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By Jennifer Gonzalez
Earlier this year, when the federal government began to send stimulus checks to individuals and families around the country, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) in Dubuque, Iowa didn’t keep the money for themselves.
Instead, they pooled their stimulus checks and with generous benefactor contributions donated their money to 120 organizations – mainly food banks and pantries – working to alleviate hunger in the United States and abroad. Donations totaled just over $165,000 and went to organizations in 21 states, Ecuador, and Ghana.
Sister Teri Hadro, president of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity, BVM, said that because of good stewardship and planning, and generous benefactors, the religious orders’ current basic needs are met. That allowed space for the BVM Sisters and Associates to pool their stimulus checks together and make the donations.
“The stimulus checks gave rise to an unexpected blessing for us,” Hadro said. “In this time of COVID-19 isolation, we were able to focus our attention on a pressing need for so many of our sisters and brothers.”
Bread for the World was one of the organizations that received a generous donation from the religious order. The BVM Sisters have long-supported Bread’s advocacy efforts to end hunger.
“We are grateful for organizations like Bread for the World which seek lasting solutions to the dilemma of worldwide food insufficiency,” Hadro said.
Bread plans to use the donation to continue its advocacy work, especially to ensure Congress permanently expands the Child Tax Credit and increases global nutrition funding to $300 million. Bread also wants lawmakers to expand paid family/medical leave, waive recertification requirements in Medicaid and WIC, expand childcare, and include the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 as part of a 1,000-days human infrastructure plan.
“We are grateful for the Sisters of Charity, BVM’s longtime support of Bread for the World – and that they believe so strongly in our advocacy work that they would chose Bread as one of the 120 organizations to donate to,” said Kari Burnside, deputy director of development at Bread for the World.
Burnside added: “Bread’s work became even more urgent during the pandemic as hunger rose in the United States and abroad. Advocacy takes persistence and human capital. So, the donation came at exactly the right time to help us in our work.”
“We sincerely hope that by sharing our resources and the gifts of our donors we lessened the suffering of our sisters and brothers most affected by COVID-19, at least for a little while,” Hadro said.
Jennifer Gonzalez is managing editor at Bread for the World.
Bread plans to use the donation to continue its advocacy work, especially to ensure Congress permanently expands the Child Tax Credit and increases global nutrition funding to $300 million.
Afghanistan would be considered likely to have high rates of hunger because at least two of the major causes of global hunger affect it—armed conflict and fragile governmental institutions.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5. Every year, the world loses hundreds of thousands of young children and babies to hunger-related causes.
Bread for the World is calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to build a better 1,000-Days infrastructure in the United States.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to respond to changes in need, making it well suited to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.