Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Join Us on Twitter for a World Food Day Town Hall


Every year on October 16, the global community pauses to celebrate World Food Day and raise the profile of the ongoing struggle to end hunger and poverty. This year’s celebration will focus on the 500 million small family farms, which help feed the world. 

The majority of these family farms are in developing countries, and most are run by women. They contribute in critical ways to local economies, support sustainable development, and provide nutritious food to billions of people. They are crucial partners in the effort to end hunger by 2030. That’s why @Bread4theWorld and @WorldFoodPrize are encouraging our supporters and partners to do their part to advocate for and on behalf of small farmers.

In honor of World Food Day, October 16, @Bread4theWorld and @WorldFoodPrize Foundation will moderate a Twitter Town Hall at 11 a.m. CT (12 noon, ET). Our chat will focus on the critical role small farmers play in the fight to end hunger by 2030 and how each of us can play our part, too. 2010 World Food Prize laureate and Bread for the World President Rev. David Beckmann (@davidbeckmann) and 2014 World Food Prize laureate Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram (#RajWFP) will lead this public discussion with partners, bloggers, and leaders who are working together to end  hunger once and for all.

Be sure to join the conversation on Twitter on Thursday, October 16 at 11 am CT (12 noon ET) using #WorldFoodDay. And please share about the Twitter town hall with your network through social media channels, blogs, websites, and emails before the event.

Crippling All of Humanity: A Reporter’s Reflection on Seeing Child Malnutrition

By Robin Stephenson

Earlier this year, PBS NewsHour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan traveled to Guatemala and saw the effects of malnourishment firsthand. Malnutrition, he saw, diminishes human growth, but also the future growth of a country’s economy.

Half of Guatemala’s children lack access to nutritious foods in the first two years of life. They will never reach their full potential. Physically and mentally stunted for life, malnutrition leads to health problems and reduced mental capacity. In turn, this leaves a country with a weak labor force.

Sreenivasan met one-year-old Lidia Chumil, whose diet typically consists of beans and herbs. Her mother does not have access to the nutrients she needs to feed her daughter. Baby Lidia is underweight and small for her age. It is unlikely she can ever regain what she has lost.

Reducing child malnutrition is a complex problem that requires new ways of thinking. Guatemala’s minister of food security, Luis Enrique Monterroso, told Sreenivasan that a focus on poverty interventions in the past did not work. Today, the Guatemalan government targets malnutrition.

Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) and Adam Smith (D-Wash.) would agree that addressing malnutrition is key. In a recent contribution to The Hill, they write, “Specifically, addressing malnutrition requires coordinated planning and programming of effective nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions across multiple sectors, including agriculture, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, social protection and humanitarian assistance programs.”

The congressmen go on to laud the recent introduction of a USAID nutrition strategy that will strengthen the impact of federal dollars by coordinating programs and resources across government agencies. “[The strategy] also acknowledges that high rates of chronic malnutrition can significantly impact a nation’s GDP potential, as well as other economic and social costs,” they write.

As a partner, the United States can bolster efforts by the Guatemalan government with new foreign assistance programs that also target malnutrition. The Feed the Future initiative, legislation that takes a multi-sectorial approach to ending hunger, was introduced in both chambers of Congress. The legislation develops a whole-of-government strategy that supports country ownership, nutrition, and food security.

More than Guatemala’s future is economically stunted by malnutrition. There is a global price to pay.  It is estimated that childhood malnutrition will cost the global economy some $125 billion in lost GDP growth by 2030. Not to mention, hunger is presently driving children to flee Guatemala for the United States, creating an immediate crisis on our border.

Although Sreenivasan saw malnutrition up close, in a personal reflection, he steps back and takes a global view. “The question I’m left wondering is what becomes of a world where a significant portion of the population grows up without even the basic nutritional foundation to give them a shot at anything else,” he writes.  “As the business leaders in our piece say, from an economic perspective, that kind of inequality will cripple the productivity potential of entire countries. But from a human perspective, it seems like it will cripple us all.”

Robin Stephenson is the national lead for social media and senior regional organizer at Bread for the World.

A Gift of Song for Bread for World Sunday

Opening plenary session of Bread for the World's 2011 Gathering, on Saturday, June 11, 2011, at American University. (Rick Reinhard)

Across the nation, from pulpit to pew, Christians will renew their commitment to ending hunger as part of the annual Bread for the World Sunday celebrations taking place this weekend, October 19. 

During a special church service, congregations commit themselves to the fight against hunger and poverty through education, prayer, and worship. Many churches will use song to inspire congregants. 

Longtime Bread supporters and co-pastors of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Del., Bruce and Carolyn Winfrey Gillette offer a new hymn they wanted us to share with you. Carolyn has written many original hymns used by Bread for the World members in past worship services.

Carolyn composed, “Is it Lawful to Pay Taxes?” based on the lectionary reading for October 19. In an email to Bread for the World, Bruce wrote, “We hope it will remind people of our shared responsibility to pay taxes, to work for our taxes being used well for the common good and also our ultimate loyalty always is to God.”

Bread for the World is blessed by our talented membership represented by people like Carolyn and Bruce and grateful for their gift of song.

“Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes?”
BEACH SPRING D ("God Whose Giving Knows No Ending")

“Is it lawful to pay taxes when they prop up Caesar’s rule?”
So some people asked of Jesus, wanting him to seem a fool.
Saying “no” would be sedition; saying “yes” would be a sin.
Jesus changed the conversation, calling them to look within.

“Find a tax coin in your treasure; see the image that it bears.
Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. (Give to rulers what is theirs.)”
Yet he pressed on with his message; “Give to God what is God’s own.”
We who bear our Maker’s image worship God and God alone.

Lord of all, in every nation, may your word be understood—
That we have an obligation to support the common good.
May our taxes, all together, fund our working hand in hand
So that life will be made better for all people in this land.

Still, we also hear your teaching: “Give to God what God is due.”
May no ruler—overreaching—try to take the place of you.
May we listen to your message, may we honor what is yours;
May we, living in your image, seek your kingdom that endures.

Biblical References: Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17 and Luke 20:20-26. Tune: The Sacred Harp, 1844; attributed to Benjamin Franklin White (MIDI) Text: Copyright © 2014 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved. Email: bcgillette@comcast.net New Hymns: http://www.carolynshymns.com

Hunger in the News: Food Pantries, Refugee Children, Climate Change, Hunger Hot Spots, Nobel Peace Prize

Hunger in News Graphic
A regular, non-comprehensive roundup of current news links on hunger and poverty issues from around the Web.

Midstate food pantries see increases in need for services, though some do not have the supply to help,” by Naomi Creason, The Sentinel. “The study showed that 1 in 7, or an estimated 2 million people in Pennsylvania turn to food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families.”

In Africa, church leaders responding to climate change locally and globally,” by Fredrick Nzwili, Religion News Service.  “As climate change devastates communities in Kenya, church leaders are helping to address the crisis locally while also calling on industrialized nations to own up to their responsibilities for spewing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.”

Migrant children: Out of sight, still in mind,” by David Rogers, Politico. “Weeks before November’s elections, the child migrant crisis has dropped out of sight even as the children themselves have moved into that less visible but perilous maze — the nation’s immigration courts.”

United States Must Protect Migrant Children,” by Karen Musalo, The Daily Cal. “Instead of responding with compassion — or obeying our domestic and international laws — we have focused on deporting new arrivals and deterring others from following them.”

Now hunger threat shadows Ebola in West Africa,” by Umaru Fofana and Bate Felix, Reuters.  “The threat of hunger is tracking Ebola across affected West African nations as the disease kills farmers and their families, drives workers from the fields and creates food shortages.”

South Sudan: potential crisis looms as nation teeters between war and peace,” by Clar Ni Chonghaile, The Guardian.  “On Monday, leading aid agencies warned that parts of South Sudan could fall into famine early next year if fighting is renewed. The agencies – including Oxfam, CARE and Cafod – said the number of people facing dangerous levels of hunger was expected to increase by 1 million between January and March next year.”

Food Is Hope for Syrians Fleeing ISIS,” by William Lambers, Huffington Post Impact. “With conflict escalating in the region, we need to increase humanitarian aid. That is a massive challenge the international community faces right now. Donations have not been able to keep up.”

Nobel honors activism to empower most vulnerable of children,” by PBS Newshour. Hari Sreenivasan interviews Gayle Zemach Lemmon about the Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Happy International Day of the Girl Child!

Girls in Zambia
Nasilele and Sandra in Lusaka, Zambia. Photo by Kimberly Burge

by Kimberly Burge

It’s fitting that today’s the day Malala Yousafzai has been named a co-recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize (along with Indian children’s rights activist Khailash Satyarthi). Tomorrow is the third celebration of International Day of the Girl Child.

Malala captured the world’s attention when she was shot in the head by the Taliban for attending school and actively encouraging other girls to be in school in the Swat Valley, where she lived in Pakistan. After her remarkable recovery, she has become internationally renowned as an advocate for girls’ education worldwide. 

In 2012, the U.N. declared October 11 an official celebration of girls to raise awareness about gender inequality and issues that affect girls around the world. While girls experience higher levels of poverty and hunger, they also hold the key to greater development.  

Hunger and malnutrition disproportionately affect girls and women, who comprise 60 percent of the world’s undernourished population. Yet if women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million, according to the World Food Programme. There’s precedent for success in this area: A 63-country study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) found that as much as 55 percent of the reduction in hunger from 1970 to 1995 could be attributed to improvements in women’s status in society and increased education. The 2015 Hunger Report, produced by Bread for the World Institute, examines this issue in greater depth when it’s released next month.

Likewise, educating girls increases family incomes once they are grown. An extra year of primary school education boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10–20 percent. An extra year of secondary school adds 15–25 percent. But globally, 1 in 5 girls around the world is denied an education by the daily realities of poverty, violence, and discrimination. In sub-Saharan Africa, fewer than one in five girls makes it to secondary school. Secondary school completion rates for adolescent girls is below 5 percent in 19 sub-Saharan African countries.

Educating girls will benefit not just girls themselves and their families, but whole countries. Based on World Bank research and economic data, Plan International estimates the economic cost to 65 low- and middle-income and transitional countries of failing to educate girls to the same standard as boys is a staggering $92 billion each year.

Opportunities abound to empower girls. Right now, the follow-up plan is being developed for the post-2015 next steps in the Millennium Development Goals. A panel – co-chaired by Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, U.K. prime minister David Cameron, and Indonesian president Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – recommended that the post-2015 agenda should include a specific goal to empower girls and women. Adolescent girls were left out of the original MDGs, but this report recognizes their potential to end poverty, a significant step forward for the 250 million girls currently living in poverty.

Congratulations to Malala on her Nobel Peace Prize. Just imagine the change we can see in the world if we unleash the potential of girls everywhere.   

Kimberly Burge is the author of The Born Frees: Writing with the Girls of Gugulethu, about girls growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, which will be published next August by W.W. Norton. 

World Prayers for Oct. 12-18: Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal

Bangladesh. Bread for the World photo

This is a weekly prayer series that appears each Friday on the Bread Blog.

One aspect of Bread for the World’s new Bread Rising campaign is prayer. The campaign is asking Bread members to pray, act, and give. In this blog series, we will be providing a prayer for a different group of countries each week and their efforts to end hunger.
This prayer series will follow the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle, a list compiled by the World Council of Churches that enables Christians around the world to journey in prayer through every region of the world, affirming our solidarity with Christians all over the world, brothers and sisters living in diverse situations, experiencing their challenges and sharing their gifts.
We will especially be lifting up in prayer the challenges related to hunger and poverty that the people of each week’s countries face. In prayer, God’s story and our own story connect—and we and the world are transformed. In a prayer common to all of us—the Lord’s Prayer/the Our Father—we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This line from this prayer can also be a prayer for the end of hunger.
We invite you to join Bread in our prayers for the world’s countries to end hunger. And we encourage you to share with us your prayers for the featured countries of the week or for the end of hunger in general.

For the week of October 12-18, we pray for: Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal:

Good and gracious God, we come before you in thanksgiving for the many blessings you bestow.  We are grateful for the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal in South Asia, for the wonder of their diverse landscapes, the majestic peaks, and vast mountain ranges.  We savor the rich and vibrant cultural heritage and spiritual history of this region.  These expressions are a reminder of your impressive power and the brilliance of your created order.  May we respect and savor all of your creation by living in ways that consider the consequences this region suffers related to climate change. 

As we pray for Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, we ask you to guide the political transitions and peace-building efforts in this region as governments and civil society work toward representative structuring and public accountability. We especially lift up those who are hungry or materially impoverished because this perpetuates injustices such as forced labor, human trafficking, and abusive working conditions.  May the light of your resurrection lead us to stand in solidarity with the people of South Asia. Amen.   

Percentage of the population of these countries living below the national poverty line (2014 figures):

Bangladesh: 31.5
Bhutan: 12.0
Nepal: 25.2

Source: World Bank World Development Indicators as found in the upcoming 2015 Hunger Report

Quote of the Day: Muhammad Yunus


Join a Hunger and Climate Change Online Discussion Tomorrow

WorldBankpanelTomorrow, Oct. 10, the World Bank is hosting an online panel discussion titled “Food for the Future: Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change.”

One of the panelists is Rev. David Beckmann, Bread’s president.

The discussion will examine the question How will we feed 9 billion people by 2050 in the face of environmental challenges?

Governments, the private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders need to come together to create innovative solutions and scale up actions that will feed the world in a way that is resource-efficient and resilient to climate change. The panel will feature experts on how a move toward climate-smart agriculture, more integrated landscapes and seascapes, and more sustainable
supply chains can help ensure food for the future.

Date: Friday, October 10
Time: 12:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m. ET
Location: Online

You can also follow the event on Twitter by using #food4future.

If you would like to do some reading to prepare for the conversation, additional resources are available as well as recommended reading.

World Food Day Twitter Chat with Bread

Bread-tile-A2Next week, on World Food Day, you can join another conversation with David Beckmann on Twitter, hosted by Bread for the World and the World Food Prize.

Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Location: #WorldFoodDay

There are more than 500 million small family-owned farms in the world, and these farms are critical contributors to local economies, support sustainable agriculture, and play a crucial role in ending global hunger. As advocates, we must do our part to ensure farmers have the best resources to fight poverty and hunger. This is a chat with World Food Prize Laureates – 2014 laureate Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram and 2010 laureate Rev. David Beckmann – to learn how advocates can help small farmers reach the most people, so that together we can end hunger by 2030.

Be part of the discussion. Join this Twitter chat to celebrate #WorldFoodDay

Quote of the Day: Wangari Mathaai


This is the week the Nobel Prizes are being announced, and so we are featuring a quote of the day every day from a Nobel Prize laureate.

I Give Because I Do Not Have

Adlai Amor - 2 - 11_25_13
by Adlai Amor

When Bread for the World staff were briefed about the Bread Rising campaign earlier this year, I did not hesitate to commit to it by praying more, acting more, and giving more. Here are my reasons for doing so.

I support Bread Rising because I do not have anything. All that I have comes from God. I am just a steward for whatever resources God has entrusted to me during this lifetime. When I die, as we all must, I will not be able to take anything with me. Thus, whatever good I can do in this life, especially through Bread Rising, I will do.

I support Bread Rising because I know the impact of Bread’s work. Several of my family and friends were badly affected when the strongest typhoon on record, Typhoon Haiyan, hit central Philippines late last year. My cousin, a Seventh Day Adventist pastor, and his family were among those who lost so much. But thanks to Bread’s advocacy in reforming U.S. food aid, nutritious food reached them sooner than if it had been shipped from the United States.  

I support Bread Rising because it is a calling. I work with Bread because it enables me to put my faith into action. Advocacy is hard work. There are times when I doubt my calling, but God refuses to give up on me. With such love, I cannot give up on God.

Through Bread Rising, I know we can end hunger by 2030.

Adlai Amor, Bread’s director of communications, is chair of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.

This post originally appeared in Bread for the World's September online newsletter.

Stay Connected

Bread for the World