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Bread for the World Calls for Continued Protection of Anti-Poverty Programs

By Racine Hamilton, Kristen Youngblood on January 24, 2012

Bread for the World affirms President Barack Obama's emphasis on supporting programs that assist and create opportunities for all low-income families, as he expressed during his State of the Union address tonight.

"One of the values we ascribe to as a country is that if you're willing to work hard, you should not have to struggle to put food on the table for your family," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and a Lutheran minister. "But despite our country's wealth, one out of seven Americans live in households where they don't get enough to eat." The current economy has made something as basic as buying groceries a challenge for millions of Americans. The president's remarks tonight reiterated that point. Bread for the World urges our nation's leaders to create a circle of protection around funding for programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), food assistance to poor senior citizens, and tax benefits for low-income families.

"We know these programs help poor people lift themselves out of poverty and contribute to society in meaningful ways," said Beckmann. "We also applaud Pres.

Obama's international efforts to build on the American legacy of hope through effective development assistance that roots out poverty and the resulting political instability." While Bread for the World members and people of faith helped to prevent serious budget cuts to these programs in 2011, their funding remains at serious risk in 2012 as Congress looks to reduce federal deficits. "We must address our deficits, but we cannot sacrifice our commitment to addressing hunger, alleviating poverty, and promoting economic mobility," said Beckmann. "This is not a partisan issue; it is a moral one." Earlier this month, Bread for the World launched its 2012 Offering of Letters campaign, which urges members of Congress to create a circle of protection around programs that give hungry and poor people in this country and abroad the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty. Within this broader campaign are four mini-campaigns that address specific legislative topics that will come before Congress in 2012: nutrition, poverty-focused development assistance, tax policy, and food aid.

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