Take 5 for the Common Good 

September 17, 2019

Take 5 Minutes - Help World Hunger Five Ways with 1 signature

Sign once on a petition in the Plymouth Lounge September 22 or 29 to urge our federal legislators to support 5 policies to end hunger in the U.S. and around the world. While food insecurity among all households, and households with children in particular, declined significantly over the past two years in the U.S, African American households did not see any gains over this time period. In fact, 21.2 percent of African Americans and 16.2 percent of Latinos are struggling with hunger. What does a world without hunger look like? It looks like everyone having the nutritious meals they need to flourish. Churches, charities, food banks, and non-profit organizations cannot get there alone. Government programs and policies play an important role too.

Federal Domestic Nutrition Programs such as SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC), and the school lunch program are just a few examples. These programs keep millions of Americans from going hungry. International humanitarian assistance responds to natural and human-caused disasters (the Indian Ocean tsunami, for example) and ongoing worldwide crises such as the situation in Syria.

Policy Reforms: But ending hunger requires more than just giving people a meal today. Addressing the root causes of hunger — primarily poverty — is just as important. As long as people don’t have the resources they need to put food on the table, hunger will continue. (In the USA, we could spend less on our military!) We must work for policy reforms that ensure economic security and self-sufficiency over the long-term for people in the U.S. and around the world. Development assistance programs are designed to reduce poverty and encourage economic growth in poor countries. They include programs for agriculture, health, education, the environment, and democracy and governance.

U.S. Foreign Programs The people of developing nations can and should do most of the work in ending hunger themselves, but they need some support and resources. The U.S. government can provide some of it. Assistance from the U.S. government helps people help themselves. It funds tools and training for improved agriculture. It builds roads to get food to market. It supports efforts to empower women to play more active roles in their communities. It helps governments develop plans to better educate, care, and feed their people.

Development experts agree that the world has the ability to end extreme hunger by 2030. We have already cut it in half since 1990. With continued and increased funding, U.S. foreign assistance can help cut it to zero.

U.S. efforts to end global hunger include:

  • Emergency food aid like the Food for Peace program that provides food during emergencies such droughts, conflicts, and other disasters. 
  • Development food aid that includes programs like the McGovern-Dole feeding program, which provides maternal, infant, and child nutrition in schools around the world
  • Long-term agriculture development programs like United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Feed the Future, which is helping 19 countries improve their agriculture systems and provide nutrition interventions
  • U.S. contributions to multilateral assistance for food security, including the World Food Program and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program

Criminal Justice Reform Reforming our nation's criminal justice system is critical to ending hunger and poverty in the United States. Families are directly impacted when loved ones are incarcerated, especially if they are serving long prison sentences.

Harsh mandatory minimum sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

People lose income and work skills while serving time in prison. They also often lack opportunities to participate in rehabilitative programs, making it even harder for many to find a job after leaving the prison system. This explains why 1 in 4 households headed by a returning citizen lives in deep poverty.

Reforms, such as reducing mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders, eliminating the collateral consequences to incarceration, and expanding access to reentry services would help reduce hunger and improve the stability of families in the United States.

Community Action When we come together, we have power. Partnering with God to end hunger requires us to organize ourselves for action. When we come together as churches, campus groups, community organizations, or individuals of good will, collective action makes a bigger impact than individual protest. Because we live in a democracy, Congress listens when people speak up, and we can be heard better when we speak together. Advocacy to end hunger — involving educating, organizing, and mobilizing — starts with us in our communities.

Join us by signing once on our petition in Plymouth's lounge September 22 or 29 to urge our federal legislators to support these 5 policies to end hunger in the U.S. and around the world.  With help from the Bread for the World organization, submitted by Plymouth's Peace Action Group.

Topics: Church Life


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