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Bread for the World urges elected leaders in Washington, D.C., to enable people in our nation and our world to feed their families and move out of poverty.
Personalized emails stand out. They tell senators and representative that you, as a constituent, really care about an issue. Members of Congress want to hear from their constituents about the issues on which they will vote in the Senate and House of Representatives.
The following are issues moving in Congress and/or in the administration. This is your opportunity to change policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist here and abroad.
The federal budget provides Congress and the president with the single biggest opportunity to shape our country’s priorities.
The choices our government makes regarding how it generates revenue and how it spends shared resources should promote hope, opportunity, and economic security for all people, especially those struggling to put food on the table.
As Christians, we believe that a key moral measure of our federal budget is how it treats those whom Jesus called "the least of these" (Matthew 25:45).
We must tell Congress to make funding decisions in 2017 that put our country and the world on track to ending hunger by 2030.
Hunger and malnutrition affect mothers and children more than any other group. Bolstering the nutrition of these groups will help us make great strides toward ending hunger by 2030.
Nearly half of the world’s smallholder farmers are women, with higher rates in developing countries. That means in the rural areas of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the majority of people engaging in subsistence farming to feed themselves and their families are women.
Being a smallholder farmer often means living on the edge. Changes in climate, a natural disaster, or even just the limits of what can be grown on a small plot of land can limit both the quantity and quality of the food a family eats. And this can be devastating to a woman farmer and her family.
For the first time since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, U.S. food insecurity and poverty rates declined in 2015 (latest data available), while both median household income and health insurance coverage increased.
However, far too many of our neighbors continue to struggle to buy nutritious food. One in 8 Americans, including 1 in 6 children, lives at risk of hunger.
Our nation’s federal nutrition programs keep hunger at bay for more than 42 million Americans. Congress has proposed cutting or restructuring these programs to achieve budget savings. That must not happen. Congress needs to protect and defend federal nutrition programs against harmful structural changes and budget cuts.
The U.S. has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies and is the largest provider of lifesaving food aid in the world. Since Food for Peace — the largest U.S. food-aid program — began in 1954, approximately 3 billion people in 150 countries have benefited from American generosity and compassion. In 2015 alone, U.S. food-aid programs reached 48.8 million people. These programs provide critical stabilization in fragile contexts by providing life-saving support to vulnerable families. U.S. food aid programs also complement other programs that work together to decrease dependency, allowing people to better feed themselves, protect their livelihoods, and lift themselves out of poverty.
There are, however, opportunities to better improve the reach of U.S. international food assistance programs, and to help reach people both faster and more efficiently. With recent constraints on federal spending, we must seize this opportunity to reform and modernize this valuable program so that appropriated funds are used as effectively as possible to reach the maximum number of hungry people overseas, especially malnourished women and children.
Congress can help by modernizing the program and enacting measures, which include allowing the use of more local and regional purchasing of food or vouchers when needed, and eliminating the required but harmful monetization practice. These reforms will allow lifesaving assistance to reach millions more people each year without costing taxpayers additional money. By providing the option to purchase emergency food from nearby merchants instead of shipping it from thousands of miles away, this approach ensures smallholder farmers in developing countries, many of whom are women, are empowered.
More importantly, the food would arrive more than two months faster, a lifetime when people are starving. As emergencies around the world continue to arise, we cannot afford to wait.
Overly harsh mandatory minimum sentences have contributed to the rapid increase in our country’s prison population. These often unnecessarily long sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.
While serving time in prison, people lose income and work skills and often lack opportunities to participate in rehabilitative programs, making it even harder for many to find a job after leaving the prison system. Furthermore, laws ban individuals with felony convictions from getting some types of federal assistance. Many can’t receive SNAP (food stamps), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), or housing assistance. With no job, no shelter, and no help, many individuals with criminal records are denied a second chance.
These situations also impact families. Children of incarcerated parents are more likely to fall into poverty, which often results in lower academic achievement and higher risk of depression, withdrawal, and behavioral issues.
People without documentation who live and work in the United States are among the most vulnerable in our country. They are more likely to live in poverty and to struggle to put food on the table. The national poverty rate is 14.8 percent, while immigrants as a group have a poverty rate of 30 percent. It is likely that the poverty rate of undocumented households is even higher.
Among those without documentation include 1.5 million young undocumented adults also known as “Dreamers.” They were brought to the U.S. at a very young age and have assimilated into our culture – learning English and absorbing American values.
In fact, approximately 50,000 to 65,000 undocumented students each year graduate from U.S. high schools. Many “Dreamers” are currently protected from deportation due to the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program.
Right now, Congress has the opportunity to make positive changes to our immigration system by passing the Dream Act of 2017. The legislation would provide those currently protected under DACA with a pathway to citizenship, allowing them to continue to thrive and our nation to prosper.
"Jesus said ...
'You give them something to eat.'"
Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.
Mass incarceration has far-reaching effects in the United States. It poses a significant barrier to ending U.S. hunger and poverty by 2030—a goal the United States adopted in 2015. But the connection is not always obvious.
The United States has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies. Food assistance that includes nutritious food for pregnant women and young children is both a life-and-death matter for individuals and an economic imperative for countries.
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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...
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