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Bread for the World’s work in organizing communities and individuals to speak up about hunger and poverty gets results!
Advocacy is hard work, and sometimes the victories do not come right away. But Bread has been doing advocacy for decades and has the expertise, experience, and track record for bringing hope and opportunity to people in the U.S. and abroad.
Our first victory more than 40 years ago laid important groundwork that we’ve built on ever since. In 1975, the year after Bread was founded, Congress passed the Right to Food Resolution. It declared that everyone has a right to food, and it was the most sweeping statement on hunger Congress has ever made.
Bread’s victories often have lasting effects and set policy and funding that benefit people for years.
While 2019 was a tumultuous year marked by partisanship and intense disagreements, the 2019 Offering of Letters achieved victories despite the congressional gridlock. Bread for the World drafted two Global Nutrition Resolutions (H.Res.189 and S.Res.260), which were introduced in the House and Senate. Each resolution passed out of their respective committees with broad, bipartisan support. The resolutions recognize the importance of continued U.S. leadership to accelerate global progress against maternal and child malnutrition. Congress also increased funding for global nutrition for the second consecutive year—increasing the amount to $150 million. Finally, because of your faithful advocacy, about 190 members of Congress signed letters in support of robust funding for maternal and children nutrition programs in 2019.
The 2018 Offering of Letters was victorious in securing passage of the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill ensured that the Feed the Future initiative would continue to support smallholder farmers and improve the nutrition needs of women and children around the world. And while Congress ended the year having not approved all its funding bills, both the House and the Senate appropriations committees increased funding for global nutrition. Congress also approved a Farm Bill that protects the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and improves international food aid programs. And before the end of the year, Congress approved the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that addresses mass incarceration—a major cause of hunger in the United States.
Despite threats to poverty-focused development assistance funding, the 2017 Offering of Letters was victorious in securing $1 billion in supplemental aid for near-famines in Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan, and northeastern Nigeria. Although the situation in all four countries remained dire, the additional funds provided relief in time of extreme need and crises. We are grateful for our congressional champions and advocates who made ending hunger a priority. And while 2017 continued the trend of hyper-partisanship, Congress did pass a fiscal year 2017 budget that funded domestic anti-hunger programs, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and key job-training and anti-poverty programs. Finally, because of your faithful advocacy, Congress was not successful in their effort to drastically cut Medicaid for millions of low-income Americans during the healthcare debate.
Congress passed the bipartisan Global Food Security Act in early July. This legislation authorizes U.S.-led, long-term solutions for small farmers so that they'll be able to feed their families and communities for years to come. Bread had marshalled all of its resources and advocacted before Congress for its passage for more than a year.
Also in early July, Congress passed the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act. Bread strongly supported this bipartisan legislation, which will codify important reforms to ensure that U.S. government agencies carrying out foreign assistance are focused on rigorous and consistent monitoring and evaluation of programs and on making comprehensive, timely, and comparable aid data publicly available. By reinforcing its existing commitments to transparency and evaluation through legislation, the U.S. government can better track, measure, and allocate scarce aid resources. Bread had been working on making U.S. foreign assistance more accountable for nearly a decade, and foreign-assistance reform was the focus of Bread’s 2008 and 2009 Offering of Letters campaigns.
Key provisions of the earned income and child tax credits became permanent. This is a victory for low-income workers and will prevent 16 million people — including 8 million children — from falling into or deeper into poverty.
Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which prevents most of the sequestration cuts for 2016 and 2017 from taking place.
Increase of $1.1 billion in poverty-focused development assistance.
$10 million increase in funding for global nutrition programs.
Halted passage of a provision in that would have taken away $75 million of food-aid funds and reduced the reach of food-aid programs by 2 million people annually.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act was extended for 10 more years. It expands U.S. technical assistance aimed at businesses that engage women and smallholder farmers.
More funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Head Start.
Proposed cuts to programs for low-income families were reduced from $3 trillion to less than $50 billion in cuts.
Extended tax credits have helped 13 million low-income working families.
Bread led the legislative coalition that won debt relief for poor countries.
Children are often hit hardest when it comes to hunger. Bread has always been committed to strengthening programs that provide children to the meals and nutrition they need. Over the years, we’ve helped secure better nutrition, increased access to meals, clearer nutrition guidelines, and increased funding for programs like WIC and those for school breakfasts and lunches and summer feeding.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps) is the primary way our government helps American families put food on the table when budgets are tight. Bread has successfully supported improvements and reforms to SNAP over the years. These changes allow the program to do exactly it was designed to do: be a safety net for families in times of need.
Bread has always held a concern about hunger both at home and abroad. Its advocacy on international hunger has helped developing countries adopt better farming practices. It has pushed our government to provide smarter foreign aid and emergency food. Our goal is for the U.S. to be a partner in helping other countries to become self-reliant. We do this by advocating for common sense programs with a proven track record so that U.S. tax dollars are spent wisely.
When it comes to mechanisms that fight hunger, you might not think of the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the child tax credit (CTC). But these measures are proven to be the most successful at moving American families out of poverty. Supporting programs like these, which help families feed themselves, is an important part of working toward our mission to end hunger.
We’re constantly assessing where we can have the most impact with our advocacy. Some new issues we’ve started to address are immigration and mass incarceration as they relate to hunger and poverty. To find out more about our current issues, check out the Bread Blog and the Offering of Letters to Congress.
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