220 posts categorized "Hunger QOTD"
“Partly because of the War on Poverty, we cut the poverty rate in half during the 1960s and early 1970s. But we haven’t made much progress since then, mainly because reducing poverty hasn’t been a national priority. No president since Lyndon Johnson has made reducing poverty one of his top five priorities.”
- Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, in today's press release "Bread for the World Welcomes New Debate about Poverty."
Today marks 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty." This year's Hunger Report, Ending Hunger in America, outlines a four-step plan, which includes policies to reduce unemployment and improve the quality of jobs. It also urges a strong safety net, investments in people, and partnerships between community organizations and government programs.
Congress has several issues on its agenda in January that will have an impact on poverty in America. Federal safety-net programs have helped many families weather the Great Recession, but poverty rates remain high. Until the U.S. unemployment rates are reduced to pre-recession levels, unemployment insurance plays a vital role in helping the long-term unemployed as they seek work. Take a moment now and urge your members to pass an extension of emergency unemployment insurance, restoring vital aid to 1.3 million job seekers.
The farm bill conference committee is expected to release its final report soon. Although poverty has increased during the Great Recession, food insecurity has stayed relatively stable. SNAP (formerly food stamps) has been critical keeping food on the table for 47 million struggling Americans during tough economic times. Tell Congress: now is not the time to be taking food away from struggling families.
"We all deserve better than this," writes Tara Dublin of Portland, Ore. In a recent Mom's Rising blog post, Dublin, an unemployed single mother who lost her job in social media, likens her experience to living a nightmare.
In last month’s budget deal, Congress failed to extend EUC - emergency benefits for the long-term unemployed. Every week that Congress delays an extension, 72,000 people lose their benefits. Congress will consider another extension in the next few weeks with the first test this morning in the Senate.
In a Dec. 3 press conference, Labor Secretary Tom Perez talked about the plight of the unemployed missed by statistics. "They have been looking day in and day out for work. They are trying to feed their families," The Durango Herald reported Perez as saying.
Many of the long-term unemployed have used their savings to fill in financial gaps as they look for work, and unemployment benefits are their last lifeline. "They are trying to stave off foreclosure," said Perez. "They are making judgments between food and medicine – judgments that no person in America or anywhere should have to make.”
But more than the bills that pile up, just keeping your head up is difficult, says Tara Dublin. "This is not where I expected to be at the age of 44," writes the exhausted single mother, "especially not when I had my life together so good 4 years ago." Dublin remembers when life was easier. "But then 2009 happened and now here we are, and it is time this Dark Age of Awful comes to an end.”
Although the economy is slowly improving, it is not enough. There are three applicants for every job opening in America. Today's vote will test the temperature of America and our willingness to leave an estimated five million unemployed workers out in the cold this year.
In the Senate, Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller and Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Jack Reed have authored a bill that would extend the benefits retroactively for an additional three months. The Senate postponed a vote scheduled last night for 10 EST this morning, allowing senators caught in bad weather time to reach Washington, D.C. It is yet unclear when and if the House, which returns from the holiday recess today, will take up the bipartisan bill.
Call 800-826-3688 now or email your members of Congress today. Tell them to extend unemployment insurance immediately as their first action in 2014.
Photo: Construction workers experienced the highest percentage point increase in long-term unemployment during the recession. Read more how full employment is the first step to ending hunger in America in the 2014 Hunger Report (Rick Reinhard).
"And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end” (Psalm 119:33).
- Rev. Billy Graham, in an excerpt from a prayer written for The Saturday Evening Post in 2008.
Photo: Sharmila Chaudhari feeds her daughter Sanjana, 19 months, at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Home in Dhangadhi, Nepal, on Sunday, April 29, 2012. The 2014 Offering of Letters, launching later this month, will focus on U.S. food aid. Globally, 1 in 4 children under the age of 5 is stunted because of malnutrition (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World).
"At its core, Christmas is about the seemingly impossible becoming a reality. An unwed girl can conceive the divine, and a child born in a manger can usher in the kingdom of God. Our faith teaches that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us. The Gospel message that the hungry will be filled is attainable here and now."
--David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World, in "A Wave of Prayer to End Hunger, Protect SNAP" printed in The Huffington Post Relgion Blog on December 6, 2013.
Protecting SNAP (formerly food stamps) in the farm bill is attainable. As we head toward the new year and members of Congress finalize the farm bill, urge them to protect programs like SNAP and international food aid. Now is not the time to take food from hungry people.
Photo: The 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree lighting ceremony was held on the west lawn of the Capitol building on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Forest Service/Robert H. Westover).
Night sets over Antigua, Guatemala, at the Cerro de la Cruz (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World).
While the charitable work we do as caring people is important, we must remember that all the food provided by all the charities in our country amounts to only 4 percent of the food assistance available for poor and hungry people. Our government provides the rest. That means Bread's advocacy work has a huge impact on caring for the most vulnerable people among us. I'm convinced that supporting Bread is the very best way to leverage my charitable giving. That's why I've been a Bread member for 30 years.
-- Rick Steves is the host of public television's most-watched, longest-running travel series, "Rick Steves' Europe," and the author of more than 50 travel guidebooks.
Help fill the hungry with good things this holiday season. Your year-end gift supports Bread for the World’s efforts to change the policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist. Every dollar you give helps Bread win more than $100 in assistance for hungry and poor people. Will you help with a special gift?
Photo: The Guatemalan Alliance to End Hunger works with the Ministry of Public Health to distribute drink mixes to families at risk of malnutrition (Alliance to End Hunger).
"It is quite moving to have a pope whose heart is capturing the world – Catholics and non-Catholics – and drawing us together for common cause."
—Lynne Hybels, co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, and author of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World
Today, join Bread for the World, and people around the world, in supporting Pope Francis and Caritas Internationalis in a prayer wave to end hunger. Please take a moment to pray — individually, in small groups, in community gatherings, at your church — at noon, your local time. This "wave of prayer" across time zones will mark the beginning of a campaign for Roman Catholic-related charities, called "One Human Family, Food for All." For more information, and to watch Pope Francis' video message about the prayer wave, please visit www.bread.org/prayerwave.
Photo: Young women praying (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World).
"People fail to realize the pain and embarrassment that comes from not being able to feed your family."
—Dominic Duren, director of HELP, at the Nov. 25 launch of Bread for the World Institute's 2014 Hunger Report, Ending Hunger in America. HELP is a Cincinnati, Ohio, program that helps returning citizens in the community find jobs that enable them to provide for themselves and their families.
Because a good job is still the best way out of poverty, helping individuals with significant barriers to work improve their prospects for employment is one of the recommendations of the 2014 Hunger Report. Read more in Chapter 3 of the report.
Photo: Dominic Duren and his son, Dominic Jr., are featured on the cover of this year's print report. Here, they take a photo in the basement of St. Francis De Sales in Cincinnati, Ohio (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World).
Many local newspapers have recently published op-eds written by food bank representatives, all of them with a clear message to Congress: if legislators cut nutrition assistance, charity cannot fill the hunger gap.
Many Christians and others are generous in supporting food banks, but with the needs of struggling families they are anticipating, the food banks simply cannot ramp up their assistance quickly enough and will never have the capacity to fill the gap that Congress has created.
Paul Ash, executive director of the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks, talks about a potential $40 billion cut to SNAP (food stamps) in his op-ed "Food Banks can't make up for food stamp benefit cuts," published Nov. 17, 2013, in SF Gate. "[W]e can raise our voice in protest now, or prepare to watch our neighbors go without enough to eat," he writes.
"It's easy to pass off what goes on in Washington as senseless, unwise, irrational, or out of our control," Ash continues. "But it's more useful to be shouting as loud as we can – through our representatives, to the conferees who will cast the votes, and to the White House – that this is not acceptable."
Ash notes in the op-ed that the Nov. 1 SNAP cuts, combined with the $40 billion in proposed cuts in the House version of the farm bill, would mean that every food bank in the nation would have to double the amount of assistance they provide in order to meet demand. Donors, Ash notes, have shown no signs that they would be willing to double their giving, which would leave food banks unable to provide food to people in need of emergency aid.
The next few weeks are critical as members of the farm bill conference committee negotiate a final bill. The cuts that have already taken place have made it more difficult for already-struggling families to put food on the table. As food prices increase and benefits decrease, more families will likely find themselves in need of charitable food donations earlier in the month — but cuts to nutrition assistance will leave a hunger gap that cannot be closed by churches, pantries, or food banks.
Each time a food bank representative speaks out in local papers, which members of Congress read, faithful advocates have an opportunity to amplify that message. When you see such articles, we urge you to write a letter to the editor. Contact your regional organizer if you need assistance or talking points.
With 49 million Americans at risk of hunger, and more than 1 billion people around the world living in extreme poverty, now is the time to raise your voice in protest. SNAP and international food aid programs must be protected in the farm bill. Email or call your member of Congress at 800-826-3688 today.
Photo: A food bank in Alexandria, Va., provides emergency food assistance (Rick Reinhard).
"Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water, and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind, and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves."
The next few days are critical. Congress has only a handful of legislative days remaining to reverse the harmful cuts put in place by sequestration and to pass a farm bill. Besides affecting SNAP, these cuts also threaten funding for international emergency food aid, poverty-focused foreign assistance, nutrition assistance for struggling seniors and pregnant women, and Head Start for low-income children. Take a few moments to call (800-326-4941) or send an email right now.
A child eating a sandwich (Margaret W. Nea).
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