Love Thy Neighbor: ‘A world full of love like yours, like mine, like home’

August 30, 2017

By Angelique Walker-Smith

“When I think of home, I think of place where there's love overflowing. I wish I was home. I wish I was back there with the thing I've been knowing… I've learned that we must look inside our hearts to find a world full of love like yours, like mine, like home.”

In 1974, Charlie Smalls wrote those words for the musical hit, “The Wiz,” which was a theatrical version of the classic film, “The Wizard of Oz.” Both the film and musical address the question of where is home and what does home mean to a young girl who leaves her birth home in Kansas for an unfamiliar imaginary place.

Today, men, women, and children are faced with this same question but the places they find themselves don’t often match up to their vision of a land of hope and opportunity. Rather, many find themselves in places where once again they are experiencing hunger and poverty – but this time they are in an unfamiliar and unwelcoming country. There are 250 million migrants worldwide.

The 2017 Hunger Report points out that many of these new arrivals come from fragile states.  While there is no universal definition of fragility, the report has a focus on nations where high rates of hunger and poverty are compounded by civil conflict, poor governance, and vulnerability to climate change as factors of fragility.  These factors present the greatest challenge in ending hunger and poverty. Conflict is one of the greatest threats to ending hunger. Any country can have fragile regions or communities.

Still, these challenges are not new to people of faith. Vulnerable communities are part of the sacred stories highlighted in scripture. Floods (Genesis 7:7), drought (1 Kings 17:7-9), famine and vulnerability of women (Ruth 1-5), political instability (1 Samuel 21:10), ethnic struggles (Acts 18:1-2), and religious persecution (Acts 8, 11, 12) have affected people throughout the ages. Stories such as Joseph being sold into slavery (Genesis 37:28) or Mary and Joseph’s flight to Egypt to escape violence and death (Matthew 2:13-14) are key to the arc of our biblical narrative.

This leaves us with the question of what should be the response of people of faith today?  First, we are reminded that many who are seeking new homes are people of faith. Second, their faith has helped make them resilient and courageous. This, despite the challenges they face in the nations of their birth and the new places where they arrive.

As people of faith, we are invited to come alongside of those most affected and show hospitality. An important way of doing this is by advocating for policies that provide international development and famine relief funding in the fiscal year 2018 budget, and also supporting immigration reform such as the Dream Act of 2017.

When we do this we, like the characters in “The Wiz,” we advance the hope of a home for all.  

Angelique Walker-Smith is senior associate for Pan-African and Orthodox Church Engagement at Bread for the World.

As people of faith, we are invited to come alongside of those most affected and show hospitality. 

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • Mass Incarceration: A Major Cause of Hunger

    Mass incarceration has far-reaching effects in the United States. It poses a significant barrier to ending U.S. hunger and poverty by 2030—a goal the United States adopted in 2015. But the connection is not always obvious.

  • Advancing Nutrition through Food Aid Reform

    The United States has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies. Food assistance that includes nutritious food for pregnant women and young children is both a life-and-death matter for individuals and an economic imperative for countries.

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.


  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.


Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

February 7, 2017


From the Blog