John Lally of Croton is leading an initiative to alleviate hunger in the U.S. and abroad. A number of area churches are taking up the call.
CROTON CHURCHES PRESS FOR GIVING HUNGRY “A PLACE AT THE TABLE”
This year the annual Offering of Letters, sponsored by Bread for the World, is advocating for legislation to protect domestic and international poverty-focused programs and also urging that Congress and the President work together on a joint plan to end hunger.
During a time when Congress is cutting federal spending to reduce the deficit, the hungry and poor are not in a position to negotiate. But as constituents, people of faith and of conscience can lobby for them. They can urge our federal leaders, in both the legislative and executive branches, to take a hard look around the table of our national priorities and ensure a prominent place for hungry people – not just for those blessed with wealth, power, and influence.
We know that there is more than enough food for everyone in the world. Yet 1 in 6 Americans (and almost 1 in 4 children) do not always have enough to eat. Nearly 900 million people around the world struggle with hunger on a daily basis.
Bread for the World asks why so many people go hungry when others have more than enough. Local churches and community pantries deliver food to the tables of our most vulnerable neighbors. But those efforts combined are only the equivalent of 4 percent of federal expenditures on anti-hunger programs here in the United States. The federal government provides 23 times the amount of food assistance as does charity.
And so this year’s Offering of Letters aims to prevent deep cuts in funding for programs that save lives and help people here and around the world overcome poverty. Specifically, for the U.S., it focuses on protecting effective anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs. These include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as the current tax credits for poor families: the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the low-income component of the Child Tax Credit (CTC).
Regarding protection of international aid programs, the Offering focuses on Poverty-Focused Development Assistance (PFDA). Representing less than 1 percent of the federal budget, it supports life-saving programs that meet basic human needs around the world. PFDA is not only a demonstration of U.S. moral leadership, it is also a cost-effective way to increase our national security.
PFDA supports health and nutrition programs to ensure children survive and have access to food—especially during the critical 1,000 days between pregnancy and age 2—enabling them to realize their potential. Nine million children have been reached through Feed the Future nutrition programs since 2009. The programs have also helped 1.8 million food producers adopt improved technologies and management practices for better crop yields. PFDA has gotten bipartisan support from the current and previous Presidents as well as from
Congress, but future funding is at risk as Congress strives to reduce deficits.
Finally, for the first time this year, Bread for the World is asking us also to sign a petition to the President. This is a new strategy to show the President the depth of support for ending hunger. BFW is convinced that our collective voice can motivate him to take leadership and help create the political will for him working together with Congress to set a goal and develop and enact a comprehensive plan to end hunger.
Bread for the World is a nationwide, interdenominational Christian movement for the hungry and poor of the nation and the world. Each year it leads a letter-writing campaign that helps people of conscience speak up to our nation’s leaders. These Offering of Letters campaigns have helped pass specific, effective legislation that has made a difference in the lives of hungry and poor people.
This will be the 35th year that Asbury United Methodist Church, Holy Name of Mary Roman Catholic Church, Our Saviour Evangelical Lutheran Church, and St. Augustine Episcopal Church in Croton are participating.
Thus, parishioners in the four Croton churches are being encouraged to sign the petition to the President and to write an appropriate letter especially to our new Congresswoman Nita Lowey (U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515), but also to our Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510); then, to place their letters, in stamped addressed envelopes, into the collection basket as an offering of their citizenship at worship services on this Sunday April 28th, or the following Sunday. Other members of the Croton area are invited to join in the letter‑writing effort by mailing their letters directly.
A final point: In coordination with the Offering, A Place at the Table, a major documentary with the same title has begun screening in selected theaters, on iTunes, and on-demand, nationwide. It emphasizes the hunger, stress, and complications in the lives of Americans for whom putting food on the table is a daily struggle. This compelling film is produced by the company behind An Inconvenient Truth and Food, Inc.
For more information about Bread for the World and the Offering of Letters, go online to www.bread.org.