340 posts categorized "Global Hunger"
The image of the garden, a biblical paradise of bounty and temptation, has held a special place in spirituality for thousands of years. Yet, for many in today’s society, the harvest and security of that garden is elusive. Food may be plentiful but it is out of reach for as many as 3.9 million families in America. And though some people still work the soil with their hands, they often live in poverty. The way we have structured our lives has led to a growing disconnect between us and the food we need to survive.
A panel of religious leaders discussed these issues in “Faith, Food and Poverty,” an interfaith discussion held last month, hosted by Washington National Cathedral. Despite the panel being made up of a Muslim, a Jew, and a Catholic, the consensus was unanimous: the interfaith community has not taken hunger and poverty seriously as systemic issues. While individual churches, and even whole religious groups, have donated generously to the fight, there is still a lack of collaboration between faiths, which could make a huge difference.
"The greatest activists should be people of faith," said Dr. Hisham Moharram, a Muslim environmental leader and director of Good Tree Farm of New Egypt, N.J. "What good is our faith if it doesn’t go beyond us?"
All three leaders stressed the importance of religious organizations and interfaith food communities continuing their work feeding hungry people while America waits for Washington to make improvements in the minimum wage and programs that address hunger and poverty.
Professor David Cloutier, a Catholic moral theologian at Mount St. Mary’s University, stressed the importance of encouraging a sacramental food economy in which those who have enough to eat do so responsibility, while acknowledging the interdependence that exists between humans and their food.
Eating responsibly has historically been stressed by religious doctrine. As Rabbi Kevin Kleinman from Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pa., pointed out, the Jewish faith has always promoted seasonal eating, smaller portions, and kindness to animals.
They all agreed that fighting hunger and poverty in a sustainable and collaborative way must start with discussions.
“The network is there. If we worked together, we could combat the causes of hunger and poverty. But a lot more collaborative effort must be asserted,” said Moharram. “Take the old adage, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,’ and expand on it. Teach the man to market his fish so he can feed others.”
It appears that with a little effort the garden might not always be a mirage.
Nina Keehan, a media relations intern at Bread for the World, is a senior magazine journalism and public health dual major at Syracuse University.
Photo caption: Martha and her daughter clean beans grown in their garden in the highlands of Nicaragua. (Richard Leonardi)
Jane Sabbi, a farmer in Uganda, learned to plant more nutritious crops like these beans after joining a Ugandan nonprofit farming collective that receives U.S. foreign assistance. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)
By Alex LokenIt’s no secret that these are tough times, and unfortunately our nation’s ability to provide aid to people in need around the world is in serious jeopardy. While the debate over our country’s fiscal health rages on, deficit-reduction proposals that include spending cuts to international food aid, Feed the Future, and other programs related to poverty-focused development assistance (PFDA) continue to be part of the discussion.
Not to mention the fact that the threat of across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, continues to loom: unless Congress acts, these cuts will take effect at the beginning of March. An estimated 5.1 percent cut would result in over $1 billion cut from PFDA programs—that means millions of people would be without food aid, farmer training, education, and lifesaving medicine.
Poverty-focused programs accomplish so much and reach millions of people around the world, while representing less than 1 percent of the entire U.S. federal budget. These programs are vital to lifting people around the world out of poverty. They also promote a positive image of the United States overseas, strengthen our national security by encouraging stability, and support jobs both at home and abroad.
Funding for PFDA has more or less flat-lined over the past few years, but these programs have continued to provide lifesaving food aid, help thousands of farmers learn techniques that help increase their yields and incomes, slow mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, and educate children. Still, our work is not done: there are 900 million people who go to bed hungry every night and more than 1 billion people who live on less than $1.25 a day. But if PFDA funding is cut, it will be incredibly difficult to continue to work toward a world without hunger and poverty.
We all agree that America’s budget deficit must be dealt with, but cutting PFDA won’t help balance the ledger. As those on Capitol Hill work to come to an agreement around the debt ceiling and government spending, we urge Congress to protect programs that serve the world’s poor and vulnerable people.
Alex Loken is the government relations research assistant at Bread for the World.
For more information on PFDA, please see the Bread for the World Policy brief "Poverty-Focused Development Assistance 101."
Jane Sebbi, carries matoke scraps to feed her pigs in Kamuli, Uganda. In addition to animal husbandry, Sebbi grows corn, bananas, coffee, amaranth, potatoes, soy beans, common beans and sweet potatoes. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)
By Robin Stephenson
How much do you know about hunger and poverty? Test your knowledge by taking this short quiz. We hope these questions—which cover great milestones in the fight against hunger and also statistics that remind us of the work still to be done—will encourage you to join us in asking the president to make ending hunger a priority.
Tonight, President Barack Obama will speak to Congress, and the nation, in his State of the Union address. We're hoping he will use the opportunity to talk about ending hunger in the United States and abroad.
So, once you've taken the quiz, take a few seconds to sign this petition asking President Obama to set a goal and work with Congress to end hunger. Pass this quiz around—through email, Twitter, and/or Facebook—and help spread the word about the seriousness of hunger and what can be done to end it in our time.
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.
Get updates on issues and actions to take on behalf of hungry people.