212 posts categorized "Hunger in the News"
Looking for the latest news on hunger and poverty? Here's a roundup of links from around the Web.
"The Good Farmer: Howard G. Buffett's Crusade to Eliminate Hunger in America": Parade profiles Howard G. Buffett—farmer, philanthropist, and son of Warren—who is working to fight hunger, through his own philanthropic foundation and work with Feeding America.
"Hunger in Plain Sight": New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman says that SNAP and food banks need more funding, not less—something that should be apparent to anyone who looks at hunger "from a moral perspective (love thy neighbor, remember?) or a practical one[.]"
"What's Behind Cory Booker's Food Stamp Challenge?": Time takes a hard look at the Newark mayor's SNAP challenge, which kicked off yesterday. Coverage also includes an excellent companion piece, "The Problem With Food Stamp Challenges."
"For the Poor, Recovery Is A Mirage": USA Today visits Troy, Ohio, a rural community that has seen a sharp increase in poverty over the last four years. "As lawmakers in Washington grapple with the "fiscal cliff" and Americans do their holiday shopping, thousands of people in Miami County are managing on little or no income."
"Jo Ann Emerson to Retire from House": Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), an anti-hunger champion who introduced the Feeding America’s Families Act with Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), has announced that she will resign from Congress in February.
As you may have heard by now, the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach—Global Development Goals, was released yesterday. During a launch event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., a panel of experts discussed the report, which calls for a renewed push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline and urges a focus on ending hunger and extreme poverty in new global development goals.
The panel included Hon. Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar, Tanzanian ambassador to the United States; Stephan Bauman, president and CEO of World Relief; Jonathan Shrier, acting special representative for Global Food Security, U.S. Department of State; and Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World Institute. Ndimyake Mwakalyelye, radio and television journalist at Voice of America moderated the event.A few highlights from the discussion are below. (All photos: Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)
By David Beckmann
The 2012 elections are over. Whether your candidates won or lost, we are very thankful to you for raising hunger and poverty as campaign issues.
More than 120,000 of you viewed two video statements in which the presidential candidates explained what they would do to give opportunity to hungry and poor people. With your help, we raised the issues of hunger and poverty, at home and abroad, in the elections.
Now, please join us in asking President Obama to set a goal and work with Congress to enact a plan to end hunger.
The next few months are crucial. The president and Congress must address issues such as the farm bill, expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, and the 2013 federal budget. They also must agree on a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
In the coming weeks we will have several key opportunities to remind our members of Congress not to balance the federal budget on the backs of hungry and poor people, and to instead create a circle of protection around programs vital to hungry and poor people.
Please join us in praying for President Obama and members of Congress.
David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.
Take action! Watch President Obama's video statement and send him a letter asking that he set a goal and work with Congress to enact a plan to end hunger.
You can also contact the president on Twitter, using the sample tweets below:
Don’t forget your promise to do your part to protect vital assistance for the least of these @BarackObama http://ow.ly/f5Scz #talkpoverty
Why, in a world with an abundance of food, are so many hungry? How is it possible that those with access to food can still be at risk of malnutrition?
On World Food Day, Asma Lateef, director of Bread for the World Institute, appeared on Voice of America's "In Focus" program to talk about these issues and the continuing fight against global hunger and malnutrition.
Lateef discussed the recent United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) "The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012" report, which shows that great progress has been made in reducing hunger over the last two decades. She also talked about farming cooperatives (the focus of World Food Day 2012), the need to improve nutrition, and the ways in which those two issues are linked.
"As we think about building on the progress we've made against hunger over the last few decades, [we should be] thinking about integrating programs so that you are increasing farmer income, and also improving nutrition at the same time."
Watch the video and read Lateef's blog post on the progress that has been made in eradicating global hunger, and the work ahead.
By Racine Tucker-Hamilton
As a woman who is the mother of two sons, I’m often torn between my strong belief in empowering women and girls and raising boys. My personal conflict was very evident last week while attending the Social Good Summit (SGS).
Many of the sessions focused specifically on females: "Women Editors Take on the Intersection of Print, Digital and Social Good," "Connecting Girls Around the World," and "Women, Social Media and an End to Poverty.
As I was sitting through these sessions I kept thinking, where are boys and men in these conversations? Then finally, America Ferrera, an actress, producer, and activist, brought it up. She and fellow actress Alexis Bledel had recently returned from a trip to Honduras where they learned how women and girls are improving nutrition and fighting poverty in developing countries. The trip was organized by the ONE campaign and captured in this video.
Ferrera was a guest on the SGS panel "Women, Social Media and an End to Poverty." She told the audience that, in her experience, investing in women and girls doesn’t mean leaving boys behind.
“From what we saw [in Latin America], boys are raised by their mothers and the mothers will see that those boys have education and a different outlook toward women’s roles in society,” said Ferrera.
Her comments reminded me of my visit to a southern Malawi village last year, where I saw men playing an important role in improving nutrition for women and children. Kennedy Mbereko is one of those men. He’s well known in the Jombo village, where he serves as a member of a care group for a Catholic Relief Services project called Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA). Kennedy visits the homes of malnourished children and then documents their progress and growth.
While his notes and journals are central to his job, his presence alone makes a difference in a community where nutrition may be viewed as a ‘women’s-only issue.’ Mbereko is helping to break down barriers and engage other men in the area—including the village leader—around the issue of malnutrition.
During Ferrera's panel discussion at the SGS, she also told the audience that we need more men to embrace and support the issues of improving nutrition and ending poverty in their communities.
“We need enlightened men to help change the minds of men who may not see the important role that women play in poverty eradication.”
There’s no question that women and girls must be at the table when determining the best ways to combat malnutrition and poverty, but we have to remember to save a seat for boys and men.
Racine Tucker-Hamilton is Bread for the World's media relations manager.
By Sarah Godfrey
The now infamous video that shows presidential candidate Mitt Romney talking about “the 47 percent” of Americans who “pay no income tax” has the entire country discussing who does or does not pay taxes. Romney’s remarks have thrust into the spotlight a study that is actually a smart, common-sense analysis of taxation that shows that everyone—especially the poor— pays.
The "47 percent" figure is taken from a Tax Policy Institute study that found 46.4 percent of Americans did not pay federal income tax in 2011, but even the Institute itself has said its findings have been largely misconstrued. “Commentators have often misinterpreted that percentage as indicating that nearly half of Americans pay no taxes. In fact, however, many of those who don’t pay income tax do pay other taxes—federal payroll and excise taxes as well as state and local income, sales, and property taxes,” the group wrote in a 2011 response to its findings.
Derek Thompson, writing in the Atlantic on Sept. 18, put it plainly: “When you hear ‘The 47 percent,' you should think old retired folks and poor working families.” The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog analyzed the same Tax Policy Institute study, and found that of the roughly 47 percent of those who don’t pay income tax, 60 percent are still paying into Social Security and Medicare. Another 22 percent of non-payers are retirees. “Only about 7.9 percent of households are not paying any federal taxes at all,” wrote Brad Plumer. “That’s usually because they’re either unemployed or on disability or students or are very poor.”
The poor actually often shoulder a greater share of the tax burden relative to their income, contrary to the conventional wisdom in some circles. A 2012 Citizens for Tax Justice study found that the poorest fifth of Americans, a group with an average cash income of $13,000 per year, saw 17.4 percent of their incomes go to taxes last year.
David Beckmann speaking at the Sept. 12 Circle of Protection press conference. (Photo: Eric Bond/Bread for the World)
On September 12, the Circle of Protection debuted exclusive videos of President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney talking, on the record, about hunger and poverty. During the video release press conference at the National Press Club, faith leaders discussed the candidate statements as well as new U.S. Census Bureau poverty figures revealing that 15 percent of Americans—including one in five children—lived in poverty in 2011.
Coverage of the event was featured on the PBS news program "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly."
Watch the Sept. 14 episode of "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly" below (the Circle of Protection segment begins at the 4:30 mark):
A regular, non-comprehensive roundup of current news links on hunger and poverty issues from around the Web:
- "The Root of Drought Happiness": Gates Foundation intern Peter Kithene writes a personal piece about the importance of the cassava crop in sub-Saharan Africa.
- "The achievement gap, by the numbers": Using U.S. Education statistics, the Washington Post examines the public school achievement gap (with accompanying "Public School Students and Poverty" infographic).
- "The Election-Season Poverty Tour": Scholar Cornel West and broadcaster Tavis Smiley announce 'The Poverty Tour 2.0: A Call to Conscience," a series of town-hall meetings "to make the eradication of poverty a top priority in America." The tour, timed to coincide with the release of U.S. Census Bureau poverty figures, kicks off tomorrow.
- Review: "The Last Hunger Season": Paul Collier, writing in the Washington Post , says Roger Thurow's story of drought from the perspective of a smallholder farmer in western Kenya "aptly conveys the risky choices that farmers are required to make in highly constrained situations."
- "A million-dollar rain ': Drought-hit Minn. farmer feels ups, downs of passing storm": An NBC news team spends a day with Minnesota farmer Dean Tofteland and documents "the raw realities of farming and the weather, both drought and rain."
Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a national Catholic social justice lobby, speaks at the "Nuns on the Bus" tour stop on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Monday, July 2, 2012. (Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)
By Sarah Godfrey
In July, Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, talked to Breadblog about this summer's two-week "Nuns on the Bus" tour, during which a group of nuns traveled the country to protest budget cuts that would negatively affect poor and hungry people. Campbell talked about meeting a man from Milwaukee, WI, named Billy, who was forced to choose between feeding his children or keeping a roof over their heads.
Last night, Campbell shared Billy's story at the Democratic National Convention.
Campbell, who has been vocally opposed to cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), said that working families such as Billy's are relying on such federal nutrition programs to carry them through the current economic recession.
Addressing the DNC last night, she said, "In Milwaukee, I met Billy and his wife and two boys at St. Benedict's dining room. Billy's work hours were cut back in the recession. Billy is taking responsibility for himself and his family, but right now without food stamps, he and his wife could not put food on their family table. We all share responsibility for creating an economy where parents with jobs earn enough to take care of their families."
Campbell also said that faith "strongly affirms that we are all responsible for one another."
"We care for the 100 percent, and that will secure the blessings of liberty for our nation," she said.
Watch Sister Campbell's speech in its entirety:
Sarah Godfrey is associate online editor at Bread for the World.
(image courtesy Urban Ministries of Durham)
by Robin Stephenson
Simulating poverty does not give one the lived experience of poverty, but it can begin to expose the truth about choices—or lack thereof—that people working low-wage jobs face every day.
We are called to compassion—meaning to suffer together, but it can be hard to make a compassionate connection when paths don't cross. So when I’m invited to speak to church groups, I emphasize personal stories, knowing that statistics don’t always engender compassion and solidarity.
A few years ago I gained greater compassion and insight into the realities of poverty when I participated in an elaborate simulation. Even though it was imaginary, the activity made me stop and think about poverty as a time consuming and complicated condition.