- About Hunger
- How to End Hunger
- Our Impact
- Get Involved
By Jennifer Gonzalez
Social-justice issues, such as hunger, prison reform, and affordable housing, are at the heart of The Reformed Church of Highland Park’s mission. And that commitment was on full display when 16 church members – old and young alike - hit the road at 5 a.m. one Tuesday morning in June 2015 and caravanned from New Jersey to Bread for the World’s Lobby Day in Washington, D.C.
They caught the tail end of the morning worship, but that didn’t deter them. Armed with information about child nutrition and the Global Food Security Act, they made their way to the offices of U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
It had been several years since the church had taken part in a Bread Lobby Day. Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, the church’s senior co-pastor, said the church had been concentrating its efforts in dealing with a local immigration crisis instead.
“This year, I had in my mind that the church would participate in Lobby Day, especially because of the focus on child nutrition,” Kaper-Dale said. “I was particularly motivated to ask our legislators to support the summer meals program. We have a lot of people in our community directly impacted by that program.”
Because students are in tune with their peers, teenagers from the church also participated in Lobby Day. They are forceful advocates because they see firsthand the effects of how ill-conceived policy changes, such as cuts to SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), play out in the real world.
“It’s not just poverty-ridden countries, but in my own town people need help with the problem of hunger,” Olivia Jager, 14, said. “I have classmates on free- and reduced-price lunch. I feel that hunger and food are something a child or family shouldn’t have to worry about.”
By all accounts, the meetings with legislators went well. The group met with a staffer from Menendez’s office and talked passionately about the need for Congress to reauthorize the child nutrition bill and pass the Global Food Security Act. They did the same with two staffers from Booker’s office, but got a surprise when Booker showed up unexpectedly at the meeting. He was not scheduled to meet with the group.
After their meetings, the group again piled into a van and a car to trek back to New Jersey. “It made for a long day but good day,” Kaper-Dale said.
Kaper-Dale said the ride home acted as a sort of debriefing – a chance for church members to talk about their lobbying experience. He said he was struck, as well as others in the group, by the youthful energy and optimism in the halls of Congress.
“There is this assumption that Washington is broken and that there is a pall of negatively in Congress,” he said. “But that is just not true. There are youthful changers in these offices who listen well and really care.”
Jennifer Gonzalez is the associate online editor at Bread for the World.
Photo: Those from the congregation who went to Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., last month were paid a surprise visit during their time on Capitol Hill by one of their senators, Cory Booker (front center). Photo courtesy of The Reformed Church of Highland Park
In my own town people need help with the problem of hunger.
Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.
Even before Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico, hunger and food insecurity were much more common among Puerto Ricans than among their fellow U.S. citizens in the 50 states.
Before the hurricanes, 1.5 million Puerto Ricans were food insecure. The child food insecurity rate was...
By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Margot Nitschke
Ending hunger in the United States is within reach, explain Marlysa Gamblin and Margot Nitschke, in Getting to Zero Hunger by 2030...
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.
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.
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...
Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.