By Jennifer Gonzalez
Over 300 faithful advocates convened on Capitol Hill yesterday as part of Bread for the World’s annual Lobby Day. They took their message of ending hunger and poverty directly to the offices of senators and representatives and asked them pointedly to:
- Pass the Global Food Security Act of 2016 (S. 1252) in the House of Representatives.
- Invest at least $230 million in nutrition in global health programs in fiscal year 2017.
- Oppose H.R. 5003, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016, as written and instead pass a bipartisan child nutrition reauthorization bill that connects hungry kids in the U.S. with nutritious meals.
Bread activist Joyce Rothermel of Pittsburgh, Pa., who started her meeting with Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) with a prayer, got teary-eyed when speaking to the senator about supporting the Global Food Security Act. If passed, the legislation would make the U.S. food and nutrition-security program, Feed the Future, permanent. Doyle said he would approve the measure when it comes to the House floor for a vote.
The bipartisan Global Food Security Act would help hungry nations develop smart, long-term agriculture programs so they can independently meet the nutritional needs of their people. Many of these programs would focus on activities that directly improve the nutrition of women farmers, their families, and their children.
Rothermel was joined by two other Bread activists in her meeting with Doyle: Jennifer Lawer, a sociology professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and Melissa “Roses” Laughlin.
Probably one of the youngest activists Bread has ever had was 6-year-old Toren Rhyne of North Carolina, whose birthday wish was to visit Bread’s office and lobby on behalf of hungry and poor people. He came with a large group that met with staffers from various congressional offices including the office of Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).