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, he shared his experiences and struggles as an immigrant working in the fields of Immokalee.
“We live—no, we survive—off the work we do in the fields,” he said. “We work hard to put food on everyone’s table but our own. Why does it have to be that way?”
Why should immigrant farm workers be paid less money just because they are “desperate” for the wages? Wages should be based on work ethic and competency—immigrants, regardless of their status, should receive equal and fair pay for their hard work to provide food for our tables.
Our country stands against cruel and unusual punishment—it’s a value outlined in our Constitution. So, how can we stand by as immigrants endure strenuous labor conditions, day in and day out, producing food, but not earning enough to feed themselves?
When advocates unite, we can change things. We live in a country built on the ideals of freedom and equality, yet we continue to allow immigrant farm workers to be dehumanized and mistreated. It’s time to stop being complacent about this. The current system that perpetuates hunger both here and abroad can, and must, change. We need to fight for fair and equal pay, better working conditions, a legal means of being in the United States for those who require it, and respect for all farm workers.
Kiara Ortiz is a sophomore at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. She is a media relations intern at Bread for the World.
Act Now! The Senate is expected to vote on a bipartisan immigration reform bill this week! Tell your U.S. senators to 1) support any amendment that addresses the root causes of undocumented immigration, such as extreme poverty in countries of origin; and 2) oppose any amendments that would make it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to earn a path to citizenship or would prohibit authorized immigrants and their citizen family members from receiving needed assistance such as WIC, SNAP, and EITC benefits. Call toll-free at 800-826-3688, or send an email today.
Santiago Cruz, in the Mexico countryside, December 12, 2010. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)
In the short documentary Stay, Santiago Cruz and his wife, Victoria, talk about being pushed into a difficult decision: continue to languish in deep poverty or migrate.
Deciding to escape hunger and poverty is not difficult, but the price is often painful. Santiago left Victoria
and his children behind in Oaxaca, Mexico, and faced the uncertainty and peril of migration—their only hope for a better life. Most undocumented immigrants live precarious and vulnerable
Bread for the World's 2013 Offering of Letters aims for the political will to ensure a place at the table for all God's children. This mandate provides important guidance about immigration. As the Senate debates, and perhaps votes, on comprehensive immigration reform this week (S 744), we see an opportunity to alleviate hunger, both in this country and abroad.
Simply put, immigration is a hunger issue. And hunger is an immigration issue.
Half of all laborers harvesting U.S. crops are undocumented; they are often exploited and face some of the highest rates of poverty in the United States—as much as 35 percent, far above the national rate. It is important to remember that these are working individuals who contribute to the economy of this nation. Immigration reform should provide a path to citizenship for these individuals, and it should allow their families to access programs like SNAP and EITC.
The current system, which perpetuates hunger here and abroad can, and must, change.
A holistic approach to immigration would also alleviate the poverty abroad that pushes families like Santiago’s to choose migration. The Senate debate and bill have thus far failed to consider why people leave their homelands. Fewer people will feel compelled to migrate if poverty were reduced in their home countries.
Santiago was eventually able to return and stay in Oaxaca after he and Victoria were given a hand up by a Mexican nonprofit partnered with Catholic Relief Services. CEDICAM helped them with sustainable farming techniques, which provided enough food and money for them to stay together.
Bread for the World Institute has extensively researched the
relationship between poverty and immigration, and we will urge Congress to craft
legislation that reforms our immigration system in ways that help end
Watch the award winning documentary Stay on YouTube and share it with your friends.
We are deeply saddened by the passing of five-term New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg. Our prayers and condolences go out to his family, staff, and our Bread for the World members in his home state.
Sen. Lautenberg passed away this morning at the age of 89.
During his service in Congress, Lautenberg served on critical committees with jurisdiction over policies that affect poor and hungry people. In 2007, he authored a bipartisan amendment with Sen. Richard Lugar that would have reformed the farm bill and increased investment in nutrition programs. More recently, we are grateful for the senator’s commitment to protect the most vulnerable, as displayed during his floor vote in support of the Gillibrand amendment to the 2012 farm bill—an amendment that would have restored a $4.1 billion cut in SNAP funding included in the Senate bill.
The late senator also served on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he was a member of the State Foreign Operations Subcommittee.
Photo: Sen. Lautenberg’s official senate portrait.
By David Beckmann
Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) have just introduced an amendment to the Senate Farm Bill that establishes improvements to our international food aid program.
Amendment 1079 increases the authorization for the Local and Regional Procurement (LRP) program from $40 million per year to $60 million per year from 2014 through 2018.
Bread for the World supported the LRP pilot program when it was originally authorized in the 2008 farm bill, and now we’re hoping that it will be expanded.
The pilot program demonstrated the benefit of purchasing food aid locally and regionally to meet the needs of those suffering from hunger. Purchasing food aid locally is cheaper, quicker, and supports farmers in developing countries. These are smart reforms and we should invest additional funds into this successful program.
The bipartisan Coon-Johanns amendment makes this program permanent and substantially increases the authorized funding level.
Your U.S. senators need to hear from you ASAP! The Senate is considering the amendment soon. Don't delay! Call 800-326-4941 today, and tell your U.S. senators,
Vote “yes” on the Coons-Johanns food aid reform amendment.
Thank you for using your voice to help ensure a place at the table for all God’s people.
David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.
The American Jewish World Service, Bread for the World, CARE, The Modernizing Assistance Network, Oxfam America and Save the Children released the following statement today in advance of the Senate and House committee mark-ups of the 2013 Farm Bill:
“With more than 870 million people suffering from hunger worldwide and Congress looking to ensure wise use of taxpayer funds at home, the 2013 Farm Bill represents a crucial opportunity to make our international food aid programs both more efficient and more cost-effective.
Unfortunately, the current Senate draft Farm Bill, due to be marked up next week, includes the same incremental steps toward reform as last year, but fails to address the fundamental changes that are so badly needed. We urge Senate leaders to work with the Administration to achieve stronger reforms in food aid programs so that American tax dollars can go farther and American compassion can reach more people in need. On the House side, we remain disappointed that the House Agriculture Committee draft once again fails to incorporate any reforms.
In his 2014 budget request, President Obama proposed common sense reforms that would feed millions more people and save lives by delivering aid faster with no additional cost to the taxpayer. This proposal sets an important precedent in building a more modern food aid program. Proposed reforms include allowing for greater flexibility in how the U.S. delivers food to hungry people overseas and ending the inefficient method of having aid groups sell food aid overseas to fund development programs, a practice known as “monetization.” This increased flexibility is a part of a package that would allow food aid to go farther, feeding 2-4 million additional people. These reforms have been greeted with interest by members on both sides of the aisle.
While we are supporting the Administration’s request that the FY 14 Appropriations bills be the vehicle for food aid reform, we recognize that there are several potential paths forward for Congress to achieve these much needed improvements to our international food aid program, and we are fully committed to working with leaders in Congress, including members of the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees, to get it done this year."Photo: Somali woman and a malnourished child exit from the medical tent after the child receives emergency medical treatment from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), an active regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations. Somalia is the country worst affected by a severe drought that has ravaged large swaths of the Horn of Africa, leaving an estimated 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. (UN Photo/Stuart Price)
DeEtte Peck uses her Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card in Portland, Ore., to purchase food. The card helps people with low incomes purchase food through SNAP. (Brian Duss for Bread for the World)
If you were to lose your job or source of income tomorrow, how would you get by? Would you rely on savings? Friends and family members? Government safety net programs?
Marketplace is asking these questions of its readers in a new feature called "Show Us Your Safety Net." The answers are interesting, and surprisingly similar. When it comes to federal safety net programs, it's not so much a question of whether people who fall on hard times will need them or not, but rather how soon they will need them.
Some of the people who responded to the Marketplace survey said they sought out benefits such as SNAP (formerly food stamps) right away. Others drained retirement funds, savings accounts, or the savings accounts of their loved ones before seeking out government assistance. Most people ended up needing a combination of unemployment benefits, federal food programs, and direct service help. Although the user-submitted stories are anecdotal, it doesn't seem that many Americans—regardless of income bracket—are able to scrape by on savings alone when faced with job loss, illness, or other major life events that affects income.
Here are just a few of the stories:
Used up savings, sold assets, got food stamps, got prescription assistance, applied for (but have not yet) received housing assistance.” —Deborah,Tigard, Oregon
I lost my 10-year job in March 2011. I was old enough to take social security but did not take that option right away. I have a child to support and a wife who was also jobless who had run out of unemployment benefits. What kept us going was my unemployment benefits and food stamps, although these did not come to enough to pay rent and COBRA premiums, let alone our food and utilities. So I tapped my savings.” —Geoff, Belmont, MassachusettsI was in a terrible car accident last December getting ready to start back at university after a 13-year gap. I lost both my jobs related to the accident, couldn't work due to a broken shoulder (still can't). I applied for every program I could as soon as I could. Was able to get free medical from the county. Qualified for food stamps and short-term disability, but went with no income for two months. Had some help from friends, relatives, and church. Not sure what's next, hopefully the disability extension is approved.” —Valerie, Canoga Park, California
Federal safety net programs work to keep hunger at bay even as unemployment and poverty remain high. More of us need help right now, and federal safety net programs are there to catch us when we fall.
Right now, Congress is writing the farm bill, and SNAP, one of our country's most important safety net programs, is at risk of cuts, as is international food aid. Your lawmakers need to hear from you. Tell your senators and representative that any farm bill must not increase hunger in the United States or around the world.
Call or email your members of Congress and tell them to ensure a place at the table for all people by protecting and strengthening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and international food aid in the farm bill.
CWS CROP walk participant signs a Bread for the World petition to President Obama asking him to set a goal and work with Congress on a plan to end hunger in the United States and abroad. (Robin Stephenson).
By Robin Stephenson
Ending hunger takes a village. Churches, non-profits, and faithful individuals respond to hunger in different ways. Holistic approaches to fighting hunger acknowledge immediate need while also advocating for changes to policies that address the root causes of hunger and poverty.
CROP Hunger Walks, community-wide events sponsored by CWS and organized by local volunteers as a way to raise funds to end hunger, illustrate that action and advocacy can join forces in one event.
Last Sunday, Church World Service, Bread for the World, and the Portland, Ore., community came together around the issue of hunger. Nearly 100 participants, old and young—some participating as congregational teams—walked through sunny downtown Portland on a spring day. The walkers, who carried banners and hand-made signs, raised awareness of hunger and drew questions from others enjoying the warm afternoon.
Volunteer Lisa Wenzlick coordinated the walkers, and Steven Anderson served as treasurer. First Christian Church provided hospitality as well as a starting and ending point. Participants raised funds which will be used support local efforts to address hunger as well as CWS’s global work.
The day was rounded out with an advocacy action on behalf of hungry and poor people as individuals signed Bread for the World’s petition asking the president to set a goal and work with Congress on a plan to end hunger in the United States and abroad.
Bread for the World has long had a close relationship with CWS and many CROP Walks nationwide are a reflection of this partnership.
If you would like to get involved, find out if there is a CROP Walk near you or learn how you can organize one in your community.
Fried crickets for sale at Chiang Mai Night Bazaar in Thailand, by flickr user avlxyz.
By Nina Keehan
How would you feel about eating a cricket muffin? Cricket bread? A cricket tortilla? Well a team of students from McGill University are vying for a chance to make cricket-infused food a worldwide sensation.
McGill University is one of five finalists in this year’s prestigious Hult Prize competition, which gives MBA students a chance to solve some of the world’s greatest problems. This year, teams are tackling the global food crisis. The competition works something like this: groups of 4-5 students from universities across the globe develop social enterprises that can successfully and substantially reduce hunger. The students focus on urban slums, where over 200 million people worldwide are food insecure. Whichever team has the best idea will receive $1 million to actually make it happen.
The facts about global hunger are sobering. Nearly 1 billion people are hungry or suffer from malnutrition and every five seconds a child dies from hunger-related causes. That’s partially because extremely poor families spend more than 70 percent of their income on food, trapping them in a cycle of hunger, poverty, and illness.
If you're squeamish about the idea of buttering up a piece of cricket-infused bread, know that you're in the global minority. The UN Food Standards Authority states that about 2.5 billion people around the world already incorporate insects regularly into their diets, with grasshoppers being one of the most popular. They are low-fat, high-protein, high in omega-3, and much easier to mass produce than other sources of protein.
The McGill team’s basic idea is to produce crickets on an industrial scale, starting with urban dwellers who would raise them, eat them, and sell them to the local market. Families would be provided with a light, collapsible metal cylinder that attracts and traps crickets--up to 11 pounds in two months. Whatever was left after local sales and consumption could to be made into cricket flour that would then be subtly added to the local diet staple, whether that be corn, rice, or wheat.
The idea of consuming bugs for protein has grown in popularity over recent years. In fact, in 2011 the EU promised up to €1.5m in funding for research on producing “purified or partially purified insect protein,” and other alternative protein sources to help meet the Millennium Development Goals, eradicate famine, and improve environmental sustainability.
So get ready, because the key to solving hunger might just include tapping this market. One of the McGill students, Zev Thompson, told the Examiner.com, "Having now eaten them [crickets], it [now] seems normal...I wonder if crickets today are what sushi was 20 or 30 years ago--a weird exotic thing that breaks into the mainstream."
Only time will tell.
Nina Keehan, a media relations intern at Bread for the World, is a senior magazine journalism and public health dual major at Syracuse University.
By Nina Keehan
Many Americans have heard that the White House recently cancelled its public tours as a result of budget cuts from the sequester, leaving thousands of eager ticket holders disappointed. This is a bummer—especially if you’re a middle schooler on spring break.
But let's put this in perspective. While these shuttered tours might get a ton of publicity from the media, they are certainly not the worst the sequester has to offer—not even close.
Some of the cuts will cost lives.
A new infographic produced by InterAction reveals the horrifying impact sequestration will have on people helped by foreign assistance programs worldwide. Poverty-focused development assistance will be cut by 5 percent, if the sequester is allowed to stand. Five percent might not seem like much, until you look at this:
Nina Keehan, a media relations intern at Bread for the World, is a senior magazine journalism and public health dual major at Syracuse University.
“The sequester breaks the circle of protection,” says Bread for the World President Rev. David Beckmann in a recent interview on “Viewpoint” (Current TV) with John Fugelsang.
Last week, nearly 100 pastors and religious leaders from across a wide spectrum of the church addressed our nation’s leaders through a joint letter. They counseled President Barack Obama, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to be clear about the moral choices they are making, as the Bible tells us that the government has responsibilities concerning poor people.
The consequences, both globally and domestically, of indiscriminate cuts are dire for hungry and poor people. If action isn't taken to fix the sequester, 600,000 women and children will lose their WIC nutrition assistance. Cuts to foreign assistance will cost lives as vulnerable people overseas will no longer have access to medication for AIDS and tuberculosis. For more on sequestration, and a list of anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs that are affected, download our new fact sheet, "The Consequences of Sequestration ."
In the “Viewpoint” interview, Rev. Beckmann notes that the decisions around the deficit reflect our national values: “This is a tough decision. You know, it’s not a trivial decision but figuring out how to cut back—how to reduce our deficit without hurting people who are having a hard time feeding their kids—is really important to our national character.”
It’s not too late to avoid the worst of the effects of the sequester if Congress develops a balanced approach to deficit reduction. Any solution must include both smart spending cuts and new revenue in order to put our nation on a sustainable path while maintaining our commitment to reducing hunger and poverty. It all depends on the level of outrage and outcry from the American public. Join Bread for the World this week in asking Congress to replace the sequester. Calling your members of Congress at 1-800-826-3688 and urge them to support programs for hungry and poor people.
Get updates on issues and actions to take on behalf of hungry people.