What does your candidate say about hunger?

What does your candidate say about hunger? Graphic by Doug Puller / Bread for the World

By Bread staff

We all know that Donald Trump has a lot to say. Much of it is controversial. But what Bread for the World cares about is what the candidate for the Republican nomination for president, as well as the other Republicans and Democrats in the race, has to say about policy. Specifically, Bread wants to hear what the candidates would do as president to end hunger.

To that end, Bread, as part of the Circle of Protection coalition, has sent each presidential candidate a letter asking him or her to state on video how they propose to provide help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the U.S. and abroad.

Bread activists: View the videos received so far.

The presidential videos are a major part of Bread’s efforts to make hunger and poverty part of the national conversation during the campaigns for both president and Congress.

“Power needs to be local and limited because the closer government is to the people, the more accountable it is to the people who are being governed,” said former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) in his video. He also stated he would focus on helping every American earn the “maximum wage” instead of fighting over the minimum wage.

Among the Democrats who have submitted videos is Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. “What we need in this country and what this campaign is about is a fundamental change in national priorities,” he stated in his video. Sanders named creating jobs, raising the minimum wage, pay equity, and making college affordable as ways of addressing poverty.

Circle of Protection members, including Bread, will not publicly evaluate the policy positions or endorse any candidate. The coalition hopes to receive a video in response to its request from each candidate, and it will make public all videos it receives.

The Circle of Protection is distributing the videos through its members’ networks. Bread and other coalition members have been pitching the videos to media outlets, and they have received more than 48,000 views on YouTube. Media outlets from the Boston Globe to Mother Jones have carried articles about the videos.

Organized in 2010, the Circle of Protection is a group of 100 leaders from a diverse array of Christian denominations, agencies, and organizations across the country. Bread has a major leadership role in the coalition.

“We are praying for a president who will make ending hunger and poverty a top priority of his or her administration. Are you that leader?” the letter to candidates asked.

“We will be calling on people of faith to examine presidential candidates to see if they have a heart for poor and hungry people. We want to know how each candidate proposes to fulfill the mandate to those who govern to ’give deliverance to the needy’ (Psalm 72),” the leaders added in the letter.

According to the latest U.S. Census data, 49 million Americans are at risk of hunger, while 45 million live in poverty. One in five children lives in poverty. That is 15 million children, 5 million of them under age 6.

As a major step toward helping to end hunger by 2030, Bread’s goal is to have in place in 2017 a president and Congress who put hunger and poverty among their top priorities. This initiative of gathering videos from presidential candidates is preparation for that. Bread will also be active in several ways in congressional elections starting this fall.

“God wants opportunity for all people, but America hasn’t made opportunity for everybody a priority for more than four decades,” said Bread’s president, Rev. David Beckmann. “The world as a whole is making dramatic progress against poverty, and we want to encourage a fresh, bipartisan conversation about how to provide more opportunity for all Americans and for people around the world.”

Share the Videos

Feel free to further share and distribute the videos by the presidential candidates with your congregation, other groups, or as an individual with your friends, such as on your personal Facebook page.

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