by Sharon Heck
The following article appeared in the Bread for the World newsletter. It shows the urgent need for our activism with elected officials in Washington D.C.
Thanks to you and other members, Bread for the World (BFW) has been able to address the alarming rise in global hunger in recent years. Violent conflict in Africa and the Middle East is the primary cause of this surge in hunger, but drought and other natural causes are also at work.
Since 2015, the number of those living in hunger has increased by nearly 40 million. More than 815 million people are now struggling to survive. As Eric Munoz, formerly with BFW Institute and now with OXFAM, notes, ‘This is a sudden reversal from an almost continual decline in the number of people who are not getting enough to eat.’
BFW’s president, David Beckmann, at last month’s press conference during the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa said, ‘We have made tremendous progress against hunger in the United States and around the world. But budget cuts proposed by Congress and global conflict threaten this progress and will increase hunger.’
Democrats and Republicans are now negotiating funding limits for a year-end spending bill. At stake is funding for vital anti-hunger programs. Cuts to international assistance and global nutrition would increase hunger and poverty around the world.
Eric Mitchell, BFW’s director of government relations, notes, ‘The choices our government makes about how it generates revenue and how it spends shared resources should promote hope, opportunity, and economic security for all people, especially those struggling to put food on the table.’
At the press conference in Iowa, Beckmann also pointed to the reauthorization of the farm bill as an important response to the growing hunger crisis. Congress will begin considering the bill next year. The farm bill authorizes funding for the Food for Peace program, as well as the McGovern-Dole program for school meals in developing countries.
In addition to the farm bill, Congress will need to authorize the Global Food Security Act in 2018. BFW played a key role in shaping and passing this historic legislation in 2016. The act supports the Feed the Future initiative, which has supported millions of farmers in Africa as they grow crops that provide more nutrition and that can withstand climate change.”
It is very important that we ACT NOW. Please call 800-826-3688 and ask for your elected officials by name. You can also email, or write letters. Urge them to protect funding for critical anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs in the fiscal year 2018 spending bill. For the latest information and sample letters, visit bread.org/activist. We can make a difference with our actions and our prayers.