Bread Newsletter: October - November 2019

Contents:

Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl for Bread for the World

Latinos on the Front Lines of Climate Change Change

By Karyn Bigelow

For many Latinos, as for other people of color, climate change is a daily lived experience. Whether they live in Central, North, or South America, their lives are touched in some way by climate change.

“Part of the reason my family migrated [from Mexico] was due to a lack of resources … Some of us have been pushed out of our countries and we are seeing [climate change] in other parts of the world,” explained environmental justice advocate and organizer Erica Fernandez Zamora.

Bread for the World Institute published From Hunger to Hunger: Undocumented Immigrants Face Hunger on Both Sides of the Border as part of its work on immigration. Forced to leave their countries of origin because of hunger and deep poverty, many migrants continue to struggle with hunger when they reach the United States. Few jobs that pay a livable wage are available for people who may have little education, may speak little or no English, and/or may not have the legal right to work in this country.

Their personal experiences are one reason so many Latinos are leading the way in climate change advocacy. Climate change puts the safety and livelihoods of large numbers of people at risk, and Latinos are acutely aware of this. A study done by Yale University found that Latinos in the United States are more likely than the rest of the U.S. population to report experiencing impacts of climate change.

Texas, California, Florida, and Puerto Rico have some of the largest concentrations of Latinos in the United States, and all have been struck in recent years by devastating environmental disasters—hurricanes, wildfires, extreme heat, and drought. In the United States, 80 percent of all farmworkers are Latino, and Latinos make up nearly 7 percent of the nation’s natural resource laborers. Food production is highly sensitive to changes in the environment, including extreme heat and rainfall totals that are heavier than usual. This means that the livelihoods of Latinos are more likely to be at risk from climate change than those of other workers. A 2015 drought in California—relatively minor compared to some later droughts—nevertheless cost the jobs of 10,000 farmworkers.

Latinos are taking the initiative to be part of the solution as well. At both the local and national levels, organizations such as GreenLatinos and the Latino Community Foundation are advocating for much-needed action around climate. Their focus issues range from carbon pricing to conservation to farmworker rights.

It is important for people of color to be at the table for climate advocacy. The faces of climate leadership are disproportionately white, even though people of color are more likely to be adversely affected and are doing a great deal of advocacy work on the ground. Here is how Fernandez Zamora describes her efforts to ensure that the perspectives of people of color are well represented: “I think one of the opportunities that being a Latina gives me is the ability to see [climate change] from a different perspective, because of our experiences. When we go into climate spaces, we bring our people with us. I work hard to make sure my community has a voice and I bring it to the table.”

As the Latino population, including the number of citizens with voting rights, continues to grow, Latinos are poised to become a strong voting and advocacy base for climate and other issues. “We are growing in numbers, there are a lot of us, and we can impact policy,” said Fernandez Zamora.

For more on climate change and hunger, see the climate change section of the 2019 Hunger Report, Back to Basics: How to End Hunger by 2030.

Karyn Bigelow is a research associate with Bread for the World Institute.

Back to topBack to top

Photo courtesy of Nikki Toyama-Szeto

On Faith: Praying With Our Feet

By Nikki Toyama-Szeto

“Let this be the day that everyone can eat.”

This is the short refrain my family and I pray before our family meals. We pray this because we believe God is good, compassionate, and cares for all of us. We have seen the amazing provision of God for his people. So, we pray that those for whom these provisions were intended, would receive them too, today at least.

As I have traveled the world, I am amazed by the ecological diversity and the astonishing provision of food, along with the creativity of world cuisines. It’s the tangy sour of Japanese natto, the spicy heat of Korean kimchee. God’s creativity is reflected in the sukuma wiki from the country communities in Kenya, and in the magic of salsa huancaina from Peru. And the holidays seem to bring out each country’s culinary best.

Yet, we know that there are many who go to bed hungry—in our local communities, our country, and in our global family. It seems unthinkable that there is hunger. Technological advances have maximized crop production and seed resilience. Refrigeration and air travel diminish the distance between communities. There is abundant food in this world. But we have a problem. Not with provision, but with distribution.

Have we accidentally become the block—the obstacle that is keeping God’s amazing provision, from flowing to those for which they are intended?  Have we accidentally—in the enjoyment of the fruits of our labor—started eating the fruits that God intended for all the members of his community to enjoy. Haggai 1:7-11 gives an exhortation to pay careful attention to this specific dynamic.

And then there are those who eat but are nutritionally hungry—their communities have been overrun with fast foods, or low-nutrition options. Their budgets only stretch so far. Or the breadth of the food desert swallows them.

As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving, of celebrating and feasting, let us pause, and ask God that the abundance be experienced by all. Let us pray that each person would taste that which was intended for them, today, at the very least.

And would you consider what it means to live out this prayer—a prayer that all would taste of God’s provision?  Let us live our thanksgiving. Let us live as if God intended for all to taste of his provision.

As we buy the items on our feast day grocery lists, consider buying additional for those in our communities. As we think about showing our friends our love through gifts, can we consider adding a gift for an unknown person? Consider buying gift cards and giving them to the social workers in your local elementary schools, to be given out to the students in the schools who might need a bit extra.

Consider inviting a local family to share a Thanksgiving meal, in our home. Or as we invest in remodeling our home/bathroom/kitchen (or buying a table for the place where we rent) would we consider sharing that same provision by paying for the same renovation for a homeless shelter, a children’s youth center, or other community support?

As we send Christmas cards, might we consider reaching out to our members of Congress to urge them to be sure that important nutrition safety-net programs are fully funded? As we taste God’s goodness and provision, may we also be a path for God’s provision and care to go beyond us and our own.

In this way, we can participate in the grand invitation that God extended to us—both to pray, and to live our prayers into being.

Nikki Toyama-Szeto is the executive director of Evangelicals for Social Action/The Sider Center. She works with Christian communities to have a faith-fueled commitment to God’s work of justice.

News Briefs

CHRISTMAS CARDS HELP END HUNGER

Christmas cards can be purchased from Bread for the World, and the proceeds will support our work together to end hunger. 

The 2019 card features an original illustration called, “Peace of Earth,” by Doug Puller, senior design and art manager at Bread for the World. Inside is a passage from the Gospel of Luke as well as the greeting, “With the angels and shepherds, we rejoice in Christ’s birth among us.”

Ten cards and envelopes cost only $15 (includes shipping).

To view the full selection of cards available and to place your order, go here. You may also call 800-822-7323. 

RICK STEVES TO SPEAK AT 16TH ANNUAL GALA TO END HUNGER

Rick Steves, well-known travel host and longtime Bread for the World member, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s 16th annual Gala to End Hunger on Dec. 3 in New York City.

Steves, who is the host and writer of public television’s most-watched and longest-running travel series, “Rick Steves’ Europe,” will also be honored at the gala for his tireless work advocating against hunger. 

The gala will be co-hosted by Bread for the World, Bread for the World Institute, and the Alliance to End Hunger. To purchase tickets and for more information about the event, go here.

FAITH LEADERS SPEAK OUT ON YEMEN

A public letter from 100 faith leaders was published in The Washington Post calling on Congress to end arms sales and military support for the war in Yemen.

The National Defense Authorization Act could go a long way to addressing the war in Yemen, if bans on military support for the war in Yemen is included. The legislation passed the House and Senate and is now in conference.

“Our faith compels us to promote peace and seek to end strife,” said Rev. Dawn Barnes, a letter signer from Indianapolis, Indiana. “The war in Yemen is complex, but continued U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia will only cause more harm and suffering. Matthew 5:9 says, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’ I pray that Congress has the wisdom and strength to make America a peacemaker in Yemen.”

Yemenis are trying to survive the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Twenty-four million people—80 percent of the country’s population—need some form of humanitarian assistance and protection. By the end of the year, the UN estimates that the conflict will have directly or indirectly killed over 230,000 people. The crisis in Yemen is directly enabled by U.S. arms sales and military support for the Saudi/UAE intervention in the conflict. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates countries repeatedly have used U.S.-made bombs and missiles to target homes, farms, and medical centers.  Saudi and UAE airstrikes are responsible for two-thirds of the direct civilian casualties in the Yemen conflict, and have destroyed infrastructure vital for preventing the outbreak of famine and responding to the cholera epidemic and other diseases.

UNDER THE TREE—GIFTS THAT END HUNGER

Please consider giving or asking for donations to Bread for the World for Christmas this year.  Right now, 1 in 4 children worldwide is stunted due to chronic malnutrition in their first years of life.  

For every dollar Bread for the World raises, our members leverage $100 in lifesaving support for children and families who are hungry. That’s a gift that spreads hope, peace, joy, and love all year long. Give a gift to honor a loved  one this Christmas season or ask your friends and family to give in your honor.

ORDER ART SIMON'S NEW BOOK

“Silence Can Kill,” the latest book by Rev. Art Simon, Bread for the World’s founder and president emeritus, is on its way to becoming a bestseller.

Bread member and noted travel writer Rick Steves offers this praise: “This book is both a powerful argument and a manual for making a difference. It offers a wise and insightful foundation for understanding the whys and hows of effectively fighting hunger.”

If you don’t yet have “Silence Can Kill,” you can purchase the book for $29 (includes shipping) at our Bread store or by calling 800-822-7323. Other items are also available at the store including the “Song for 1,000 Days” CD on discount now and much more.

ENDING HUNGER AND THE 2019 NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel prize for economics were awarded to people addressing the root causes of hunger. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to ‘achieve peace and international cooperation.’

Conflict and hunger are intrinsically linked, and his efforts to bring about peace also create conditions that allow continued progress against hunger.

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Michael Kremer of Harvard were awarded the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank prize in Economic Sciences “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”

Poverty is the main cause of hunger. The world has made tremendous progress against poverty over the past few decades. Continuing this progress will put the world on the path to end hunger.

Roots of Hunger: Raising the Minimum Wage

By Jane Adams

In the United States, the preferred way of ending hunger is ensuring that everyone who wants a job can get one and that it pays a wage that provides families with the means to put food on the table and make ends meet.

Today, more than 38 million people, and 5 percent of workers, live in poverty and struggle with food insecurity. A low minimum wage is a root cause of hunger in the United States.

The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009, the longest period in modern history. For far too long, low-income workers have faced wage stagnation, and the incomes of people of color, especially women, have disproportionately been impacted. 

A study by the Century Foundation found that an increase in the minimum wage would “significantly improve food security.” This is especially true for working families who still face budgetary constraints that prevent them from being able to afford enough food. Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour (over a period of five years) would move nearly 1.2 million households out of food insecurity. Forty-four percent of the 1.2 million households achieving food security would be African American and Latino households.

The Bible is clear, “The laborer deserves to be paid” (1 Timothy 5:18).

This summer the House passed the Raise the Wage Act (S.150/H.R. 582), which would raise the federal minimum wage in 2019 to $8.55 an hour and increase it over the next six years until it reaches $15 an hour in 2025. After 2025, the minimum wage would adjust each year to keep pace with inflation. This would deliver long overdue raises for 27 million workers. The bill has not received a vote in the Senate.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour not only increases earnings for low-wage workers but reduces poverty. And nearly half of the people moved out of poverty by raising the minimum wage would be children. When parents and guardians earn more in wages, they can afford to make ends meet for their entire family.

Congress must recognize that a stagnant minimum wage is a root cause of hunger. In order to end hunger in the United States by 2030, Congress must raise the minimum wage and automatically adjust the minimum wage with inflation.

People who work hard and contribute to society and the economy should not live in poverty.

Jane Adams is a senior domestic policy analyst at Bread for the World.

Climate change threatens to reverse the remarkable progress the world has made against hunger.

Bread for the World Receives $200,000 Climate Change Grant

Bread for the World is among 11 nonprofits to receive a Climate Smart Commitment grant from Rick Steves’ Europe—a leading European travel and guidebook company.

The company is awarding a total of $1 million to support projects that combat climate change. The grant money will go to two types of organizations: groups advocating in Congress for U.S. policies to fight climate change, and nonprofit organizations who are helping farming communities in the developing world mitigate their contribution to climate change by employing climate-smart agriculture and forestry techniques.

Bread will use its grant money to raise awareness of the connection between climate change and hunger and to push policies that address climate change and its impact on people struggling with hunger.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Climate Smart Commitment,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “Climate change threatens to reverse the remarkable progress the world has made against hunger. People experiencing hunger and poverty around the world are being hit hardest.”

Climate change has become a significant cause of world hunger, and the U.S. government is no longer playing a leadership role in dealing with the problem. 

In 2017, the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords. The administration has also threatened to cut international aid, including agricultural programs that help poor countries cope with climate change and reduce their impact on the environment. 

Bread will help its members, especially young people, to support policies that help combat climate change and its impact on hunger. 

Act Now

Call (800-826-3688) or write your senators and representative. Urge them to support and pass the bipartisan Global Nutrition Resolution (H.Res 189/S.Res. 260).

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

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

Faith

African at Heart

November 22, 2019

Insight

From the Blog

Bloom into joy

December 11, 2019