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Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World is disappointed that the 2022 omnibus spending bill falls short in funding key areas that are vital to addressing both domestic and international hunger. The organization calls on the White House and Congress to meet these needs with supplemental funding and increased funding in 2023 appropriations.
Although the package includes much needed support to help the millions of people impacted by the crisis in Ukraine, general humanitarian assistance funding was cut, and most other global poverty focused development and humanitarian programs saw little to no funding increases.
“While we appreciate the funding for Ukraine, the small increase in funding for foreign assistance falls short of what is needed to address the humanitarian and hunger crises in other parts of the world including Afghanistan, Yemen, Tigray in Ethiopia, and Myanmar, among others,” said Rev. Eugene Cho, president and CEO of Bread for the World.
“We are facing a global hunger crisis and record numbers of people are suffering from malnutrition,” added Cho. Right now, 44 million people are at risk of famine and more than 283 million are facing severe hunger. These numbers will likely go up as food prices rise and wheat exports from Ukraine and Russia become scarcer.
Globally, the omnibus also fails to fund COVID-19 relief efforts. This will hinder efforts to overcome and fully emerge from the pandemic.
Domestically, Bread is also concerned that the waivers for school meal programs in the U.S. were not included in the spending bill. These waivers, which have broad, bipartisan support, enable schools to offer free meals to all students and expand afterschool and summer meals during the pandemic.
“If these waivers are not extended, millions of children will lose access to summer and school meals next school year. And Black, Latino, and Indigenous children will be disproportionately impacted,” said Cho.
Despite these shortcomings, Bread appreciates the inclusion of $2.5 million for a White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger, and Health and urges the White House to publicly commit to convening this whole-of-government conference to better ensure the policies and programs needed to reduce hunger are duly implemented.
“As the Bible tells us – do not withhold good from those whom it is due when it is within our power to act (Proverbs 3:27),” said Cho. “This bill is clearly a missed opportunity. We cannot reduce humanitarian funding in the middle of a global hunger crisis or ignore the residual impacts of the pandemic on children and families here at home. Congress and the administration must do better.”
Afghanistan would be considered likely to have high rates of hunger because at least two of the major causes of global hunger affect it—armed conflict and fragile governmental institutions.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5. Every year, the world loses hundreds of thousands of young children and babies to hunger-related causes.
Bread for the World is calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to build a better 1,000-Days infrastructure in the United States.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition.
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