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Washington, D.C. – Every religious congregation in the United States (churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, etc.) would need to raise at least another $375,000 each year for the next ten years to make up for the proposed cuts to anti-hunger and poverty programs in the White House’s 2021 budget, according to Bread for the World.
“Our country’s 350,000 religious congregations cannot make up for the proposed cuts to programs that help people living in hunger and poverty, including children,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “The amount the congregations would need to raise is larger than many of their annual budgets.”
Critics of federal assistance programs often say it is churches and other religious congregations, not the government, who should be helping people living in hunger and poverty.
“While religious congregations and charities play an important role in helping people who are struggling to make ends meet, federal programs provide the bulk of the assistance,” said Beckmann.
The proposed budget would cut more than $1.3 trillion from domestic and international aid programs over ten years. Domestically, these cuts include $181 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), $1 trillion from Medicaid and Affordable Care Act tax credits, and $1.7 billion from child nutrition programs such as school meals. Internationally, the cuts include $60 million in global nutrition programs, programs that help struggling farmers, and the elimination of the McGovern-Dole international school feeding program.
“A budget is more than a financial statement—it is a statement of our nation’s priorities and values. It should be evaluated on how it treats the most vulnerable people among us,” said Beckmann.
“As a Christian, I believe that God calls on me to care for ‘the least among us’ – be it through charity or advocating for policies and programs that help people living in hunger and poverty,” added Beckmann.
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.