Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Defend the Rights of the Poor: Tell Congress to Pass Immigration Reform

Rosa tends to the family live stock, a usual task for many children in rural Guatemala where she lives. Child malnutrition rates are also among the highest in the world causing an annual GDP loss estimated at $300m. Immigration reform must address the poverty and hunger that drives migration.  (Joseph Mollieri/Bread for the World)

By Eric Mitchell

Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children are crossing the southern U.S. border. In their home countries, many of these children face violence, extreme poverty, and hunger. With hopes for a better future for their children, parents have made the difficult decision to send their children thousands of miles away to escape the horrible conditions at home.

Your Representative needs to hear from you! We need to flood their offices with calls and emails in the next 48 hours.

Politics may be blocking comprehensive immigration reform, but Congress shouldn’t wait to act! This issue is more than just law enforcement or what happens at the border. Congress must address the root causes of migration.

Can you take two minutes right now to contact your Representative? Simply say: I urge you to pass legislation that supports development-assistance programs, especially those addressing migration push factors, including hunger and poverty.

Call (800-826-3688) or email your U.S. representative today and urge for a vote on immigration reform.

If we support successful development programs in countries like Honduras and Guatemala, we can help to not only reduce hunger and poverty, but also the likelihood of parents sending their children to migrate alone to the United States.

There are only a few days left before Congress leaves for its August recess. Our faith calls us to “defend the rights of the poor.”

Please help us get  calls and emails to Congress in the next 48 hours.

Eric Mitchell is the director of government relations as Bread for the World.

World Cup 2014: How the United States and Belgium Fight Hunger and Poverty

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Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.

By Bianca Brown

Tuesday, July 1: U.S. v. Belgium

JozyAdvancing after a close and compelling match with Germany, the U.S. team will play Belgium today.  The players will surely kick things up a notch as the semifinals draw near. Despite the tension around this match, there is one thing that both U.S. and Belgium fans can agree on—both countries are making strides in combatting hunger and poverty.

In the United States, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, a large percentage of the population—approximately 46.5 million people—still remains victim to the epidemics of hunger and poverty. While programs are in place to alleviate hunger and eliminate poverty, the nation’s leaders have not yet made ending hunger a top priority.

Jozy Altidore, one of the U.S. team’s key players, has said that, “I may be a young person, but I believe it’s never too early to want to make a difference.” As a supporter of several charity missions, Alitidore is one of many premier athletes who supports the idea of a hunger-free nation.

Belgium, according to 2007 figures, has a poverty rate of about 15 percent. Two of the players for Belgium, Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen, pride themselves on doing charity work in the Congo—previously a Belgian colony. Ambassadors for the cause of ending hunger and poverty worldwide, Kompany and Vermaelen shine on and off the field as they support the goal of a hunger-free world. Kompany comments, “…if you can take a child who had no chance and give them a chance to become someone who can make a difference, then how much more beautiful can a story be?”

Bianca Brown is an intern in Bread for the World's communications department and a senior at Georgia's Wesleyan College.

Photo: Jozy Altidore in a U.S. v. Austria match. (Wikimedia Commons)

Crisis in the Horn of Africa: Give now and double your impact


Photo: Elisabeth and her family upon arrival at Burbe. Story and image courtesy of World Food Program USA (@wfpusa).

By David Beckmann

Since May, more than 16,000 people have crossed the Baro River into the tiny border town of Burbe, Ethiopia. Most of the refugees are mothers and children, and far too many share stories of husbands, fathers, and brothers lost to violence in South Sudan.

"A lot of people have died. People are running in different directions. There's no food, no water," says Elisabeth Nyapal, who crossed the river with her six children and a small mattress.

Relief workers distribute meals and administer vaccines. Without them, the death count would be unthinkable.

But despite the growing need for speedy and efficient relief in times of crisis, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would direct $75 million in food-aid funding to shipping conglomerates — effectively snatching food from the mouths of 2 million hungry people.

We can't let that happen. We need to raise our collective Christian voice and say no. To make this happen, a generous group of Bread members has offered to match your gift dollar-for-dollar if you donate by July 15.

Your gift today will support Bread's education, organizing, and advocacy efforts to ensure that food aid reaches the people who need it most. Your gift will also promote policy changes that would allow relief agencies to purchase food near famine-stricken areas—saving lives in times of crisis and boosting local economies.

"For us, everything is destroyed," says Elisabeth. "We are asking the international community to help us get a better life."

Help Elisabeth and her family by supporting Bread’s efforts to make U.S. food-aid programs work more efficiently. Please donate today while your gifts will be matched. Give now and make twice the difference.

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

World Cup 2014: Lucky in Soccer, Lucky in Life

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Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.

By Reina Villanueva

If the World Cup had a yearbook, Nigeria and Algeria might have been voted “The Teams Least Likely to Advance.” However, both countries unexpectedly held their own against legendary teams such as Germany and Argentina to advance to today’s Knockout Round match. Some might say that they were simply lucky. But luck is nothing new for team captains Madjid Bougherra of Algeria and Joseph Yobo of Nigeria. Both star players know that they have not only been lucky in soccer, but also in life.

Madjid_Bougherra_2011_2With 61 percent of households in Nigeria living in hunger and poverty, Joseph Yobo was one of the lucky few to grow up with access to running water, electricity, and an education. However, this was not the reality for many of his neighbors.

“When I went to the homes of abandoned kids and those living with HIV/AIDS, I was close to tears and begin to appreciate how lucky some of us are in the world,” Yobo told BBC in 2007. “I see myself as someone who is privileged enough to be able to help elevate others who are not so fortunate.”

This realization is what pushed Yobo to start his own charity foundation. The Joseph Yobo Charity Foundation has provided food, mattresses, and scholarships to needy children in the soccer player’s hometown.

Like his opponent, Bougherra has used his fame to help the impoverished children of his home country of Algeria. Spurred by his own humble upbringings, the Algerian team captain became a UNICEF Ambassador in 2011.

“A player has to use his image to do positive things, because football is a great sport played by millions of people around the world,” explained Bougherra. “Personally, I have the greatest respect for players who help develop the game and are committed to society. A lot of them were born in poor neighborhoods and feel as if they have a mission to perform, which just shows the power of the modern game today.”

Yobo and Bougherra may be unlikely soccer stars and surprising challengers in the World Cup, but they are certainly making an impact in the lives of many children living in poverty.

Reina Villanueva is an intern in Bread for the World's communications department and a senior at American University in Washington, D.C.

Photo: Madjid Bougherra passes the ball during a Qatar Stars League match. (Wikimedia Commons)

World Cup 2014: "If it’s about doing something for the kids of my country, I am in."

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Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.

By Bianca Brown

Sunday, June 29: Mexico v. Netherlands; Costa Rica v. Greece

Today, don’t miss the match-ups of Mexico v. Netherlands and Costa Rica v. Greece—both games are expected to be battles of strategy. Many of the players put those same strategizing skills to use in their work to address hunger and poverty.  Players, such as Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez of the Mexico team, are a part of organizations that pledge to make the world a better place for kids who aspire to make a difference through fútbol. Ultimately, these organizations and programs—with support from World Cup athletes—are working together to end hunger and poverty across the globe.

JavierMexico’s poverty rate, as of 2012, was an estimated 52.3 percent. The country is working toward achieving many of its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with programs focused on the welfare and equal education opportunities of children. Mexico also receives support from global programs, such as UNICEF.

Hernandez—as a newly appointed UNICEF National Ambassador—recently said, “When I heard that UNICEF wished to invite me to become a National Ambassador, immediately I thought: if it’s about doing something for the kids of my country, I am in.” UNICEF National Ambassadors are chosen not only for their skills and prowess in their occupational fields, but also for their desire to empower future generations.

In Greece, many families are struggling to find stability, resulting in more than 14 percent of the population living in poverty. Living conditions of children in Greece have declined, as 74.1 percent of poor households with children have reported that they can’t cover their basic needs. As 2015 approaches, the country is focusing on increasing policies that will improve food security for children, create more employment opportunities, and address the need for social economic equality. Greece aspires to complete these goals in order to benefit those in need.

Bianca Brown is an intern in Bread for the World's communications department and a senior at Georgia's Wesleyan College.

Photo: Javier Hernández Balcázar during Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion. (Wikimedia Commons)

World Cup 2014: Progress Against Poverty in Brazil, Columbia

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Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.

By Bianca Brown

Saturday, June 28: Brazil v. Chile; Colombia v. Uruguay

After several exciting matches, and a day of rest, today Brazil will play Chile, and Columbia will play Uruguay. All of the teams are preparing for the highly anticipated matches, eager to claim victory in the prestigious tournament. In Brazil—the host country for this year’s World Cup—fans are waiting to see how the games will impact the nation’s staggering poverty levels.

As of 2007, the population living in poverty in Brazil totaled to 23 percent. We’ve previously written about the World Cup protests taking place in Brazil—many Brazilians believe the money the country has spent on the event would be better spent on health, education, and infrastructure. Still, before the Cup controversy, Brazil had made significant progress against hunger and poverty, through the Zero Hunger Initiative and other similar programs.

Similar progress toward eliminating hunger and poverty has been made in Columbia. "There is not only significant poverty, but some of the poverty is stunning in its extreme…it really is at the root of so much of the unrest that occurs," Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) told the Washington Post. The congressman has traveled extensively in Columbia since 2001. While 32.7 percent of the population experiences poverty, levels are decreasing, due to development assistance and a new poverty-reduction strategy adopted in 2011. The needs of the country’s impoverished citizens are reflected in its National Development Plan, which is dedicated to reducing poverty, eliminating hunger, and offering stable employment to those living in rural areas.

 Bianca Brown is an intern in Bread for the World's communications department and a senior at Georgia's Wesleyan College.

Quote of the Day: Rev. Gabriel Salguero

"Tenemos un problema. If we don't speak out there will come a time when the rocks cry out."

—Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, speaking about the need for comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform during Bread for the World's 2014 National Gathering.

Bread for the World views global progress against poverty as an exodus from hunger. International migration is part of this exodus—as people move across national borders to escape poverty and improve their livelihoods. Once in the United States, immigrants typically improve their economic condition, but their legal status means they are blocked from realizing their economic potential and making full contributions to the U.S. economy. Immigration reform can change this, and reduce hunger and poverty. Email your representative and tell him or her to support compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform.

Photo: Rev. Salguero during a talk at Bread for the World's 2014 National Gathering on Monday, June 9, 2014. (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World)

July's Bread for the Preacher: Hunger is a Hot Issue This Summer

'Holy Bible' photo (c) 2009, Steve Snodgrass - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Did you know that each month the church relations department at Bread for the World produces a resource specifically for pastors? Whether you are searching for inspiration for a sermon you're writing, or just a lectionary enthusiast, Bread for the Preacher is for you.

After reading this introduction, explore this month’s readings on the Bread for the Preacher web page, where you can also sign up to have the resource emailed to you each month.

By Rev. Nancy Neal

The last couple of years have required us as an anti-hunger movement to focus on protecting our country's safety net. Yet we know that in order to actually end hunger, we must wrestle with the issues and policies that keep people poor. The texts this month offer strange and confounding stories that help us get to the many dimensions of the work of ending hunger.

Bread for the World is rolling out a new, long-term campaign, Bread Rising, which aims to end hunger by 2030. You will hear more about Bread Rising in the coming months with a call for more prayer, action, and giving. Bread for the World invites individuals, churches, and partners across the nation to join us — by praying, acting, and giving — to create a world without hunger.

Rev. Nancy Neal is associate for Denominational Women's Organization Relations at Bread for the World.

World Cup 2014: "[W]hen you help other people, then God will give you double."

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Gooooool from Flickr via Wylio
Photo of Cristiano Ronaldo © 2010 Jan S0L0 (Flickr via Wylio)

Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.

By Bianca Brown

Thursday, June 26:  USA v. Germany; Portugal v. Ghana; Korea v. Belgium

Today in the World Cup, USA takes on Germany, Portugal plays Ghana, and the Korean Republic goes head to head against Belgium. Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to lead his team against the equally intimidating Ghanaian fielders. The Belgian team will no doubt have elaborate tactics to go up against the emerging champions of Korea. As the tournament continues, we continue to look at poverty in the World Cup participant countries, and efforts to end it.  

According to the most recent data available, 18 percent of households in Portugal live beneath the poverty line. As a child who was born into poverty, Cristiano Ronaldo relates to his country’s epidemic, and often shares his story of how he comes from a poor family and had a childhood with few luxuries. Last month, the Los Angeles Times ran a piece that delved into his charitable works, from paying for a young fan's brain surgery to using his fame and wealth to help tsunami victims. "My father always taught me that when you help other people, then God will give you double," Ronaldo said in a recent interview. "And that's what has really happened to me. When I have helped other people who are in need, God has helped me more.

In the Republic of Korea, 45 percent of people over the age of 65 in the country live in poverty, according to 2013 data. Many remarkable efforts have been made to eliminate the level of poverty and hunger in Korea, but without continued external humanitarian assistance, more than one-third of the population will continue to experience food shortages. The Korean government is emphasizing the implementation of food security and rural development in addition to providing education opportunities to promote gender equality.

The government believes that through successful implementation and completion of these goals, the national plans to end poverty will ultimately improve people’s quality of life and achieve a greater state of prosperity for Korea. While there is much hope for this country, the struggle against poverty and hunger persists.  

Celebrating 5th Birthdays and Beyond

DB at 6 cowboy shirt 1954 (3)
Bread for the World President David Beckmann, at approximately age 5. To see the complete #5thbday photo gallery, visit 5thbdayandbeyond.org. (Photo courtesy of David Beckmann)

By Beth Ann Saracco

If you are on Facebook, and follow Bread for the World President David Beckmann, you may have noticed he recently updated his profile picture to a photo of himself as a young boy. The change commemorates the 5th Birthday and Beyond celebration, which recognizes the significant progress that has been achieved in child survival over the past 25 years, and the many contributions the United States has made in reaching this milestone.

Thanks in large part to bipartisan support from members of Congress, current and past U.S. administrations, private-sector partners, nongovernmental organizations (including Bread for the World), and other multilateral organizations and donor nations, the number of deaths of children under five has dropped by half since 1990. In the past twelve years alone, 700,000 fewer children have died from pneumonia, 300,000 fewer children from malaria, and 100,000 fewer children from AIDS.

As we celebrate these significant gains, we also reflect on the role Bread for the World has played, throughout its own 40-year history, to significantly improve child survival. In the last 25 years alone, Bread for the World has helped craft and pass major legislation that has reduced child mortality, including a bill that established the international Child Survival Fund. Each year, this fund helps immunize more than 100 million children in the developing world; since its establishment, the number of children dying daily from malnutrition and preventable diseases has fallen by 50 percent.  

In 1999, Bread for the World led the creation of the Jubilee Campaign, which was part of a worldwide movement that successfully urged Congress to forgive the debts of some of the world’s poorest countries. As a result, relief has reduced the debts of 36 of the world’s poorest countries by 90 percent. Many of these countries have been able to reinvest and expand basic education and health services.

In the new millennium, Bread for the World and its partners successfully advocated for the establishment of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which provided a new, innovative way of administering U.S. foreign aid. Through its unique approach focused on good governance, accountability, and poverty reduction, MCC has supported nearly 40 countries with more than $8.5 billion in aid, ranging from food-security programs and health initiatives to water and sanitation projects.

Most recently, thanks in part to analysis from Bread for the World Institute, we are pushing to improve the nutritional quality of U.S. food aid. In addition, through the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Civil Society Network, which supports civil society alliances at the country level, we are learning about the opportunities and challenges of scaling up nutrition in some of the countries most affected by malnutrition. This is helping inform our advocacy and our push for greater investments in maternal and child nutrition programs.

Working with a number of U.S. civil society partners, our advocacy efforts helped encourage and shape the U.S. Agency for International Development’s new nutrition strategy, which will better integrate and coordinate nutrition and nutrition-related programs across U.S. development assistance programs. Since we know the many links that exist between child survival and the right nutrition and care during the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday, these efforts will translate into even more mothers and children living longer, healthier, more productive lives.

Proudly, Bread for the World joins with other partners in recognizing the 5th Birthday and Beyond celebration, and extends particular gratitude to Congress and the administration for their continued support of vital programs that promote child survival and wellbeing. Together, we are working to ensure that all children not only survive to their fifth birthdays, but thrive well beyond them.

Beth Ann Saracco is an international policy analyst at Bread for the World.

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