Bread Newsletter: November 2017

Contents:

World Food Prize ceremony. Photo courtesy of World Food Prize.

At World Food Prize, Budget Cuts and Global Conflict Cited as Threats to Ending Hunger

By Bread Staff

Hundreds gathered in Iowa last month, including staff from Bread for the World and Bread for the World Institute, for the annual World Food Prize. This year’s prize winner, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, said he would use the $250,000 award that comes with the prestigious prize to provide fellowships and grants to young Africans, dedicated to making a living through agriculture.

"We will arise and feed Africa," said Adesina, in the Des Moines Register. "The day is coming very soon when ... all its children will be well-fed, when millions of smallholder farmers will be able to send their kids to school.”

The award was founded by the late Norman Borlaug, a native of Cresco, Iowa who won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Borlaug was called “the Father of the Green Revolution” for his work developing high-yielding strains of wheat that were credited with staving off the starvation of millions of people in Pakistan and India in the 1960s.

Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, lauded Adesina’s drive to end hunger in Africa.  At a press conference, Beckmann cited two significant threats to progress against domestic and global hunger: budget cuts and the surge of global conflict.

"We have made tremendous progress against hunger in the United States and around the world,” Beckmann said. “But budget cuts proposed by Congress and global conflict threaten this progress and will increase hunger.”

At least 20 million people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and northeast Nigeria suffer from near-famine conditions, and hunger is on the rise globally for the first time in almost a decade. In fact, 815 million people in the world suffered hunger in 2016, which is a significant increase from the 777 million who suffered from hunger in 2015. This reversal is largely due to conflict and the effects of climate change.

Bread was instrumental in securing more than $1 billion in the fiscal year 2017 budget for famine relief.

Beckmann also spoke about the farm bill during his press conference, emphasizing its role as the largest piece of legislation in the United States relating to hunger and food insecurity domestically and abroad. This wide scope makes the farm bill vital not only to farmers, but to other residents of rural areas, people anywhere in the United States who do not have enough money for food, and countries where many people struggle with hunger and malnutrition.

In the last farm bill passed in 2014, 80 percent of spending focused on domestic programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program, and senior nutrition. It also funds important global assistance programs such as the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, and Food for Peace. Food for Peace is the principal U.S. program providing assistance in hunger emergencies and recovery efforts around the world.

Some of the most significant ways the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill can fulfill its potential to reduce U.S. and global hunger, include strengthening the U.S. nutrition safety net, promoting better nutrition both in the United States and in developing countries, and ensuring that timely help reaches people caught in hunger crises around the world.

Passing a proactive, forward-thinking farm bill will put the United States, and the world, on the path to a future without hunger, Beckmann said.

This story was written by Chase Cabot, an intern at Bread for the World and Jennifer Gonzalez, managing editor at Bread. Chris Ford, senior manager for media relations at Bread contributed to this article.

Back to the top

Dulce Gamboa speaking at the 2016 Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World.

On Faith: The Common Good

Photo: Dulce Gamboa speaking at the 2016 Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. Joseph Molieri / Bread for the World.

By Dulce Gamboa

Since the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis has called every Catholic to become a missionary disciple. It is a deeply personal invitation for us to live our baptismal commitment by fully participating in the life of the church and to act to transform our world for the common good.

Three years ago, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops started planning a response to the pope’s call and embarked on a discernment process with Hispanics called the V Encuentro or Fifth Encounter. This is a critical dialogue within the Catholic Church to better respond to the needs of Hispanics and for the Hispanic community to discern how to live their vocation more fully as missionary disciples. In other words, it answers the pope’s call to be a church that goes forth. Certainly, this is an exciting moment in history for the Catholic Church in the United States!

Encuentro is invigorating parishes and communities around the country. It affirms the strength of the Hispanic community and propels us to reach people in the peripheries, as Pope Francis, repeatedly asks us to do. In the context of this dialogue, the Encuentro promotes a missionary vocation that seeks to reach out to those the church does not yet know.

The Encuentro process has a bottom-up approach, starting at the parish level, Hispanics have had the opportunity to lift their voices to express their needs, challenges, and aspirations. Thousands of parishes have met this year as part of the V Encuentro to be witnesses to the love of God and — sharing that love near and far — to attract those who haven’t had an encounter with Christ. This process has already united the Hispanic ministry of the church. After the parish Encuentros, the process continues with regional Encuentros and will culminate in 2018 with a National Encuentro in Gripevine, Texas. The results of the national effort will serve as directives for years to come.

The church is listening to the fastest growing population within the Catholic Church. Hispanics are changing the face of the church, as almost half of Catholic millennials are Latino. At the end of the day, the Encuentro is preparing us as a church to embrace the blessings that Hispanics bring to the Catholic Church and to American society.

This national initiative also reflects the changing face of the Hispanic ministry and the full potential of Hispanics as agents of evangelization. The voices coming out of the V Encuentro are genuine and show the realities of the Hispanic/immigrant communities across the country — immigration being one of the most important concerns for parishioners. As part of the Diocesan Encuentro for the Archdiocese of Washington, during our diocesan celebration that took place on October 21, I witnessed the strong faith of our community coupled with action on immigration. We wrote letters to Congress in support of the Dream Act of 2017 as an expression of witness to Christ’s love for all people. This was a true exercise of faith in action.

Witnessing this process and listening for what the Holy Spirit has in store for the Catholic Church is truly exciting. It is an honor for us at Bread for the World to walk alongside of our Hispanic ministry partners in the Catholic Church as we answer the Lord’s call to be missionary disciples.

Dulce Gamboa is associate for Latino relations at Bread for the World.

Back to the top

U.S. Capitol Building. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

News Briefs

BUDGET CUTS AIMED AT ANTI-HUNGER AND ANTI-POVERTY PROGRAMS

House Republicans last month voted 216-212 to pass a budget blueprint for the 2018 fiscal year. The move now paves the way for tax cuts. To pay for the cuts, critical anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), low-income tax credits, and Medicaid would be cut over the next 10 years.

Find out how your representative and senators voted on their chamber's budget resolution. Call (800-826-3688) and thank them if they voted "no." If they voted "yes," tell them you are disappointed.

The fight to protect these programs from cuts is far from over. We need you to continue to urge members of Congress to reject cuts to domestic and international anti-hunger programs during the year-end spending debate.

TAX POLICY IS A HUNGER ISSUE 

As Congress shifts its attention to tax policy reform, Bread for the World has released a new document, “Tax Policy is a Hunger Issue.” It emphasizes that any tax reform must: increase equity and fairness; maintain and strengthen tax credits for low-income workers; block efforts to finance tax cuts for high-income people by cutting programs that help low-income people; and encourage work and allow new markets to flourish.

Any tax reform enacted by Congress will significantly impact all Americans, especially those who struggle with hunger and poverty. Bread urges Congress to pass tax policies that expand opportunity for, rather that harm, low-income families.

BREAD’S DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS NAMED TOP LOBBYIST

Congratulations to Eric Mitchell, Bread’s director of government relations, for being named by The Hill as one of Top Lobbyists 2017: Grassroots. It is the sixth time that Mitchell has been honored by the newspaper for his tireless work to end hunger.

Before coming to Bread, Mitchell served as vice president of government relations at Russ Reid, a marketing and communications firm serving nonprofit organizations, and as senior policy advisor to U.S. Congressman John Lewis.

2018 OFFERING OF LETTERS COMING IN JANUARY

Starting in 2018, the full toolkit for Bread for the World’s Offering of Letters will now be primarily accessible through the web, with a condensed print version mailed to regular users. This transition, from primarily print to primarily digital, started in 2009 when Bread began making the full toolkit also available online.

All the Offering of Letters materials you come to expect from Bread — such as the how-to-information on planning an event, an explanation of the issue, items to help promote your event — will be available online in both English and Spanish.

A condensed version, containing sections deemed essential by various user surveys, will be printed in English and Spanish. It will be mailed out in January, along with posters and worship bulletins. However, the printed version will not include all the elements in the online version of the 2018 Offering of Letters.

For the 2018 Offering of Letters, Bread will focus again on the budget. Please keep reading our e-newsletter to find out more information about the 2018 Offering of Letters.

CHRISTMAS CARDS HELP END HUNGER

When you send Bread for the World Christmas cards to your family and friends, you will help create hope and opportunity for people who are hungry. Proceeds from the sale of these cards support efforts to urge our nation’s decision makers to change the policies and conditions that allow hunger to persist in our own country and abroad.

The 2017 card features an original illustration called “Nurture” by Doug Puller, Bread for the World’s senior design and art manager.

Ten cards and envelopes are only $15 (includes shipping). Additional card designs, including one without a religious greeting, are available. View the cards and place your order today, or call 800-822-7323, ext. 1072.

GIFTS OF STOCK AND CHARITABLE IRA ROLLOVER

The tax advantages of gifts to Bread for the World Institute may be especially significant this year.  Many stocks are at record highs and would be subject to capital gains taxes if sold.  When you contribute gifts of stock to Bread for the World Institute, you may deduct the market value of the stock as a charitable contribution – and avoid capital gains taxes.

You may also wish to use appreciated stock to establish a charitable gift annuity, which provides fixed income for life for you or a person you name.  You may also receive some tax savings in the first and subsequent years of the annuity. 

If you are 70 ½ years of age or older and have an IRA account, you may be able take advantage of rolling over up to $100,000 directly to a charitable entity, such as Bread for the World Institute.  A rollover cannot be counted as a charitable gift for income tax purposes, but it does fulfill your obligation to withdraw funds from your IRA.  If you don’t itemize your tax return, you are still eligible to support Bread for the World Institute in this way.  A charitable IRA rollover may also be helpful to your heirs since IRA accounts can be subject to taxation.

For more information about making gifts of stock, charitable gift annuities, or the charitable IRA rollover, please contact Vince Mezzera at vmezzera@bread.org or 800-882-7323, ext. 1128.

Back to the top

Indiana Hunger Network leaders, including Dave Miner, far right, meet with Gov. Eric Holcomb to discuss collaborations to end hunger.

Activist in Action: Million Meal Fast

Photo: Indiana Hunger Network leaders, including Dave Miner, far right, meet with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb to discuss collaborations to end hunger.

By Robin Stephenson

It is easy for the issue of hunger to get lost in today’s fast and furious news cycle. However, Dave Miner, a Bread for the World board member, decided to do something about that.

A long-time Bread leader in Indiana, Miner fasted for 16 days, from Sept. 20 through Oct. 5, to raise awareness about hunger and proposed federal budget cuts to vital programs that help end hunger. After consulting with his doctor, Miner, who is 64 years old, replaced solid food with water, electrolytes, and vitamins.

He originally started his fast before the House approved its budget resolution on Oct. 5 that cuts the Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP) by $150 billion over 10 years. In Indiana, 1 out of 10 hungriest states in the United States, a cut of this magnitude would translate into 50 million meals lost to vulnerable Hoosiers.

“I decided to try make people aware of this by giving up one meal for every million meals that would be lost to Hoosier kids, veteran, and seniors,” Miner told an Indianapolis news reporter in an interview aired on television.

The tactic to draw media attention to hunger in Indiana worked. Because of Miner, the issue of hunger and the proposed budget cuts that were being considered in Congress last month hit the Indiana news cycle, with Miner being interviewed several times, including in the state’s leading newspaper, the Indy Star.

For Matt Gross, Bread for World’s interim co-director of grassroots organizing, coordinating a spiritual discipline with a strategic need is a prescription for greater impact. “This has shown me the opportunities that arise when a solid leader takes an idea, prays about it, consults others, and really thinks through what can be done,” he said.

It’s a leadership model that Gross hope others will emulate.

Unfortunately, last month the Senate passed its budget resolution, which the House narrowly approved. The move now paves the way for tax cuts. Those tax cuts will most likely be paid for by cutbacks in funding to anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs. Miner said he was angry and disappointed. “I did not expect one man’s protest to change Congress’ direction, but I do hope I inspired others to be a voice for the hungry. Our country is better than this,” Miner said.

Miner hopes that his fast will encourage others in Indiana not just to advocate, but get more deeply involved in the work of Bread for the World Indiana.

Ending hunger in Indiana and across the U.S. will take everyone. Families, churches, community groups, businesses, and government all need to do their part. Miner is certainly doing his part.

Miner’s fast is over, but the memories of the experience are still fresh. One such poignant experience is when he and his fellow advocates sat down at a lunch table with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb to talk about better collaboration at the state level and working together for public policy that can end hunger.

In front of Miner was an empty plate — a stark reminder to the governor and all of us what too many Hoosiers experience when they sit down to the table.

You can read more about Miner’s 16-day fast at millionmealfast.com or on Facebook at Bread for the World — Indiana.

Robin Stephenson is senior manager for social media at Bread for the World.

Back to the top

A child gets his arm circumference measured as part of the Save the Children’s growth monitoring program to check for malnourishment in Chiquimula, Guatemala. Todd Post/Bread for the World Institute.

Migration Is a Hunger Issue: Honduras

Photo: A child gets his arm circumference measured as part of the Save the Children’s growth monitoring program to check for malnourishment in Chiquimula, Guatemala. Todd Post/Bread for the World Institute.

By Jordan Teague

Around the world, the number of people migrating is at an all-time high. People who migrate include refugees forced from their home countries because of violence, civil war, or natural disaster; people displaced from their homes within their own countries; and people leaving their homes to escape poverty or to seek better opportunities elsewhere. For centuries, people have migrated within their own countries or to others to seek out better lives for themselves and their families.

But the number of people fleeing their homes, rather than mainly seeking opportunities, is increasing. Many migrants are not so much being “pulled” to places like the United States, as “pushed” out of their home countries by factors beyond their control.

Take Honduras for example. Hondurans are facing widespread poverty, hunger, malnutrition, and violence. Nearly 63 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line. Nearly one in four children are stunted, or chronically malnourished. And the murder rate in Honduras is one of the highest in the world.

The World Food Program (WFP) recently released a report that presents evidence of the specific link between emigration from Honduras and the other Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador and Guatemala), and the inability of families to put food on the table. High unemployment rates and low wages are particularly common in the Dry Corridor, the most vulnerable region of all three countries. In Honduras’ Dry Corridor, 68 percent of the population is unemployed. There are several reasons for this, among them climate change, drought, and widespread destruction of crops from the disease coffee rust. Coffee rust has decimated the agriculture sector, destroying livelihoods and increasing food insecurity. WFP found that more than half of the households interviewed for its report spend more than two-thirds of their monthly income on food. And the top reason listed for emigration was “no food.”

The report also showed that emigration is linked to the food security of family members left behind in Central America. Migrants who do not succeed in crossing borders and in finding work once they reach their destination only add to their own and their families’ indebtedness. But those who do get jobs are able to send money back to their families. These funds, known as “remittances,” make a big difference in the lives of families back home. In 2015 alone, remittances to Honduras from the United States totaled more than $3.7 billion, which is between 17 percent and 18 percent of Honduras’ gross domestic product or GDP. WFP reports that the main use of remittances in Honduras is to buy food, followed by paying for basic education and medicines. Thus, remittances are critical for the food security of families left behind in Honduras.

Approximately 80 percent of the Hondurans living outside their country live in the United States. Nearly 60,000 migrants are legally in the United States under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Congress enacted the legislation that established TPS in order to protect foreign nationals from being returned to their home country if they meet two conditions: their country became unsafe to return to while they were in the United States, and returning would put them at risk of disease, violence, or death.

Hondurans were first made eligible for TPS in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch devastated the region. It has been extended ever since because of subsequent natural disasters. The current TPS for Honduras will expire on January 5, 2018, unless the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security makes the decision to extend it by November 6, 2017.

Given the conditions in Honduras — hunger, malnutrition, food insecurity, and drought, in addition to other factors such as economic inequality and gang violence — ending TPS for Honduras would place 60,000 Hondurans currently in the United States at great risk of increased hunger as well as poverty and violence. It would also increase hunger among their families in Honduras who currently rely on remittances to pay for food, education, and medicine.

An important part of comprehensive immigration reform in the United States would be to extend TPS for Honduras while also providing development assistance to enable the country to address the root causes of emigration — hunger, poverty, and malnutrition.

For more information, please read our latest version of the Immigration Is a Hunger Issue document.

Jordan Teague is international policy analyst at Bread for the World Institute.

Back to the top

Happy Thanksgiving

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