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By Rick Steves
I just got great news: the final update about our holiday fundraiser. (Gifts just kept coming in, well into January.) More than 3,200 of you participated — and together, you donated $487,352. With my $700,000 “double match,” we raised a total $1,187,352 — far exceeding our million-dollar goal — to help build the political will to end hunger. Just thinking about what this money will accomplish fills me with joy and gratitude…and pride in the big hearts of my fellow travelers.
When I rave about the work of Bread for the World (as I have for 30 years), people often ask, “Just what does it do?” And when I explain that it’s a lobbying organization, some people react with, “Why would you pay for lobbying when you’re fighting hunger?” I reply that “lobbying” is actually just “advocacy” — and it’s more important and impactful than ever, now that the Trump administration and House Republicans are championing budget cuts and tax reforms that will do great harm to hungry and vulnerable people.
In 2018, Bread for the World was a key player in the legislative arena, getting impressive results. Here is a wonk-ish paragraph from their current newsletter:
“Congress’ record on hunger-related issues in 2018 was better than expected, partly because of Bread for the World’s advocacy. Congress passed the Global Food Security Act, which mandates the continuation of effective agriculture and nutrition assistance programs for the next five years. They decided not to try yet again in 2018 for trillion-dollar cuts to programs that help hungry and poor people in this country. The final version of the Farm Bill did not include the House of Representatives’ plan to cut food assistance (SNAP or ‘food stamps’) to struggling American families by $20 billion. (That’s a lot of groceries.) Finally, Congress passed – and the President signed – a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill. (This will reduce mass incarceration which results in hunger and poverty–particularly in our Black communities.) Bread for the World and its network across the country played a significant role on all these issues.”
I know we all have a lot on our plates these days. But many people, at home and abroad, have the opposite problem. And — thanks to the collective effort of more than 3,200 of you — we’re making a huge difference. Our friends at Bread for the World report that our initiative has injected palpable energy into the organization at the beginning of another daunting year. If you care about ending hunger…Bread gets it done. Thanks, and congrats to all involved!
Rick Steves is a Bread for the World member and host of public television's most-watched, longest-running travel series, "Rick Steves' Europe," and the author of more than 50 travel guidebooks.
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