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Annual Hunger Reports Support Our Advocacy

This article originally appeared in the January 2010 Newsletter.

Advocates around the country use Bread for the World Institute’s annual Hunger Report to learn more about the root causes of hunger and see real-life examples of how we can get involved in shaping solutions.

Each year, the Hunger Report explores a theme—whether it’s the role of agriculture in ending hunger, re-thinking the path to global development, or supporting low-wage workers in the United States. The reports offer information, visuals, and stories to help explain the ins and outs of the issues, even those that may seem unfamiliar or complicated.

For example, Sister Elizabeth Schaad and other members of the Bread group in Cincinnati, OH, held a series of meetings to study chapters of Agriculture in the Global Economy: Hunger 2003. Why international trade policies and U.S. commodity payments play important roles in world hunger and its solutions became much clearer as group members took turns presenting the material for discussion.

“We find that the issues apply to more than one year,” said Schaad. “The earlier report really helped when we started working on the farm bill in 2007. We use the information as background for our Offerings of Letters, and I especially like the sidebars that give a one- or two-page look at various subjects. They give the ideas a human face.”

Other Bread activists concur. Recently George Aman used excerpts from Global Development: Charting a New Course—Hunger 2009 to help prepare a world hunger workshop for a mission weekend at Wayne Presbyterian Church in Wayne, PA. “The book showed careful research and was well written,” Aman said.

Schaunel Steinnagel organized devotions at the Presbytery of Philadelphia with the help of Healthy Food, Farms, and Family: Hunger 2007. Barbara Mercer also uses the Hunger Report to prepare presentations for churches and denominational gatherings. A recent one was a workshop at the Northwest Ohio ELCA Synod Assembly. “I pick and choose facts, figures, and examples. Examples are especially important in trying to bring the big picture ‘home,’” she said.

Professors and teachers appreciate the up-to-date information and examples in the Hunger Report. Michelle Tooley, Eli Lilly professor of religion at Berea College in Kentucky, has used the resource for her senior seminar in Christianity and contemporary culture, called “Hunger in a Global Economy,” as well as for a course focused on the U.N. Millennium Development Goals and on farm policy.

Global Development: Charting a New Course—Hunger 2009 was a required text for “Global Poverty and the Struggle for Justice” at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. Suzanne Toton, associate professor of theology and religious studies, said that her students’ response to the report was “overwhelmingly positive.”

Those who would like to connect Scripture with a closer look at hunger issues have a new resource—a six-session Christian study guide developed for A Just and Sustainable Recovery: Hunger 2010. The theme of the study guide is “right relationships.” Particularly as Lent approaches, groups have an opportunity to combine Scripture-based reflections on God’s intentions for the world with a discussion of current realities based on A Just and Sustainable Recovery and their own experiences.

“The best part of the new Hunger Report Bible study is that it is truly helping my small group think about hunger issues in a way that we have never thought about them before,” said Melissa Yao, who has begun using the resource at Heritage Community Church in Severn, MD.

Visit www.bread.org/hungerreport to order or download A Just and Sustainable Recovery: Hunger 2010, use interactive graphs, access the study guide, see “The Report in Pictures,” and more. You can also order or download previous Hunger Reports at www.bread.org/institute.

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