Friday, May 27, 2005

Get Political Today!

Please read the following press release regarding a bill currently in the U. S. Congress to assist in the elimination of hunger in the nation by 2015.

The goal here is not as unreasonable as it may first sound.

Central Dallas Ministries partners with the North Texas Food Bank, a Second Harvest organization, to provide food to thousands of families each month.

Consider writing your U. S. Senators to sign on as co-sponsors of this bill. While you are at it, drop a note to your U. S. Representative to consider sponsoring a companion bill in the House so that this vision can become law as soon as possible.

_____________________________________________

SENATOR DURBIN INTRODUCES HUNGER-FREE COMMUNITIES ACT OF 2005

Legislation Establishes Goal to End Hunger in America by 2015

CHICAGO, May 25, 2005 —Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Hunger-Free Communities Act of 2005 today to increase federal funding available to local organizations working to reduce hunger in communities nationwide and establishing an ambitious commitment to end hunger in the United States by 2015 . The bill has bipartisan support with Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Gordon Smith (R-OR) as cosponsors.

According to the USDA, hunger and food insecurity in the United States has increased for the fourth straight year. In 2004, more than 36 million Americans—including 13 million children—lived with hunger or on the brink of hunger.

"This critical legislation will enable our Member food banks and food-rescue organizations to better meet the needs of low-income Americans, particularly through enhanced facilities," said Robert Forney, President and CEO of America's Second Harvest--The Nation's Food Bank Network. "We commend Senator Durbin and his colleagues for their leadership and commitment to addressing hunger in America."

The Hunger-Free Communities Act preserves current funding levels for federal food programs and protects nutrition and hunger-relief initiatives. Additionally, it directs the Census Bureau to collect annual data on food insecurity in the United States and the United States Department of Agriculture to prepare annual reports on the status of efforts to eliminate domestic hunger and recommendations for reducing hunger.

“Hunger is not a partisan issue, and we now have the opportunity to forge a new bipartisan partnership, committed to addressing hunger in communities all across our country,” Durbin said. “During the 1960s and 1970s, under both Democratic and Republican Administrations, our country put in place programs that substantially reduced the number of people who struggle to feed their families. Unfortunately, today hunger and food insecurity has been on the rise. That is why we introduced The Hunger-Free Communities Act.”

The Hunger-Free Communities Act enables Congress to establish a first of its kind grant program authorizing up to $50 million a year for five years to help hunger-relief organizations reduce hunger locally through efforts such as infrastructure improvements, training and technical assistance, and expanding access to more nutritious food including protein and produce. This public-private partnership focuses on addressing hunger at the local level while promoting collaboration among groups with mutual visions.

In 2000, as part of the Healthy People 2010 initiative, the United States government established a goal of cutting food insecurity in half by 2010. In June 2004, the National Anti-Hunger Organization (NAHO) comprised of 13 national hunger organizations, including America's Second Harvest, issued the Blueprint to End Hunger—a roadmap to end hunger in America—which supports a strategy for reducing hunger in half by 2010. The Hunger-Free Communities Act reaffirms this commitment.

# # #

America's Second Harvest -- The Nation's Food Bank Network is the nation's largest charitable hunger-relief organization with a Network of more than 200 regional member food banks and food - rescue programs serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The America's Second Harvest Network secures and distributes nearly two billion pounds of donated food and grocery products annually. The America's Second Harvest Network supports approximately 50,000 local charitable agencies operating more than 94,000 programs including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school programs, and Kids Cafes. Each year, the America's Second Harvest Network provides food assistance to more than 23 million low-income hungry people in the United States, including more than nine million children and nearly three million seniors. For more on America's Second Harvest, please visit www.secondharvest.org.

4 comments:

Brandon Scott said...

Great idea! The other option would be to take the calorie level in one new Burger King breakfast sandwich and spread it out over 1000 people. It could feed them for a week.

Greg Brooks said...

This legislation appears to have terrific goals. I'm proud that Sen. Lincoln, from my state of Arkansas, is a cosponsor.

I have a question, however. Why is it that food insecurity has increased every year since the introduction of Healthy People 2010? How will the Hunger-Free Communities Act produce different results? Or, is the introduction of this act a sign of progress toward Healty People 2010 goals?

Larry James said...

Great question, Greg. The problem is one of scope, scale and ideology. The Hunger Free Communities Act is necessary today largely due to the economic policies of the past 5-10 years. Issues such as wage levels, employment training, Medicaid reimbursement rates, substandard housing and many other issues not normally seen as related to hunger or health are all related to both. This, among many other reasons, make it clear to me that the current administration's tax policy is foolish and short-sighted. I hope this bill will pass and help, but we have other issues to face as well. People of faith need to be involved and informed.

Greg Brooks said...

Thank you. When I think about it, I can see that there is a stark contrast between the spirit of Healthy People 2010 and other actions that have been taken in this century. Again, I'm proud that Sen. Lincoln is a co-sponsor, and I wrote her to tell her so.

I very much enjoyed today's (Memorial Day) post.