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Photo: The Philippine government, in part through World Bank funding and oversight, has established programs to address climate-related food security concerns. Joseph Molieri / Bread for the World.
In a week, President-elect Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as our nation’s 45th president. The job of president is an awesome responsibility that requires the president to be the leader of all Americans – not just those that supported him in the election.
Trump must be the president to rich people, poor people, and all between. The powerful and excluded. In addition, the United States is a powerful nation and what we do matters to other countries.
As a Christian organization, Bread for the World is guided by core values. We seek to be effective, civil, and bipartisan advocates with and for hungry people. We are committed to social justice, diversity, and servant leadership. Grounded in God’s love, we speak truth to power. We want the president to do his part to put our nation and the world on track to end hunger by 2030.
The number of people in extreme poverty has dropped from two billion in 1990 to fewer than 800 million people today. Progress has been dramatic in countries as varied as Bangladesh, Brazil and Great Britain. So, dramatic progress is surely possible in the United States as well.
With that in mind, Bread sent Trump a letter laying out six meaningful legislative steps he could take during his first year in office that will cut hunger in half in the U.S. and around the world. More legislation gets passed in the first year of a new presidency than at any other time during a presidential term. So this year is very important.
“With economic growth and focused effort, you can cut hunger in half in the U.S. and worldwide within the next eight years,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World in the letter. “You have made bold promises of prosperity for struggling communities across the country, and you recognize the link between global security and world hunger. Cutting hunger in half within eight years is possible, and we can imagine you setting the goal and making it happen.”
The six steps Trump can take to cut hunger in half are:
Trump has spoken about an infrastructure initiative that could lead to job creation and the rebuilding of our nation’s highways, roads and more. A good job is the best way out of hunger and poverty, and improving the nation’s infrastructure is critical to staying competitive.
Consistent with his pledge to make a difference in inner cities and the heartland, the president-elect could focus positive initiatives in communities that have high levels of persistent or concentrated poverty. The cost of concentrated poverty is high — in terms of violence, safety, poor nutrition and health, low productivity, and despair. The infrastructure initiative could create jobs that pay and also bring prosperity to many currently living in blighted neighborhoods.
Republicans’ first order of business in the 115th Congress is to dismantle the Affordable Care Act — President Obama’s signature domestic achievement. Any replacement of ACA needs to protect people from falling in, or deeper in, to poverty.
Health is a hunger issue. As our 2016 Hunger Report shows, hunger is widespread in the United States and contributes to poor health and a staggering $160 billion a year in healthcare costs. Before the ACA was enacted, 1 out of 3 people with chronic medical conditions had to choose between receiving medical care and purchasing food.
While the ACA is not perfect, it has helped 16 million low-income Americans get health care coverage, primarily through the expansion of Medicaid. Current repeal proposals would take health coverage from 29.8 million people by 2019 and create immediate instability in the healthcare market.
In a letter to the Circle of Protection coalition last year, Trump agreed that world hunger was a threat to global security. During his first year in office Trump’s administration could strengthen the federal government’s response to countries on the brink of disaster. Investing in self-help development and humanitarian approaches could make the world a safer place by the end of his presidency.
Immigration contributes to U.S. economic growth and higher incomes for most Americans, including those born here. Violence, hunger, and poverty push people from their homelands to the U.S. The economy and morality of this nation are tied to our treatment of immigrants. Mass deportation of immigrants who are hard-working members of our communities and our churches is not Christian. A great America welcomes immigrants.
Our criminal justice system is broken. The inequalities that the system has operated with have led to hunger and poverty. With more than two million people incarcerated in our country, at an annual cost of $45 billion (federal and state), support for criminal justice reform has grown in both political parties. By reducing mandatory minimums sentences for non-violent offenders, millions of dollars could be saved. Those dollars could fund safety-net programs such as SNAP (formerly food stamps) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program if they are needed by people making the transition from prison. This would lower the risk of a person returning to crime to pay for food or a place to live.
Malnutrition permanently stunts the bodies and futures of one-fourth of the children in developing countries. Recent knowledge gives us inexpensive ways to reduce malnutrition. Peru, Ghana, and Cambodia have reduced the number of stunted children by more than a third over 10 years. Every dollar invested in nutrition for mothers and children yields a return of $16 — and getting nutrition to hungry babies is sacred work.
Bread’s letter to Trump pointed out that racism, demonizing immigrants, and promoting deep divisions in society are contrary to God’s love and contribute to the persistence of hunger and poverty. In his victory speech on election night, Trump made a promise to help “the forgotten men and women of our country” and vowed that they “will be forgotten no longer.” We call on him as president to live up to our nation’s ideals of inclusion and to foster respect for all people.
By Kierra Stuvland
Photo: Top Chef star Tom Colicchio, at podium, and his wife, filmmaker Lori Silverbush accepting the Alliance to End Hunger Excellence Award at the 13th Annual Gala to End Hunger. Dave Ratzlow for Bread for the World.
Members of Bread for the World, Bread for the World Institute, and the Alliance to End Hunger gathered on Nov. 29, at the University Club in New York City for the 13th Annual Gala to End Hunger. The event gives all three organizations an opportunity to thank donors, renew members’ ties to our mission to end hunger, and invite new donors to join us.
This year, Bread honored restaurateur and Top Chef star Tom Colicchio and his wife, filmmaker Lori Silverbush. The New York couple received an Alliance to End Hunger Excellence Award for their advocacy and for working to raise awareness about hunger. Both Tom and Lori spoke about the importance of charity and food banks, but expressed concern that those endeavors often fall short — failing to offer supporters the opportunity to examine current policies that reinforce hunger.
“No matter how much money we raise. We are never going to raise as much as [the government] is slashing,” Silverbush said.
Speaking before the roughly 185 attendees at the gala, David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, highlighted the post-election season as a time of preparation for the Trump administration and the new Congress.
“The elections have produced what we believe will be a tough political environment for hungry people. Yet the clear feasibility of reducing and, perhaps, ending hunger deserves the full attention of both the administration and the newly elected Congress.” Beckmann challenged the room to remember that their support and advocacy help keep the mission of ending hunger in front of the U.S. government.
“We can’t food-bank our way out of this,” Beckmann said.
Each guest was sent home with The First 1,000 Days, a book written by guest speaker Roger Thurow, a senior fellow of Global Food and Agriculture at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs. The book is filled with photos and stories of mothers and children in India, Guatemala, Uganda, and the United States who struggle with hunger. Their stories reveal how the costs of stunting reverberates from the child to the community.
Stunting — failure to grow physically and cognitively — occurs when a child does not eat the right foods and does not receive essential nutrients. Thurow defined stunting as “a life sentence of underperformance and underachievement.”
In his closing remarks, Beckmann put the spotlight on those in the audience.
“We have reasons for hope and persistence,” he said. “The people in this room have resources, influence, and commitment. I pray that God will be powerfully present among us and use us to achieve God’s good purposes for the hundreds of millions of people—the tens of millions of Americans — who are still struggling to escape from hunger.”
Kierra Stuvland is a former mid-level development officer and donor relations coordinator at Bread for the World.
By Bishop David D. Daniels III
During the season of Epiphany, we cast our eyes to the horizon, where all are invited to feast at God’s heavenly banquet. Psalm 149 foresees a day when all are fed, when the poorest of the poor join the rich, when the oppressed are liberated, when relationships are marked by justice, and when praises of God reverberate.
The welcome table of Psalm 149 already occupies a place of prominence in many African-American Pentecostal communities. For example, the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) has long provided a table where partners come together to combat hunger. One of COGIC’s major sites of engagement has been the Saints Academy, with its poverty initiatives in the Delta region of Mississippi. From the 1920s through the 1960s, COGIC partnered with an African-Americansorority and the federal government to provide food to students who were children of poor sharecroppers and to form a health initiative that alleviated hunger and malnutrition. They also provided training to help sharecroppers transition to jobs that pay a living wage. These initiatives confronted hunger and poverty and expanded economic opportunities for African-Americans in the region.
Today, in the face of mounting food insecurity we need to keep our eyes fixed on God’s horizon of hope. We must set welcome tables through creative partnerships that liberate us from the prison of the present, from the calculus of scarcity. Our conversations, our analyses, our logic, and our perspectives of world hunger are too often suffocated by the limited confines of the world as we know it. We need to disrupt, interrupt, and rupture the discourse and logic that dominate our public conversations and policies about food. We need to be open to new futures.
There is enough food for all. All we lack is political will.
The African-American political theologian Vincent Lloyd would contend that hope makes options for new life visible. These options are often invisible to the privileged. “What counts as radically new for the bourgeoisie is not radically new,” Lloyd reminds us, “because the bourgeoisie misperceives the status quo; the bourgeoisie is so invested, consciously or unconsciously, in maintaining the worldly order that the world appears to them different than it really is.”
We must fire up our Christian imagination with new visions of human flourishing and fresh glimpses of the divine. We must fire up our ecclesial imagination with the vision of a horizon of hope where God’s promise offers abundance to all, where all are fed at the life-savoring welcome table.
Bishop David D. Daniels III belongsto Church of God in Christ. He serves as the Henry Winters Luce Professor of World Christianity at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. He has served on the faculty since 1987.
Toolkits to help congregations and other faith communities participate in Bread for the World’s 2017 Offering of Letters: Doing Our Part to End Hunger will be available in late February. See ordering information below.
The Offering of Letters is focused on urging members of Congress to make funding decisions that put our country and the world on track toward ending hunger. We want Congress to fund and protect programs such as SNAP, WIC, international poverty focused development assistance, and tax credits for low-income workers.
The 2017 toolkit for coordinators of letter-writing events will contain many of the same items that past years’ kits have contained — how-to-information on planning an event, an explanation of the issue, items to help promote your event, videos to show during a presentation, a sample PowerPoint presentation, and more.
The Offering of Letters content will be on the Bread for the World website. In addition, materials will be available in Spanish.
Every Christmas, Rick Steves, a longtime Bread for the World member, raises funds for Bread through his traveling friends and network at Rick Steves' Europe. This special fundraiser helps support our advocacy to end hunger.
Rick challenged his fellow members to support Bread with a gift of $100. In response, Rick offered to match all gifts up to $250,000 and to send all who donated a thank you gift. The response was astonishing — with 2,470 people donating, raising over $316,000. With Rick’s generous $250,000 match, more than $566,000 in total was raised in support of our work to end hunger.
An additional $97,000 was raised in the last four days of 2016 in response to the generosity of a handful of Bread members who offered to match all gifts — up to $80,000 — given by Dec. 31.
With change on the horizon as president-elect Donald J. Trump and a new Congress takes office, Bread’s work to protect and sustain programs that help people struggling with hunger will arguably be more difficult. We are prepared to be diligent, and your Christmas gifts have given us the resources we need to start the year off strong. Thank you!
A recent poll of senior Protestant pastors reveals that 3 of 10 will participate in Bread for the World’s 2017 Offering of Letters: Doing Our Part to End Hunger.
Since 2011, Bread for the World has regularly participated in the annual Barna Pastors Poll, conducted by the research firm, Barna. This survey, conducted in the fall of each year, is a major tool for us to gauge how pastors view Bread and also the issues we campaign on.
The 2016 poll, which surveyed 600 senior Protestant pastors, found that the number of pastors who are aware of and have a good impression of Bread for the World is increasing. Four out of every 10 senior pastors recognize Bread as an advocacy organization for hunger and poverty issues; and of this number, 7 out of every 10 senior pastors of mainline denominations identify Bread as such.
More than half of the senior pastors preach about the issue. These are their top three concerns: protecting programs that help hungry and poor people, job creation and unemployment, and balancing the budget ending deficit spending.
Photo: Eleanor Crook posing for a photo during an award ceremony to accept the President’s Volunteer Service Award for Lifetime Achievement. Brian Birzer for Bread for the World.
Eleanor Crook and her late husband, Ambassador William H. Crook, have been awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) for Lifetime Achievement.
The country’s highest award for volunteerism was presented to Mrs. Crook last month at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.
Eleanor Crook has been a long-time leader of Bread for the World. Her philanthropy and advocacy have strengthened Bread for the World for more than four decades, and she served on Bread’s board for many years.
She is currently working with family members to make her foundation an effective force against world hunger and malnutrition for decades to come. Her family’s grocery company, H-E-B, donates 5 percent of its pre-tax profits to charities, mainly food banks and other organizations that help hungry people.
William Crook became national director of the VISTA program 50 years ago. He was part of the team that launched the War on Poverty during the administration of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. William Crook then served as U.S. ambassador to Australia.
He remained active in civic affairs throughout his life. He volunteered in Ethiopia during the famine of 1985 and, in the process, caught a disease that eventually led to his death.
By Alison Grant
Getting enough fresh fruits and vegetables to eat can be a hit or miss prospect in Cleveland's “food deserts” where full service grocery stores are hard to come by. At the same time, an astounding amount of produce and other food in the United States — more than 30 million tons a year — ends up in landfills.
A fourth-generation fruit-and-vegetable wholesaler in Cleveland is taking on those incongruities with a program designed to assist low-income families while tackling food waste.
Forest City Weingart Produce Co. has begun selling, at cost, fruits and vegetables that come through its warehouse every week that are totally healthy but cosmetically flawed — an eggplant with a scar, a dimpled orange, the oddly shaped tomato. The "Perfectly Imperfect" endeavor is a unique effort by which the wholesaler is packaging imperfect produce for purchase on a small scale for individuals, says Ashley Weingart, the company’s director of communications and community outreach.
It’s also part of a growing push across the country to save misshapen yet completely edible food from the dump. Writer Jordan Figueiredo has a social media campaign to promote the ugly produce movement on Twitter @UglyFruitAndVeg, and on Facebook.
“We see an opportunity to reduce food waste and help get more fruits and vegetables to the population that can’t afford them,” says Weingart as she assembles boxes of imperfect cantaloupes, green peppers, potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, lemons and mangos.
Perfectly Imperfect sells the produce medleys every Friday. A 15-pound mixture goes for $15 or get 30 pounds for $25 at 4000 Orange Ave in Cleveland (call ahead to order at 216/881-3232). Shoppers also can sign up to have boxes delivered to their homes ($7.50 within the city, $10 elsewhere in the county and $15 for surrounding counties). The program is open to all.
Ashley’s husband Andy Weingart, whose great-grandfather founded the company in 1900, says the wholesaler used to throw out blemished produce that grocery stores didn’t want because they have trouble selling it to picky shoppers.
The company donates 100,000 pounds of imperfect produce to the Cleveland Area Food Bank every year and will continue doing so. But there is even more on hand, which led Ashley Weingart to hatch the idea for Perfectly Imperfect after joining the family business.
Weingart says she was struck by the contrast between the bounty of fruits and vegetables arriving every day at the Northern Ohio Food Terminal, the amount the company was discarding because of superficial flaws, and the need for nutritious food in surrounding neighborhoods - which includes some of the poorest zip codes in Ohio.
“It seems ridiculous. I can’t think of a better word at the moment,” she says. “There’s no reason why 40 million Americans should be food insecure, and that we should have 40 percent of the food in this country being wasted.”
Weingart and her husband practice what they preach when it comes to eating nourishing food, and are bringing up their three young children the same way.
“Our kids are adventurous eaters,” Weingart says. “I refuse to cut the crusts off their bread.”
Brimming with ideas for healthy eating at affordable prices while reducing food waste, she has initiated a number of other street level efforts including:
“We want to bridge the gap between all the food waste that exists in our country and to help the community around us,” says Weingart. “We feel like we have the obligation and the opportunity to help.”
Alison Grant is a freelance writer in Bay Village, Ohio.
Call (800/826-3688) your senators today. Tell your senators to make ending hunger by 2030 a priority and to not repeal the Affordable Care Act until a comparable replacement plan is determined. The legislation has helped 16 million low-income Americans have access to healthcare coverage, primarily through the expansion of Medicaid.
Indigenous communities have some of the highest hunger rates in the United States. As a group, one in four Native Americans and Alaskan Natives are food insecure, defined as not having regular, reliable access to the foods needed for good health.
While hunger declined from 2017 for the general U.S. population, African Americans experienced a one percent increase, an increase of 153,000 African American households. This fact sheet explores the issue in depth.
Better nutrition is a necessary component of a country’s capacity to achieve development goals such as economic growth and improved public health.
Dear Members of Congress,
As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...
This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-African people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.
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...
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.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.
These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C.