I am supporting The Hunger-Free Communities Act of 2005.
I hope you will as well.
Congress is now working to finalize next year's national budget.
Things have grown more complicated over the past month, haven't they?
Two major hurricanes have created major new disaster relief needs and expenses.
The war in Iraq grinds on with no end in sight.
Back in April, Congress passed a budget resolution calling for a $3 billion budget cut over the next five years to agriculture programs that include the nation's supplemental nutrition efforts benefitting our neighbors who earn the least.
This comes at a time when over 1 million additional Americans fell below the poverty line in the past year.
More budget cuts are planned for Medicaid (the health resource for poor children), student loans and maybe even the very effective Earned Income Credit.
All this comes at a time when the wealthiest 1% of the population will be benefiting from a tax cut plan that will cost us $2 trillion.
The Hunger-Free Communities Act of 2005 aims to systematically cut national hunger in half by 2010 and virtually eliminate it by 2015. The bill would establish a grants program for community anti-hunger organizations like the North Texas Food Bank here in Dallas.
Annual reporting would be required so that progress or ineffectiveness could be monitored.
The bill suggests a really effective local-federal partnership that incorporates the best of public/private leadership and thought.
So far there are 98 cosponsors for the bill in the House of Representatives (H.R. 2717) and 25 in the Senate (S. 1120).
Most people do not realize that over 36 million of our fellow citizens struggle daily to put food on their tables--13 million of these neighbors are little kids like my grandchildren, Gracie and Wyatt.
Our national nutrition programs are the fastest, most direct way to prevent hunger among our vulnerable neighbors. More than half of those who receive Food Stamps (now by debit card) are children. Virtually all the rest are elderly, disabled or those transitioning from welfare to work.
Please write your representative in the House and your two senators and urge that they sign on as cosponsors and/or vote for The Hunger-Free Communities Act of 2005.
It is just and it is fair and it is right.
[For more information about hunger in the U. S. and around the world, visit Bread for the World's most helpful website at www.bread.org. Please consider joining this network for compassion and justice.]