Beating global hunger requires political leadership, report says
April 14, 2004
A UMNS Report By Linda Green*
UMNS photo by Mike DuBose
Children eat a meal of sadza, a cornmeal porridge, and greens at the Surviving Child Orphan Trust in Murewa, Zimbabwe.
eat a meal of sadza, a cornmeal porridge, and greens at the Surviving
Child Orphan Trust in Murewa, Zimbabwe. For many of the children, this
lunch will be their only meal of the day. The United Methodist ministry
cares for about 600 children left orphaned by AIDS. UMNS photo by Mike
DuBose, photo number 168, Accompanies UMNS #172, 4/14/04
than 800 million people throughout the world live with hunger every day
because political leadership, which could end the problem, is lacking,
according to a new study on hunger.
842 million people go hungry daily, according to the 14th annual Hunger
Report, released by the Bread for the World Institute April 14. For
every six people who have enough to eat, one man, woman or child does
not. In the United States, 13 million children live in households where
people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet. That means one
in 10 U.S. households are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger.
report calls the hunger problem in the United States and the developing
world political because solutions are attainable with the proper
know what needs to be done to turn the corner in the battle against
hunger," said the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World
Institute. "Far too many children go to be hungry each night, be they in
Malawi or Milwaukee. The problem is not the lack of food. Hunger is a
political problem, and people need to demand change from their elected
year's report, titled, "Are We on Track to End Hunger?" analyzes the
progress that has been made against hunger and why backtracking is
occurring on the goals set forth by world leaders in the 1990s. It also
assesses U.S. nutrition programs and international development policies,
and offers a set of reforms to get the United States and developing
countries back on track.
UMNS photo courtesy of Bread for the World
Bread for the World Institute issued a new edition of �Hunger No More,� educational materials.
revised, updated edition of a major hunger resource has been reissued.
Bread for the World Institute, an international research organization,
has issued a new edition of �Hunger No More,� a packet of educational
materials designed for use by congregations. Both the new materials and
last year�s �Hunger No More: Decisions 2002,� which focused on
then-pending legislation, were sponsored by the United Methodist
Committee on Relief. A UMNS photo courtesy of Bread for the World. Photo
number 03-229, Accompanies UMNS #344, 7/1/03
United Methodist Committee of Relief is one of the report's sponsors.
Through the relief organization's world hunger and poverty program,
Bread for the World is a partner in hunger initiatives and is also
supported by United Methodists as an Advance Special.
report gives United Methodists and other agencies working on hunger a
valuable resource, and Bread for the World, through (its) offering of a
letter campaign and kit, enables United Methodists to be part of a
movement to lobby Congress on issues to alleviate hunger and poverty in
the U.S and around the world," said June Kim, executive secretary of
UMCOR's world hunger and poverty program.
2004 report is a call to United Methodists to take a stand in
advocating the alleviation of hunger and keeping that agenda before
Congress, Kim said. "In light of what is happening in the world today,
and although people across the United States would like to see the
government work to reduce hunger and poverty, it is not on the agenda
right now. (Leaders) are focused on other issues.
Methodists have to continue to bring poverty and hunger issues to the
forefront of our representatives so that they don't get sidetracked in
the other 'pressing' issues at hand," she said. Advocacy is about
addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty, and U.S. citizens have
the responsibility and the means to reduce hunger in the world, she
leaders set a goal in the mid-1990s of cutting hunger in half globally
by 2015 and in the United States by 2010. The study shows that leaders
have backtracked in reaching the goal, and the number of hungry people
is rising at 5 million a year. People are willing to engage in the
hunger battle worldwide, but political leaders need to harness that will
and expand proven initiatives, according to the report.
programs are important to 94 percent of U.S. voters and should be
supported, even in times of budget deficits and economic hardships,
according to the report. However, some elected officials expect churches
and charities to lead the hunger fight, while food banks and other
organizations are stretched beyond their means, the report noted.
donations to food banks and soup kitchens net up to $4 billion
annually, compared to the $44 billion annually spent on federal
programs, Bread for the World reported.
the United States is to meet its goal of cutting hunger in half by
2010, nutrition programs must be reformed to catch the people falling
through the cracks, Beckmann said. "It is up to our political leaders to
make this happen."
Addressing basic needs such as food and health care around the world would help reduce problems such as terrorism, she said.
has a major hand in what can go wrong and right in this world, and if
food or poverty or the basic necessities for survival are not secured
for everybody in the world, then the world is not at peace," Kim said.
"The political agenda can make or break what needs to happen."
reduce hunger in the United States, the report said that federal
policies must support the efforts of poor people to help themselves by
providing opportunities for decent jobs, education and training.
similar but integrated approach is needed to address international
hunger and poverty, since most of the world's poor live in rural areas,
according to the report. Efforts must emphasize increasing agricultural
productivity while pursuing an integrated approach to rural development
that includes health, education, infrastructure, women's and small
2004 Hunger Report is available at www.bread.org. People interested in
giving to Bread for the World through the United Methodist Church can do
so by designating checks for "World Hunger/Poverty," Advance No.
982920-4, and dropping them in church offering plates or sending them to
the United Methodist Committee on Relief, 475 Riverside Dr., Room 330,
New York, N.Y. 10115. Credit-card donations can be made by calling toll
free (800) 554-8583.
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer. News media can contact Linda Green at (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.