Real-Life Stories About Mothers and Children

What sort of change does Bread for the World hope letters sent to Congress make? How is hunger being ended and where? As part of this year's Offering of Letters, Bread went to Zambia to find out. Here are two examples of how your letters can impact real people in real places. In the infographic at the bottom of this page, you can trace the influence from your pen and paper to people in places far and near who are hungry.

Malnutrition is a contributing factor to preventable maternal and infant mortality rates.  Photo: Joe Molieri in Zambia / Bread for the World

Eating Better Means Living Better

It’s around 10:00 on a morning in October, and already the African sun is beating down, hinting at another hot and still day. In the shade in a clearing in the village of Chimudomba in eastern Zambia, a group of ten mothers and their babies and toddlers sit on mats. 

Margret Zimba is beginning her lesson with the women. As a warm-up and review of previous lessons, she started by singing a song with the women in their native language. “How many times should a child eat per day?” the song simultaneously asks and teaches. The women clap and dance while singing. It’s an easy way to get a simple but important message across to the mothers.

Zimba lives in the village and received training to be a volunteer nutrition leader from the Mawa program, run by U.S.-based Catholic Relief Services. Mawa operates with funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a major way our federal government carries out its response to hunger and poverty overseas. 

With the help of leaders like Zimba, women are learning about good nutrition for their children from pregnancy until age 2. They are learning the importance of good nutrition in a child’s first 1,000 days. Giving children enough food and nutrients early in life is a proven way to prevent problems such as stunted growth, learning problems, and poor health, which can affect people for a lifetime. 

Good nutrition is also important for pregnant mothers. Every year, thousands of women in developing countries die during childbirth. “If a mother eats well, it is easier to deliver a child, and they are not going to lose a lot of blood during delivery,” Zimba explains. “You find a difference even in the children when the mother eats well during her pregnancy.” Read the full story.

In rural Zambia USAID programs in paternship with the Zambian government is helping equip villagers with the knowledge of proper nutrients. Photo: Joe Molieri / Bread for the World

Living With HIV: Nutrition is Key

If you want to tackle hunger and poverty in Zambia, you also have to deal with HIV and AIDS. The country was one of the ground zeros for the disease in the 1980s and 90s, when it killed millions of parents and left children orphaned.

Since then, the Zambian and U.S. governments, health institutions, and other organizations have worked together to gain some control over the disease.

However, HIV cases are still high in Zambia — 12.4 percent of adults (over age 15) were HIV-positive in 2014, according to the United Nations AIDS program. And in November 2015, UNICEF reported that AIDS is now the leading cause of death for African teenagers, which means that many teens dying of AIDS were most likely HIV positive as younger children. Zambia has its share. Read the full story.

Since 1990, global hunger has decreased by nearly half, but undernutrition still causes 3.1 million child deaths annually.

Source: United Nations

It begins with you. And can lead to hungry people living in poverty getting the help they need. Infographic by Doug Puller / Bread for the World

from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    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...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • 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...

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.


  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • 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...


Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

February 7, 2017


The Jobs Challenge

April 10, 2018

From the Blog