Overcoming Hunger and Poverty

Sun, 10/01/2006

When Bread for the World began in 1974, one in three people in the world were chronically hungry. Today that figure has dropped to one in six. Global progress against hunger and poverty is a great exodus, an experience of the living God in our time. The nations of the world have all agreed on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), proclaiming the feasibility of cutting world hunger and poverty in half within the next 10 years. Some developing countries have enrolled more children in school and reduced childhood deaths even without achieving economic growth – underscoring the fact that the persistence of widespread food insecurity in the United States is unnecessary. The global prevalence of HIV has stabilized, and the number of Africans receiving anti-retroviral therapy more than doubled in 2005 alone. War, environmental degradation, growing polarization between wealthy and poor people and nations, and other problems slow down progress against poverty, hunger and disease. Yet despite all the problems, good things are happening. As people of faith, Bread for the World members are using our gift of citizenship to win policy changes that open opportunities for hungry and poor people. Bread for the World has 56,000 members from diverse Christian traditions and various political outlooks. Almost every year, Bread for the World wins substantial victories in Congress for hungry people, both here in the United States and around the world. Funding for poverty-focused development assistance, for example, has grown from $4 billion in 1999 to $10.6 billion in 2006. Congress and the president are now debating whether to add $1 billion or $2 billion more for 2007. Clearly Bread for the World cannot by itself build the political commitment needed to achieve the progress against hunger and poverty that we know is possible. Our efforts to strengthen the broader movement against hunger include helping other groups get involved in advocacy. The growing concern of people across the country is an even stronger reason for hope. A March 2006 bipartisan poll by the Alliance to End Hunger showed strong and increasing voter concern about hunger and poverty in the United States and worldwide. Voter concern about hunger and poverty in the United States is even more widespread than concern about global poverty. US Economy Since 2001 Number of non-farm jobs ………up 23% Gross Domestic Product …………up 11.5% Domestic Corporate Profit ……..up 72% Median Household Income ………..down 0.5% More than 90% of likely voters say that people who work should be able to feed their families. Two-thirds are more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who makes fighting hunger and poverty a major priority. Two-thirds believe that the government spends too little money on reducing hunger in the United States. Many voters are concerned about the weaknesses of government programs, but the public wants to hear more from political leaders about effective solutions to hunger and poverty. Bread for the World members thank God for the growing strength and changes won by our anti-hunger movement. The prophet Isaiah gave us the vision: “No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live a lifetime…They shall build houses and inhabit them: they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit…they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord.” (Isaiah 65:20-25) The above article is a summary of an article written by Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World, Bread for the World Institute and the Alliance to End Hunger.