Bread Newsletter: August 2015

Bread for the World wants to make hunger and poverty part of the national conversation during the campaign for president. To that end, Bread, as part of the Circle of Protection coalition, is disseminating videos in which presidential candidates explain how they would work to address hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world as president.

The Circle of Protection is a group of 100 leaders from a diverse array of Christian denominations, churches, colleges, and agencies across the country. Bread has a major leadership role in the coalition. The Circle sent each presidential candidate a letter asking him or her to produce a video stating how they propose to provide help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad. 

16 million children in the U.S. are not sure where their next meal will come from. Design by Doug Puller/Bread for the World

Presidential Candidates Speak on Hunger

The videos released so far were made by Republican candidates Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Democratic candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, Martin O'Malley, and Bernie Sanders. View them at www.circleofprotection.us. The other declared presidential candidates were contacted but have not yet provided videos.

The videos are being disseminated through the networks of all of the Circle’s members. They can also be viewed on YouTube.

"We are praying for a president who will make ending hunger and poverty a top priority of his or her administration. Are you that leader?" the letter asked. Read the full letter.

Circle of Protection members, including Bread, will not publicly evaluate the policy positions or endorse any candidate.

"We will be calling on people of faith to examine presidential candidates to see if they have a heart for poor and hungry people. We want to know how each candidate proposes to fulfill the mandate to those who govern to ’give deliverance to the needy’ (Psalm 72),” the leaders added in the letter.

According to the latest U.S. Census data, 49 million Americans are at risk of hunger, while 45 million live in poverty. One in five children lives in poverty. That is 15 million children, 5 million of them under age 6.

The Circle of Protection sees the videos as the beginning of an active debate about how to alleviate hunger and poverty and hopes these issues will be at the center of the presidential campaign.

As a major step toward helping to end hunger by 2030, Bread’s goal is to have a president and Congress who put hunger and poverty among their top priorities in place in 2017. This initiative of gathering videos from presidential candidate is preparation for that. Bread will also be active in several ways in congressional elections. That part of its election work will begin this fall. Watch the Bread newsletter for details.

Act Now

Take advantage of the fact that members of Congress are home in August. Schedule a visit with your senators or representative or attend a town hall meeting.

Raise one or all of these issues when speaking to your member of Congress:

  1. Cosponsor the Global Food Security Act to make permanent Feed the Future - a program that promotes agriculture development around the world and helped more than 12 million children in 2014.
  2. Pass a child nutrition bill that protects nutrition programs and gives more hungry children access to the meals they need to thrive.
  3. Pass a federal budget deal that replaces sequestration cuts in a balanced way, protecting programs that effectively help 
Take action on this issue

Laying the Groundwork for the Sustainable Development Goals

By Stephen H. Padre

All eyes are on the United Nations in New York City, where the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit will be held from September 25 to 27. It’s expected that the world’s nations will agree on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the summit. The SDGs will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which have guided the world’s work in reducing poverty and hunger for the past 15 years. The MDGs expire this year.

The SDGs are an ambitious set of eight work areas that are designed to improve the lives of people living in hunger and poverty. Even though they are called “goals,” they are still very broad, sweeping statements. Bread is pleased that the first SDG reads, “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.” Trying to achieve what each statement lays forth and keeping the momentum from the work on the MDGs going will not only be challenging but expensive. Somehow, the goals, from ending hunger to improving maternal health, have all got to be paid for if they are to work.

That’s what the Financing for Development Conference, held July 13-16 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was for.

The conference was the third in a series of such conferences, following the first in Monterrey, Mexico in 2002 and the second in Doha, Qatar in 2008. The first two conferences helped put the legs under the MDGs, solidifying the relationships between developed and developing countries and defining the responsibilities of each in key areas such as trade, aid, debt relief, and institution building.

Faustine Wabwire, senior foreign assistance policy analyst for Bread for the World Institute, represented the organization at the Addis Ababa conference. In an editorial written for The Hill (“A moral commitment to end hunger,” July 15) before she left for the conference, Wabire wrote, “The U.S. should enthusiastically support and elevate local capacity on the global development agenda. It should also ensure that building local capacity remains a core objective of U.S. development assistance.”

The conference gathered high-level political representatives, including heads of state and finance ministers. One of its major goals was to affirm the need to support the U.N.’s development agenda beyond 2015, after the SDGs are adopted.

The conference was followed a few days later by a visit by the first U.S. president to have roots in Africa — Barack Obama. While he did not attend the Financing for Development Conference, his visit to the continent — his fourth as president — carries a great deal of symbolism as he burnishes his legacy. He met with African Union leaders in Addis Ababa and became the first U.S. president to visit Ethiopia.

Obama has become more outspoken and less timid on both domestic and international issues as his final term in office winds down. The development community hopes he will further elevate the needs as well as the hopes and dreams of Africa to the U.S. and other wealthy countries in his final months as president.

Bread’s Wabire has been part of a task force that was helping to articulate the U.S. government's priorities for the upcoming summit in Addis Ababa. Bread views Obama’s choice to visit Ethiopia and other African countries as an affirmation of the U.S. government’s commitment to development on the continent and their funding. Although Obama did not attend the Financing for Development Conference, Bread still sees it as a very important part of the preparations for the SDGs. The success of the SDGs and the lining up of financing for them will have a major part in bringing hunger and poverty to an end by 2030.

Stephen H. Padre is editor of Bread newsletter and managing editor for Bread for the World.

Hunger in the News: Immigration, mass incarceration, India, and sustainable development . Photo: Bread for the World

Bread Slices

Episcopal Church Calls for Advocacy Through Bread

The General Convention of The Episcopal Church, the national denomination’s governing body, met in Salt Lake City June 22 to July 3 and passed a resolution encouraging its members to advocate for an end to hunger through Bread for the World. The resolution reads, in part: “…dioceses, parishes, and faithful Episcopalians are called to advocate changes in public policy to help poor and hungry people…”

An explanation to the resolution cited the world’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and other strides in the past several decades against hunger made by governments and private charities and local churches alike. “Despite the large size and admirable intentions of these efforts, some changes in public policy now under discussion are so radical in scope that they may subtract even more governmental food aid to the poor in the United States than all churches currently give. Similarly contemplated cuts in U.S. food assistance overseas may have equally detrimental effects,” the explanation read. “For those Episcopalians, parishes, and dioceses that discern a call for concerted advocacy for the hungry and poor, this resolution points to [Bread] as one faithful means by which such advocacy can be carried out in a non-partisan way firmly grounded in the Bible’s teaching that faithful people must care for their poor and hungry neighbors.”

The national convention’s biggest action was electing a new leader for the denomination. The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, was elected the church’s next presiding bishop, the first African-American to serve in the position. Curry is chair of the board of directors of Episcopal Relief and Development, the church’s ministry for responding to disasters and poverty and hunger.

Annual Report Available

The 2014 annual report for Bread for the World and Bread for the World Institute is available. It can be viewed and downloaded from www.bread.org/accountability. Together, Bread’s members, activists, and staff bring hope and opportunity to millions of people who are hungry. Our annual reports provide a summary of the year. They include a snapshot of our activities, accomplishments, and finances.

Bread for the World Sunday: October 18, 2015

Join thousands of churches across the country as they celebrate Bread for the World Sunday on October 18, the Sunday closest to World Food Day. Dr. Brian Bantum (pictured at right), who teaches theology at Seattle Pacific University, will provide a scripture study of Mark 10:35-45, the Gospel appointed for Oct. 18. Judy Coode, communications director for the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, will prepare a new litany or responsive prayer.  These resources — along with free worship bulletin inserts — will be available in early July.   

Charitable Gift Annuities Offer Fixed Payments for Life

If you are 65 years or older and looking for a more stable source of retirement income, you may want to consider a charitable gift annuity. Only simple paperwork is required to set up an annuity. An income-tax deduction is available in the year the gift is made, and a portion of each year's income may also be tax-deductible. Annuities are arranged by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Foundation as a service to Bread for the World members. For confidential information without obligation, contact Kierra Jackson at 800/822-7323, ext. 1150, or email kjackson@bread.org.

Every five years, Congress must reauthorize domestic child nutrition programs. Photo: Joe Molieri / Bread for the World

Our New Website

By Stephen H. Padre

Bread for the World’s new website has launched! If you’re reading this, you’re already a visitor to the new www.bread.org.

Although its launch was delayed, Bread was pleased to debut the new website in early July. We consider the site a new online “front door” for Bread for the World and Bread for the World Institute.

But it’s much more than just a front door – it’s a whole new online “welcome center” and “action center” for the organization. The old site was scrapped, and the new site was redesigned and revamped with a new design, navigation, and all new content.

Modern Design

The new site makes a leap into modern design, with a wide-screen format using large, stunning photos from Bread’s impressive archive of photographs. But the design was also developed first with mobile users in mind, and the look and navigation also work well on mobile and smart phones as well as tablets. These versatile websites, the type that can be viewed equally well on a variety of devices, are known as “responsive” sites.

New Navigation

The organization of the site was determined with visitors in mind. We hope that people who are new to Bread will get a clearer picture of what Bread is all about and how to get involved. And we hope that current Bread activists will find what they need and ways to act more easily and that their online experience is fuller with the way content is arranged.

Something Old, Something New

We know that our website has been a reliable source of information for activists across the country. The new website is a work in progress, and we are working diligently in these first weeks after the launch to move many of the fact sheets and other popular materials from the old site to the new one.

Some of the features of the old website are still on the new one, such as Bread Blog. The Write to Congress page has links to pages for sending emails to Congress on the top issues Bread is working on. There is a revived Stories section with real-life stories of real people who show the impact of Bread in the real world. And there is a Resource Library where you can search for all of Bread’s publications, videos, and other materials.

Take a few minutes to browse the new pages and content of the website. And share your comments or suggestions with us. We’d love to know what you think.

Stephen H. Padre is editor of Bread newsletter and managing editor for Bread for the World.

Bread Blog is exploring passages from The Poverty & Justice Bible. Photo: Joe Molieri / Bread for the World

On Faith

By Dr. K. Nicholas Yoda

Their slogan says it all: “Billions and Billions Served!” And having been married a mere five days, McDonald’s was going to make me an even better husband.

On our honeymoon, after Christa and I had checked into our hotel, she told me she wanted to take a nap and asked if I would go on a mission for her. I was soon wandering the streets of San Francisco in search of McDonald’s French fries. And there it was: the Golden Arches. I was about to be the best husband in the world.

As I opened the door to enter, I took note of the homeless man sitting on the curb, asking for a meal. Ignoring his plea, I took my place in line. It is in moments like this when morality can get on your nerves. I was on vacation, and the last thing that I wanted to be on my honeymoon was a pastor! I started to think about the horrific amount of money that we had been spending on plane tickets, hotel stays, gourmet food, tours through the wine country, wedding souvenirs, and the rented convertible. All this man was asking for was a simple meal.

I found my conscience getting the best of me, so I decided to strike a deal. I would purchase a McDonald’s Value Meal and ask the cashier to pack the fries in a separate bag for Christa. I found that I could be a great husband and a great pastor at the same time. I stepped out of the restaurant to present this man with his meal.

As I handed this man the Big Mac and drink, he looked me in the eyes and asked my name.

“Nicholas. And yours?”

“David. Thanks.”

David got up from where he was sitting and started to walk off. A little startled, I asked him if he was going to eat. He turned and said, “I have a friend who I am going to share this with.” I wept all the way back to the hotel.

Enough on the table

In a world where McDonald’s serves billions and billions, we still inhabit a world where there are “haves” and “have-nots.” It took David, a “have-not” to remind me, a “have,” of the brutal reality that our world faces concerning scarcity, abundance, and distribution. There I was in a position of extraordinary abundance - but not willing to distribute it. There was David, given a Big Mac and a Coke and more than willing to distribute with someone in need because of the abundance that he had been given. I saw the Golden Arches, but I am convinced that David saw the table of Jesus.

That table of Jesus is a funny table in the mere fact that it never runs out of food and it continues to give to any and all out of its shear abundance.

Distribution has never been an issue. Invitation has never been an issue. Feeding has never been an issue. And yet, in today’s world, the very world created good by the hands of God, there is still the existence of poverty. A bit counter-intuitive, don’t you think?

Everything is not okay

Perhaps the frontman of the Irish rock band U2 stated it best. Looking out at a crowd of thousands in Chicago, he stated that we needed to put humanity back on earth. “We have the technology. We have the resources. We have the know-how to end extreme poverty. Do we have the will, though? Others had the Civil Rights Movement. Others ended apartheid. Others tore back the Iron Curtain. This is what is up to this generation. We are going to end extreme poverty. We are going to make poverty history. That is what has fallen to us to do. And I believe that that is not an impossible adventure. I believe in 50 years when I look back on this moment and say there were some people at a time who said, ‘It is not okay to have a child die for the lack of a 20-cent immunization. It is not okay to have a child die for lack of food in its belly in the 21st century. That is not okay anymore’,” said Bono.

It is not okay anymore. It is not okay that an accident of latitude and longitude determines whether a child lives or dies. Poverty, hunger, scarcity in a world of abundance, failure to properly distribute - none if this is okay anymore. The current world population is over 7 billion people. That is plenty of mouths to feed. However, with our current agricultural methods and our technological advances in food production, we have the ability to feed over 12 billion people! The miracle of food production has already occurred, yet we still have millions and millions of people who are starving.

How can this be? Again, the problem is not lack of food because food scarcity is not a part of the natural order of the world. Poverty is a product of human choices that drive a mad world haunted by goofy distribution and the division of the “haves” and the “have nots.”

A calling for our time

Call it a career move for the human race, but we are facing a goal worthy of our generation, our country, our religion. And Jesus is leading the way.

It’s the defeat of humanity’s oldest enemies: poverty and hunger. It’s no longer crazy to suggest that we can eliminate these from the planet. They are well within our reach. The hard question that we have to answer as a community of faith is: “Are our hearts open enough by the love of Christ to share what we have so that abundance will veto scarcity and pave the way for the proper distribution where all are provided for?”

We stand at a crossroads where we need to stop giving excuses and start offering solutions. We need to stop the dance of one step forward and the two steps back. We need to start marching with Christ, who has had his boots on for over 2,000 years!

It’s time to go from living in a world that recognizes McDonald’s Golden Arches, where billions and billions are served, to living is a world where all humanity recognizes the table of Jesus, where all are served.

Bono said, “This is our civil rights struggle, our anti-apartheid movement. This is what the history books will remember our generation for - or blame us for; if we fail.”

Dr. K. Nicholas Yoda is minister and head of staff at Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was recently part of a training at Bread for the World for new Hunger Justice Leaders. 

Bread for the World photo

Policy focus: Turning an eye toward Congress this Fall

By Stefanie Casdorph

When Congress returns from its August recess, it will begin a busy fall season of considering some major pieces of legislation that are important to Bread. This legislation could make significant strides toward combatting hunger both in the U.S. and abroad. Much of this legislation is already in process this summer.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization

The reauthorization – renewal and improvement – of the current child nutrition act is the thrust of Bread’s 2015 Offering of Letters. This legislation works to make sure that children, especially those from low-income families, are getting the food and nutrition they need all year long, including during the summer.

The Senate Agriculture Committee scheduled the markup of the child nutrition reauthorization for September 17.

The current act expires on September 30. This legislation does not require reauthorization and could expire without any congressional action, which is something that Bread obviously does not want to happen. However, reauthorization provides an opportunity to improve and strengthen the standards and programs of the current legislation. Bread hopes that improvements will be made as reauthorization is considered.

Two main pieces of legislation in this area have been introduced in the House and Senate – the Summer Meals Act of 2015 and the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act of 2015. Support is increasing for both acts. Currently, the Summer Meals Act has six bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate and 38 bipartisan cosponsors in the House. The Stop Child Summer Hunger Act has one new cosponsor in the Senate and nine cosponsors in the House.

Global Food Security Act and Feed the Future

The Global Food Security Act (GFSA) was introduced in March. It calls for a comprehensive global strategy to help hungry and malnourished nations develop smart, long-term, country-specific agriculture policies and to ensure these nations meet the nutrition needs of their people. This bill stresses the importance of nutrition, especially for young children and pregnant women and focuses strongly on women’s economic empowerment.

This bill could result in hundreds of millions of hungry people getting the food they need. This bill was one of the focuses of Bread’s Lobby Day in June and is continually garnering more support. To date, the total number of cosponsors is 70 representatives.

Budget and Appropriations

The general consensus among members of Congress is that they do not like sequestration and would rather not allow the budget limitations it imposes. Sequestration is the procedure of the federal government to limit the size of the budget, which often means spending cuts for a variety of important programs. As we move into fall, Congress is already working on the budget for fiscal year 2016. The Senate Appropriations committee has marked up the Agriculture Appropriations bill, which has a tremendous impact on hunger both at home and abroad.

In domestic funding, the bill provides $6.5 billion for WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children). This is $110 million below the FY 2015 enacted level and the president’s request, but reflects U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates from declining WIC enrollment for the coming year. The bill also includes $55 million for management information systems and the transition from paper vouchers to a more efficient electronic benefit transfer system. The bill includes $81.6 billion for SNAP (formerly food stamps). This is $175.5 million below last year’s level due to declining enrollment. The bill also provides $21.5 billion in mandatory funding for child nutrition programs. This is $224.2 million above the FY 2015 enacted level.

In international funding, the bill contains $1.46 billion for Food for Peace, a major food-security program. The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program is given $201.6 million, a $10 million increase for local and regional purchases of food, which makes U.S. food aid more efficient. This will be the first time that this new procedure will be funded.

Stefanie Casdorph is a summer intern in Bread’s communications department.

Pope Francis. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Bread to host interfaith summit on eve of papal visit to U.S.

By Stephen H. Padre

Bread for the World is an organization made up of Christians from a wide variety of traditions. Rarely does it allow one denomination – let alone a single person (except for Jesus) – to set the tone for a while. Yet Pope Francis has been a force of nature since he ascended to the papacy only two years ago, and Bread is grabbing on to his cassock tails as he visits the U.S. this fall and hopefully calls Americans of all faiths to end hunger and poverty in our time.

Francis’ U.S. visit will capture the attention of not only American Catholics, but also the broader religious community, the president, Congress, the secular public, and world leaders gathered for the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The pope is expected to refocus the country’s attention on the plight of the world’s poor. 

On the eve of his arrival in Washington, D.C., the first stop on Francis’ trip, Bread will gather many of the country’s top leaders of many faiths – not only Christian but Jewish, Muslim, and others – to welcome him to the nation’s capital. Bread will host the Interfaith Religious Leaders Summit, titled “End Hunger by 2030.” The dinner-hour summit will take place Sept. 21.

More than 100 faith leaders have been invited to the summit. They include heads of denominations and religious bodies, CEOs of faith-based agencies, and seminary presidents.

The pope’s visit comes at a critical point on the road to ending hunger. The campaign to choose the major parties’ nominees for U.S. president is well underway, and Bread is involved in efforts to push the candidates to address its issues through the Circle of Protection. Bread wants to use this opportunity to drum up and consolidate support among faith communities across the country for ending hunger by 2030.

Ending hunger by 2030 will require having political leaders in place much earlier than that – by 2017. In January of that year, the U.S. will have a new president and a new Congress, and Bread has started to push candidates for these offices to make hunger and poverty a priority during their time in office.

The other major political part of Francis’ U.S. visit will play out in New York, where he will address the U.N. General Assembly. The body will be considering adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, which Bread hopes will also steer the world’s nations toward elimination of chronic hunger and poverty over the next 15 years.

At the Washington, D.C., interfaith summit, both David Beckmann, Bread’s president, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, will give keynote speeches. Wuerl, whose city and archdiocese are hosting the pope on his first stop, is helping to plan Francis’ overall visit. Wuerl is an adviser to Francis as a member of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for Clergy, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Pontifical Council for Culture, and the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

Also on the summit’s program are short addresses by several other faith leaders as pledges to the 2030 goal of ending hunger. The summit will produce a written pledge by the faith leaders that will be shared with the media the following morning at a press conference.

Overall, the welcome summit of religious leaders as well as the visit itself of Francis to three East Coast cities will encapsulate a large part of what Bread is about. The papal visit will inspire the religious community to take action. Bread is hoping the new energy that emerges will result in a large-scale mobilization of people of faith to push the federal government – and candidates for office – to do their part in ending hunger. Thanks to Francis, faith and politics will come together.

Stephen H. Padre is editor of Bread newsletter and managing editor for Bread for the World.

New Resources for Hunger Activists Available

New Set of Fact Sheets for Grassroots Activists

Bread has produced a set of new or updated fact sheets that grassroots activists can use in their advocacy work. The set of easy-to-read and easy-to-use sheets are in two categories:

  • “how-to” sheets that give guidance and tips on the different methods of advocacy
  • fact sheets on most of the current issues that Bread is working on

This set of brief overviews is ideal as a starter activist toolkit for people who are new to Bread’s advocacy and issues as well as for veteran activists who would like a quick summary of the issues.

These short publications are available in a virtual folder – they are all linked to from a single page on the new Bread website. You can view them here and pick and choose which ones you want to print out and assemble on your own to create a hard-copy folder.

Alliance to End Hunger Produces Toolkit for Nonprofits New to Advocacy

The Alliance to End Hunger, one of Bread for the World’s affiliates, has produced the Advocacy Playbook. This toolkit provides guidance for effective anti-hunger activism and comes with associated webinars and trainings to guide activists through the advocacy process.

The toolkit is the centerpiece of the Alliance’s new initiative to emphasize the role of advocacy in ending domestic hunger. The Advocacy Playbook is part of a broader effort spurred by the ConAgra Foods Foundation’s partnership with the Alliance to encourage advocacy before elected officials by nonprofit organizations. It’s a way to encourage organizations such as those working in hunger relief to get involved in advocacy if they haven’t done it before. By using this toolkit and taking up advocacy, the Alliance hopes that nonprofits can add value to their organization, either in terms of efficiency or reach.

Feeding South Florida’s President and CEO, Paco Velez, said, “The Playbook is a great resource that will help volunteers at hunger-relief organizations take that critical next step to organize, mobilize, and educate legislators about the importance of ending hunger as a national priority.”

Get the Playbook.

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.

    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

  • Bread Newsletter January 2016

    In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
     

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

    ...

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.

Field

Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

February 7, 2017

Insight

From the Blog