Bread for the World calls attention to new hunger data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture released September 7. For the third year in a row a record high 14.5% of American households suffer food insecurity. What is worse, the USDA reports 25% of African-American and 26% of Hispanic households experience food insecurity compared with 10.8% of white households. That’s a lot of folks having trouble putting food on the table.
Last fall I interviewed David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, when he received the World Food Prize for his leadership of this Christian lobbying organization over the past for 20 years. He left a post as an economist at the World Bank to become an advocate for far less salary for the hungry. Beckmann combines three callings in one in his work. He is a Lutheran pastor, an economist who analyzes hunger needs and program effectiveness, and an advocate for the least among us.
In my time as a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph leadership team I got calls from folks that needed food. And, yes, we discovered a group that scammed us for baby formula. Like all who tend the backdoors of rectories or convent, we had to make up our minds about whose need was genuine. Today’s figures testify that unemployment is keeping need high for millions who are using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or other nutrition programs to get by.
Bread for the World offers us Christians help in protecting food programs for the least as Congress battles to cut the national deficit. Beckmann urges Christians who give to food pantries to also write to their representatives in Congress. According to Beckmann in his book Exodus from Hunger, all the faith-based feeding programs combined provide only 6% of the assistance needed in our nation. Government helps us do together what we can’t do for the hungry as individual families and parishes. Investigate joining in the work with this ecumenical, nonpartisan organization: Bread.org.
Click here for Bread for the World’s U.S. hunger facts.