- About Hunger
- How to End Hunger
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By Stephen H. Padre
Take a look at a week in the life of Bread’s president, Rev. David Beckmann, and you’ll see him out and about a lot in our nation’s capital. He wears the hats of representative of the organization, public speaker, and career crusader against hunger – sometimes all at once. He’s taking Bread’s message to people on the inside of Congress and the administration, and there’s an urgency to his mission.
One week in mid-May, Beckmann was heavily involved in a series of events to ensure the future of Feed the Future. These events were a major part of urging the U.S. government to do its part to end hunger by 2030. Beckmann - and all of Bread - is working to make hunger a priority for the federal government, especially as a new president takes office early next year.
For the past several months, Bread has been talking a lot about Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food-security initiative. It’s the initiative that would be made permanent by the Global Food Security Act (GFSA), which Bread has been pushing hard for Congress to pass. This act would make Feed the Future a program that continues beyond the Obama administration.
Beckmann gave a short speech and took part in a panel discussion at a conference on food security organized by Feed the Future the week of May 16. The conference was one of a series of meetings held in different parts of the world by Feed the Future to bring together experts in the private sector, civil society, the U.S. government, and the agriculture and development sectors to discuss these issues.
The conference concluded with a roundtable meeting broadcast publicly online on May 20 to discuss the role of food security in light of recent policy agreements and the Sustainable Development Goals, emerging trends impacting the global food system, and mobilization of a global financing framework for food security. The roundtable included, among others, Beckmann plus Beth Dunford, the head of Feed the Future, which is housed in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and currently co-chair of the Global Food and Agriculture Program at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Beckmann’s work that week also involved meeting with a small task force on ending hunger by 2030 that he serves on. The task force is part of USAID’s Advisory Council on Voluntary Foreign Assistance, which he is a member of. The work of the task force will conclude in August, and its report will go to Gayle Smith, the administrator of USAID.
Both the Feed the Future conference and the USAID task force’s work are major parts of a process to ensure that as many pieces as possible of a plan to end hunger by 2030 are in place for the new president and Congress when they take office in January 2017. Meeting the 2030 deadline will mean these parts of the government will need to start work on the plan early in their terms. USAID plans to produce a report that outlines a strategy to achieve global food and nutrition security by 2030. USAID believes that global food and nutrition security is central to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
While Beckmann and USAID’s Smith certainly aren’t working alone on these matters, it is a partnership that is many years in the making. These leaders of their respective organizations have known each other professionally for many years and their careers have brought them together several times. Several more years from now, in 2030, both Beckmann and Smith will most likely be enjoying retirement, but they hope the world will be a different place then – a place with no hunger. In the meantime, expect to find Beckmann around town, in and out of the halls of our federal government.
Stephen H. Padre is the managing editor in Bread’s communications department and edits this newsletter.
Photo: Rev. David Beckmann (top right) is joined by Gayle Smith (top left), Mark Brinkmoeller of USAID, and Dr. Sandra Joireman, chair of Bread’s board of directors. Photo: Bread for the World
By Kelvin Beachum Jr.
As a pro football player, I know that getting enough of the right food improves my performance on and off the field. The same holds true for children. Without proper nutrition, they can't reach their God-given potential.
That's why I'm joining Bread for the World's Virtual Lobby Day on June 7. To end hunger, we need everybody in the game.
In just a few days, hundreds of Bread for the World members will go to Capitol Hill and demand an end to child and maternal malnutrition. I can't be there in person, but I won’t be sitting on the sidelines.
On June 7, will you join me and call your members of Congress? The more voices we have, the more impact we have.
This year, 159 million children worldwide suffer lifelong consequences of stunting from malnutrition, beginning in the womb when their mothers can’t get proper nutrition. Each summer, millions of U.S. children lose access to the meals they need to thrive when school cafeterias close for vacation.
We can do better, but we need you on the team. Join me and together, we can make hunger history.
Kelvin Beachum Jr. is an offensive lineman for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Bread for the World member.
By Stephen H. Padre
One of the major causes of hunger is disasters and emergencies — both natural and human-caused. These events trigger humanitarian responses — immediate, lifesaving assistance — from the United Nations and donor countries like the U.S.
The world is witnessing record numbers of people requiring help from such humanitarian mobilizations. The biggest and most prominent emergency is the millions of people fleeing the civil war in Syria. Political will is waning to support that and other emergencies, not to mention funding to support the massive amounts of assistance needed.
To address this situation, world leaders gathered May 23-24 for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. Convened by the U.N., the summit brought together 55 heads of state and government and other officials from 173 countries. Hundreds of representatives from the private sector and thousands from civil society also attended, marking a diverse range of actors discussing new ways to alleviate suffering, including by addressing the social, economic, and other inequities that could ignite simmering tensions into violent conflict.
“This unique summit has set us on a new course,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in closing remarks. “It is not an end point, but a turning point.”
The summit concluded by endorsing five responsibilities to improve aid delivery, support refugees, uphold international law, increase financing, and prevent the crises generating the largest migration flows in 70 years.
Bread was represented at the summit by the chair of its board of directors, Sandra Joireman.
"It was an encouraging thing to see that the U.N. recognizes the challenges of the current humanitarian system in addressing contemporary crises, such as forced migration from climate change and violence," Joireman said in reflections shared by email after the summit.
Ban said humanitarian and development organizations had agreed on a new way of working to reduce the need for humanitarian action, while aid agencies and donor governments had committed to a “grand bargain” that placed resources in the hands of those who needed them. Governments had committed to do more to prevent conflict, uphold international law, and live up to the promise of the United Nations Charter.
Another major outcome of the summit was the launch of a new global partnership for preparedness, led by the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group of Ministers of Finance of the Climate Vulnerable Forum. The partnership includes 43 high-risk developing nations and several U.N. agencies concerned with hunger and responses to emergencies.
The partnership will strengthen preparedness capacities initially in 20 countries so they attain a minimum level of readiness by 2020 for future disaster risks mainly caused by climate change.
A spokesman for the V20 said that the goal of the partnership with the international community is to make sure that when disasters strike, the mechanisms and support are in place so people can get back on their feet as soon as possible, therefore minimizing the impact on development gains and preventing uncontrolled humanitarian crises.
"There was a strong sense at the summit that this is a critical moment in which states and international organizations need to think about ways to change the system of humanitarian assistance to make it more agile and effective," Joireman said. "There is currently insufficient funding to address all the present humanitarian needs and every reason to believe those needs will grow over the next decade. We need more effective assistance and different forms of funding, such as public-private partnerships, to provide new sources of aid."
Stephen H. Padre is the managing editor in Bread’s communications department and edits this newsletter.
Editor’s note: A new book, Advocating for Justice: An Evangelical Vision for Transforming Systems and Structures, launches this month. The editor of Bread Blog spoke to one of the book’s authors, Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, senior associate for national Catholic engagement at Bread, about how the book came about and its purpose.
Q. What inspired you and the other authors to write Advocating for Justice?
A. The collaboration among the co-authors didn’t start out with the idea of writing a book. Our group got together to create a website called evangelicaladvocacy.org. The website offers diverse theological and intellectual materials to foster dialogue, discussion, and engagement in Christian global poverty advocacy, especially related to U.S. government assistance.
We received so much encouraging feedback regarding the website that we decided to write a book that could aid evangelicals in churches, educational institutions, relief/development practitioners, and evangelical parachurch ministries toward advocacy.
Q. In your opinion, why is it important for evangelical Christians to join in advocacy?
A. Evangelicals are actively involved in carrying out God’s mission in the world, and evangelicals in large part have left out an important and effective tool—advocacy—in the midst of their efforts.
Traditional boundaries for public engagement have caused some evangelicals to steer clear from political advocacy. In many evangelical churches, advocacy has been forsaken or forgotten. Yet, we see that evangelicals have more recently been getting behind issues such as immigration reform, human trafficking, criminal justice reform, and hunger.
Evangelicals can be faithful followers of Jesus and have a greater impact in the world around them too.
Q. What is new or different about Advocating for Justice?
A. Many evangelicals have missed the proper relationship of faith to advocacy and how those two are interconnected. We argue that the proper place for advocacy is within the process of discipleship. That the essence of God’s character empowers humanity and makes clear that faithful discipleship includes engagement with the authorities by the body of Christ, especially when power is being used sinfully.
The book lays out the concept of “transformational advocacy” and encourages church leaders to equip congregations to respond faithfully to God’s calling to engage in this special area of ministry: advocacy.
Q. As the number of social justice issues grows, we can’t give our time and effort to every cause. How can one decide on a cause to advocate for?
A. Prayer is a good place to start. If an injustice you witnessed or experienced moves your heart and captivates your mind – notice that. Pay attention to those God-given stirrings. Reflecting on what God may be calling you to do can be helpful to discern which issues or actions you may be called to get involved with.
Educate yourself. What organizations, academic institutions, books, or thought leaders are thinking about this issue? What are they saying? Remember to look for a variety of perspectives so you can challenge yourself, your assumptions, and really learn different viewpoints to get a clearer picture of the issue.
Q. What current issues need more attention and activists behind them?
A. Childhood poverty in the United States needs more attention. Children make up roughly 24 percent of our total population in the U.S. but comprise one-third of our nation’s poor people. More than one in five children live in poverty. African-American and Hispanic children are disproportionately represented in these sobering statistics.
The U.S. lags behind other developed nations in life expectancy and child survival because we tolerate higher levels of poverty and hunger. Education, access to healthy food, and other socioeconomic factors drive wellness disparities in this country. If nutrition, education, and access to food affect our ability to actually end hunger, then who has the power to make a difference?
A book launch celebration for Advocating for Justice is scheduled for June 3 during this year’s Justice Conference in Chicago. Learn more about the book on Facebook. The book is available on pre-order at amazon.com.
By Dr. Agnes Aboum
In April, I led a World Council of Churches ecumenical racial-justice solidarity visit to the U.S. The visit began with a visit to Bread for the World’s offices in Washington, D.C. During the visit, I heard a term that was new to me: food desert. From my African and Kenyan context, a desert is a place where no or very little growth takes place when looked at from the surface; in other words, life is stifled.
So I was keen to understand what food deserts mean in a country and world of plenty. I learned that food deserts are places where people - especially the marginalized, poor, and people of African descent - find it expensive to use food stores where nutritious food is sold and are forced to opt for snacks and unhealthy foods from nearby stores, thereby jeopardizing their health and nutrition status.
Poverty and hunger exist in similar situations in the world where wealth exists. I believe that no one needs to be poor and that there is so much food that is wasted by millions of people while women and children from Africa and marginal communities in the Global North and South go hungry. This is one of the scandals of our human development that contradicts our faith while our Lord Jesus asks whether when he was hungry we fed him.
Studies show that agriculture and food production in Africa and the Global South is carried out at 70 percent to 80 percent by small-scale women farmers. Studies also show that many women and children die from malnutrition and poor nutrition. This makes maternal healthcare a priority issue. Ninety million children under the age of five and 795 million adults globally remain undernourished. Women die because of poverty and poor sanitation and lack of nutrition and adequate food.
In sum, although efforts by global leaders and countries to overcome poverty and hunger have been stepped up with the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals and now the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the United Nations in 2015, millions of women and children as well as other poor people still go hungry every day and live where poverty is still rampant. It is therefore important for women, especially pan-African women, to speak out and act against this injustice. An upcoming event - Pan-African Women of Faith: Lifting Our Voices and Votes to End Hunger and Poverty - is an opportunity to ensure that we are listening to the voices of pan-African women and working with them to end hunger and poverty - and not just for them. The World Council of Churches, in partnership with Bread for the World and the Office of the Dean of the Chapel at Howard University, is honored to be of service in this partnership to help end hunger and poverty in our world.
A member of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Dr. Agnes Aboum is the moderator of the World Council of Churches Central Committee (board of directors). She is the first woman and first African to be elected to this post.
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Justice, art, music, and spirituality define the annual Wild Goose Festival, held on the banks of the French Broad River in the southern Appalachian Mountains, near Asheville, N.C. This year’s festival runs July 7-10.
The festival, according to its website, is “a place where all kinds of people come together, not only to hear great music and incredible speakers, but also to dive into lively conversations with thought leaders, writers, dreamers, artists, visionaries, social justice activists, peace-makers…” Most participants stay in the nearby campgrounds in tents or RVs during the festival.
Taking its name from the Celtic metaphor for Holy Spirit, the Wild Goose community agrees with Bread for the World, that “we cannot ‘food-bank’ our way to the end of hunger.” The courageous and complex work of changing the dynamics, policies, and attitudes that perpetuate hunger and poverty happens only with a movement of God’s Spirit.
When you buy tickets for Wild Goose, use the discount code bemyguest for a 25 percent discount for Bread members.
Bread staff members Michael Smith and Nancy Neal will collaborate with Sojourners staffer Lisa Sharon Harper to lead a session titled “Transforming our story to change the world: the journey from compassion to justice.”
There are a number of pre-festival events as well as well-known speakers. Check out the website for information on these.
Last week, we set a goal to raise $5,000 in 24 hours to expand our work to reform unjust criminal justice laws. More than 120 Bread members responded and gave $6,800 – surpassing our goal! Thank you for your support and for believing in second chance.
Bread continues to make steady progress toward the goal of ending hunger in our own country and abroad. That’s because we keep at it day after day, week after week – constantly urging Congress to change the policies and conditions that allow hunger to persist. This persistence is possible because thousands of Bread for the World members make monthly contributions through the Baker’s Dozen monthly giving program.
You can join them in helping to end hunger every month of the year. It’s quick and easy to start making monthly gifts using your credit card. These automatic transfers reduce gift-processing costs, so you’ll be making the equivalent of 13 gifts a year – a baker’s dozen. Sign up online or call 800/822-7323, ext. 1140.
Celebrate a special event, such as a birthday, wedding, or graduation, or recognize someone special while supporting Bread’s work to end hunger. A card with a striking photo will be sent to the person you are honoring or to a friend or family member who has lost a loved one. When you make a gift in honor or in memory of an individual, you provide the name and address of the recipient, and we send the card to that recipient on your behalf. View the cards and make your gift in honor or in memory today. You may also call 800/822-7323, ext. 1140.
Here are three blog posts worth reading that recently appeared on Bread Blog. The blog posts include the importance of showing up for advocacy, a recent entry in the Faith & Elections blog series, and a food pantry that offers D.C. residents healthier dessert options.
"Woody Allen once said, 'Eighty percent of success is showing up.'...At Bread for the World, we’re all about showing up too."
“I am often asked wherein the Presbyterian Church finds its call to engage in advocacy and elections. I love it when I get this question because I studied political science and public policy, and I can tell you that in the 114th Congress, there are 36 members who identify as Presbyterians.”
“For over 35 years, Martha’s Table has been feeding the hungry and homeless in and around the District of Columbia. Like many other regional and national organizations dedicated to the fight against hunger, the focus has been on getting food — any food — to those in need, but not necessarily the best or right food.”
By Stephen H. Padre
Give anybody three wishes, and many people would ask for world peace and perhaps an end to all suffering from calamities such as hunger.
David Nabarro might ask to have 17 wishes granted instead of three. It’s Nabarro’s job, in some ways, to end hunger and poverty. And slow down climate change. And ensure clean water and sanitation for all the world’s people. Plus several other monumental, earth-changing tasks. Quite a lot for just one person to handle.
He’s the man appointed as a special adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a process known by the U.N. as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Nabarro – and many others – thinks the world can actually achieve these goals. He doesn’t have a genie in a bottle to grant his wishes, but he does have the entire U.N. system behind him.
(The outcomes of the recent World Humanitarian Summit were added to the 2030 Agenda and Nabarro’s portfolio. See related article.)
Addressing part of that system, the World Food Program, at its board meeting in Rome, on Feb. 8, Nabarro described the challenges he and the rest of the world face. “Implementation requires all of us to transform our work to a people-centered and planet-sensitive agenda with local, national and global momentum for implementation,” he said in a speech to the board. “We must remember at all times that it is about the wellbeing of future generations…”
Nabarro was born in London and is a physician by trade. He has more than 30 years of experience in public health, nutrition, and development work at the national, regional, and global levels and has held positions in non-governmental organizations, universities, national governments and the U.N. system.
From 2011 to 2015, Nabarro served as coordinator of the Movement to Scale Up Nutrition. In that role, he became a friend of Bread, especially in its nutrition work. Asma Lateef, director of Bread for the World Institute, interacted frequently with Nabarro in this work.
Nabarro made clear in his speech that the 2030 Agenda is not solely driven by the U.N. The SDGs were agreed upon by all U.N. member states through their heads of state and government, “and they own it to the full.”
Among his means of implementing the agenda is engaging a wider community of actors, including faith groups. He wants these actors to actively pursue the new agenda and galvanize for action at local level. Message for Bread members: Nabarro wants you to do your part.
“The 2030 Agenda requires us all to work differently,” he said. He explained that the 17 SDGs are inextricably linked and require implementation together as a comprehensive and cohesive whole. Bread for the World Institute has been making many connections among hunger and other issues that are causes or exacerbating factors of hunger, such as health and women’s empowerment. “Zero hunger is linked to poverty reduction, social protection, gender equity, both sustainable production and consumption, and partnerships,” Nabarro continued, referring to SDG 2.
“It is a tremendously positive sign that the international community has agreed to such a visionary and ambitious agenda,” Lateef said. “Ending hunger and malnutrition are at the center of the goals, but the SDGs recognize that progress on one will require progress on them all.”
Nabarro dedicated an entire section of his speech to food security and nutrition within the context of the 2030 Agenda. He cited the Movement to Scale Up Nutrition as an attempt to orient multiple global, regional, and local actors, each with different mandates, toward a shared goal.
“The Scaling Up Nutrition Movement has rallied diverse stakeholders around the vision that improving maternal and child nutrition outcomes is good for the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities, and economies. It’s a new way of working that recognizes that the complexity of the problem and values the different contributions of different sectors. We need innovative approaches that brings people together around the SDGs,” added Lateef.
Stephen H. Padre is the managing editor in Bread’s communications department and edits this newsletter.
Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.
Mass incarceration has far-reaching effects in the United States. It poses a significant barrier to ending U.S. hunger and poverty by 2030—a goal the United States adopted in 2015. But the connection is not always obvious.
The United States has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies. Food assistance that includes nutritious food for pregnant women and young children is both a life-and-death matter for individuals and an economic imperative for countries.
Dear Members of Congress,
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This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-African people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.
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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.
Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.
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Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.