By Jennifer Gonzalez
Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, addressed faith activists and delegates at the Democratic National Convention yesterday and told the crowd gathered that the huge scale of hunger in America is a “moral scandal.”
He used statistics to make his case. One in five children in America struggles with hunger. One in four military families need food assistance. As a result, Beckmann said, many churches, synagogues, and mosques are moved to help feed hungry people.
“And if you are a political leader, pay attention. Because ending hunger isn’t just right. It’s politically smart,” he said.
Beckmann had sought invitations to speak about hunger at both the Republican and Democratic conventions. Only the DNC invited him to speak. Bread does not support any political party or any political candidate.
His poignant remarks came one day before Hillary Clinton formally accepts the Democratic nomination for president tonight, making her the first woman ever in the United States to receive the presidential nomination from a major political party.
The issue of hunger is personal for Beckmann who spoke about his son’s addiction, which drove him into poverty and got him in trouble with the law. His son, John, has been sober now for seven years and after a series of poverty-wage jobs, is now a truck driver and a good dad to his children, Beckmann said.
“I love my son John and am really proud of him,” Beckmann said. “But each one of the millions of Americans who struggle with hunger is a precious, gifted child of God – just like my son.”
Bread is making the issue of hunger paramount during the 2016 elections. Bread wants to ensure that the next president and Congress make ending hunger part of their agenda. As part of our elections work, Bread will be engaging its members and another 50 million voters in 12 swing states.
Next month, Bread will formally launch its I Vote to End Hunger campaign, which will include information on how to get involved, sign our pledge, and provide biblical inspiration for the hard work ahead.
Today, more than 48 million Americans struggle with hunger. A recent survey conducted by Bread for the World found that 1 in 3 voters say they will vote for candidates who promise to make ending hunger one of their top priorities.
In closing, Beckmann told faith activists and delegates that he was “praying and working in this election for a president and a Congress who will put us on track to end hunger by 2030.”
Jennifer Gonzalez is the associate online editor at Bread for the World.