The following letter samples are submitted by Beverley Rannow:
Below are sample letters to the members of Congress who represent citizens in the Holland/Zeeland area. You are welcome to send them as they are or personalize them. Stories that illustrate the need for child nutrition programs would helpful additions.
A review of Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt those they Help (and How to Reverse it), by Robert D. Lupton, copyright 2011.
Lupton comes to this topic with a great deal of experience. As founder and chair of Focused Community Strategies Urban Ministries, he has worked in the area of urban renewal for more than forty years. And he has some valuable insights, though as explained below, he seems to miss some essential points.
Lupton’s key message is that all too many well-intentioned aid programs never go beyond relief measures, and this hurts aid recipients. Churches and charities, he says, need to realize that “hand outs” are appropriate for emergency situations only; true development requires empowerment of aid recipients. What happens to aid recipients who receive relief aid on a long-term basis? Lupton asserts that such aid can stifle incentives for the recipients to help themselves. That is, recipients develop a sense of dependency and entitlement rather than empowerment.
Why do churches emphasize relief programs? Well, we Christians are aware of hunger and poverty and of our responsibility to alleviate it. But we are also busy with many other concerns and priorities in our lives and our communities, so we do something relatively easy. Relief work can be carried out without long-term commitments on the part of the donors. No long-term relationship between donor and recipient is needed. Relief work requires no effort to analyze and reverse the complex causes of the recipients’ needs.
Lupton’s arguments provide good food for thought. Are the outreach programs of our churches primarily a means of meeting donors’ desire to give of themselves (but not too much) rather than a genuine desire to lift the poor out of poverty? Should our churches do more to develop lasting relationships with the chronic poor and help them overcome their predicaments? Should we do more to help needy people organize themselves to advance their own development? These questions are worth asking, as uncomfortable as they may be.
But Lupton seems to overlook the following. First, long-term relationships require greater resources than relief work, and many faith communities--including my own--struggle to obtain enough resources to carry out our many ministries. Perhaps development work is beyond the scope of what many individual congregations can offer. Second, hard work and ingenuity are not always enough to enable one to be self-sufficient. For example, among households with a working-age, non-disabled adult, most who receive SNAP benefits (formerly, food stamps) have at least one member in the workforce. Walmart employees and adjunct professors are just two groups of workers who often rely on SNAP benefits to feed their families. Third, Lupton does not mention the effect of public policy. While working with individuals and communities to overcome poverty is important, we also need to work to change public policies that thwart the efforts of folks to dig out of poverty. The uneven distribution of resources and opportunity in our society makes progress far easier for some people than others.
Not surprisingly, Lupton blames our welfare system for stifling the work ethic of many in our society. Ironically, I’ve read that the welfare reform of the 1990’s (which pushed many welfare recipients into the low-wage workforce) was supposed to include job-training programs. However, those programs were deemed too expensive and hence never enacted. I wonder if Lupton would have supported such programs. So many people today seem to be stuck in the low-wage workforce, with no opportunity for affordable training to help them advance to better jobs.
On the subject of international aid, I strenuously object to Lupton’s assertion that our nation’s aid to Africa has been a waste, with current conditions in Africa worse than fifty years ago. Africa still has plenty of problems, and some of our nation’s aid indeed was misdirected. But such wholesale claims of Africa’s lack of progress are simply not accurate. Just today (August 6, 2014) the Holland Sentinel carried an opinion column, Bet on Africa Rising by Michael Gerson, citing the tremendous progress Africa is making. And Bread for the World President David Beckmann recently remarked, “Progress in Africa shows that we can end extreme hunger and poverty worldwide in our time.” (See http://blog.bread.org/2014/07/africa-leaders-summit-coming-to-washington-dc-aug-4-6.html.)
Bread for the World acknowledges that our foreign assistance programs are imperfect and indeed advocates for their reform. One of the reforms Bread has requested consists of a greater role for recipient communities to plan and carry out assistance programs. The Obama administration has taken this direction in its Feed the Future program, launched in 2009. Has Lupton noticed this improvement? Another reform advocated by Bread is the funding of development over several years at a time, so that more long-term projects can replace relief programs, which better lend themselves to year-by-year funding. Both of these reforms are consistent with Lupton’s insistence on the necessity of development to effect lasting change.
While I find Toxic Charity worthwhile reading, I fear that those who believe that poverty is primarily caused by lack of personal initiative can read it selectively. Though Christians may need to be reminded of the importance of empowering individuals and communities to help themselves, we also need to acknowledge that unjust structures sometimes thwart personal and community efforts, placing people in the awkward position of needing long-term relief.
Bread for the World works for justice for our hungry brothers and sisters, because justice is an essential foundation for alleviating hunger and poverty. No relief or development efforts can yield long-term results without justice. Bread for the World’s frequent advocacy of safety nets is not a repudiation of Lupton’s ideas. Rather it is a response to the failure of our leaders to provide adequate short-term support (in the form of relief measures) and long-term support (in the form of opportunities for advancement and just policies) for our struggling brothers and sisters. Let us continue to work together to realize a world in which each one’s labor yields abundant fruit.
By Mary Johnson, from the Holland Sentinel's Opinion Page:
The Holland Bread Team (i.e., Holland Chapter of Bread for the World) would like to commend the City of Holland for sponsoring the Holland Youth Connections program and for its efforts to substantially expand the program for the summer of 2014. We are sure that this program, which provides summer employment for at-risk youth, will reap benefits for our entire community, as these youth are constructively engaged and given training that will help them be successful in the future. A member of the Holland Bread Team led one of the groups of youth last summer, and he is so proud that our city is making this contribution to the future of our youth.
Bread for the World is a national Christian advocacy movement working to end hunger, both at home and abroad. Each year, Bread for the World Institute issues a Hunger Report. Bread’s 2014 Hunger Report, Ending Hunger in America, contains a section explaining that helping at-risk youth is one means of reducing hunger and poverty in our nation. This timely feature helps us appreciate Holland’s commitment to employ such youth. The 2014 Hunger Report also advocates for an increase in the minimum wage. We’ve been told that the City of Holland is already paying its youth slightly above the minimum wage. We commend the city on that also.
In response to the May 2 Sentinel article conveying the need for addition funding for the Youth Connections program, our team has made a contribution to this important cause. We encourage others to step forward also.
August 2013 | Mary Johnson | Chair, Holland Bread Team
In June, I had the privilege of attending Bread for the World’s Lobby Day. I was part of delegations visiting aids of both Michigan senators and of Representative Huizenga. While visiting Rep. Huizenga’s aid, we discussed SNAP benefits (formerly, food stamps), and the subject of categorical eligibility (CE) came up. I must admit, that I hadn’t heard of it. The aid informed us that CE needed to be eliminated, because it was allowing the states to disregard the normal SNAP eligibility requirements, replacing them with very lax standards. I replied that I was somewhat familiar with Michigan’s SNAP eligibility rules—an income test, an asset test, and work requirements—and that these seemed restrictive to me. The aid responded that the tests I had just cited were the rules when CE was not applied, not the lax rules allowed under CE.
Well, I have done my homework now, and unless the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and Feeding America have it all wrong, the aid was mistaken. My research has prompted me to write the following account of the current House Republican proposals on SNAP.
Hope College Intern, Holland Bread Team
14 December 2012
Views, especially between political parties, vary regarding the role of the United States Government in the lives of the people. Particularly in this time of financial strain, government cuts are prominent in discussions of balancing the budget, with cuts to programs aiding the needy on the line. Churches and charities are frequently in the lime-light when it comes to providing help to individuals in need; but, though at times hidden in the background to the general public, the government’s role is invaluable in the fight to end poverty and hunger. Churches, charities, and the government alike are all called to take on a role of support for those who are going through a time of need. Not one or the other, but all are needed to work together to effectively serve the least among us.
The government of the United States was set up as a government “of the people, by the people, [and] for the people” (Lincoln). This means that all persons are to be taken into account during governmental decisions. However, the programs put in place to aid the poor are regarded as areas in which the government can focus its financial savings through budget cuts. Budget cuts to programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, are a part of budget cut discussions currently taking place between Congressional members. SNAP in particular comprises 80 percent of Farm Bill funding, which Congress is looking to cut by billions of dollars (Turner). The Senate has already proposed and passed by vote a cut of $4.5 billion to SNAP (“Senate Passes Farm Bill”), while the House proposes a $16.5 billion cut to food and hunger relief programs to be included in the 2012 Farm Bill (Turner).
If passed, these large cuts will have a significant impact on the well-being of the hungry. In the 2011 fiscal year, the national average monthly SNAP benefit per person was calculated at $133.85 (USDA). Benefits depend upon income and household expenses, causing a variance in individual benefits. Journalist Daniel Imhoff says that, “the SNAP program remains woefully inadequate to the task of helping poor Americans put three meals on their tables, let alone eat a healthy diet” (2). Healthy food, unfortunately, is generally more expensive than unhealthy options. Therefore, even if this amount can stretch to feed a family, it often does not allow the budget for nutritional meals. This lack of nutrition can therefore increase medical bills, which is then added into the cycle of costs affecting the United States government.
On top of these food budget restraints, consider the case of an individual who has food allergies or other diet restrictions. During an interview conducted by a Holland Bread Team member, one woman shared her struggle with dialysis. This time-consuming kidney treatment forced her out of employment and placed vast restrictions on her diet. She shared that the food stamp program provided around two hundred dollars each month, which she was thankful for. Yet, she also admitted that it proved extremely difficult to buy food consistent with her required medical diet for this monthly amount (T.D.). Even for a typical individual, the food stamp budget can be difficult to stretch, but when health and diet concerns are added into the mix, food stamps often do not provide necessary assistance for proper nutrition.
Even with this information, Congress is proposing large cuts to the SNAP program. One estimate stated that if the $4.5 billion proposal by the Senate became law, the results “could impact 500,000 families and would reduce monthly SNAP benefits by $90” (“Senate Passes Farm Bill”). Another estimate indicated that if the House proposal of $16.5 billion in cuts to SNAP goes through, eligibility for this program would be entirely eliminated for 2 to 3 million people (Rosenbaum & Dean). These cuts would have a detrimental effect on those who are already struggling to put food on the table, leaving them with less or no food support during hard times.
SNAP is only one example of food assistance programs to which governmental budget cuts are aimed. Another program that could be affected is the National School Lunch Program, which provides free and reduced school lunches to qualifying children. In accordance with findings of the Congressional Budget Office, “280,000 children in low-income families whose eligibility for free school meals is tied to their receipt of SNAP would lose free meals when their families lost SNAP benefits” (Rosenbaum & Dean). Additionally, an interview with Mark Tucker, Executive Director of Community Action House, revealed that this organization alone had already lost $122,000 in federal funding since the end of the 2010 fiscal year (Tucker), which according to their annual budget report caused a budget deficit of $81,000 (“Annual Report”). Tucker made sure to point out that Community Action House was only one of many organizations whose government funding has already begun to decrease, and that the numerous affected charities are struggling to compensate for their losses. Cuts to government funding have already negatively impacted programs for the poor, and will continue to do so if these cuts continue.
Not only are local Holland agencies struggling to make up for losses of federal funding, but numerous charities nationwide are going through the same situations. In 2008, the United States Conference of Mayors completed a survey of twenty-five US cities regarding the issues of providing aid to the homeless and hungry (“Hunger and Homelessness Survey”). This survey specifically targeted the topic of emergency food assistance, such as food banks, and these organizations’ abilities to help all of their clients. According to the survey results, an unfortunate cycle occurred during that time in the amount of care provided to those in need. Costs of food increased, stretching organizations’ budgets thin in their ability to provide food services. The downturn of the economy increased the number of individuals in need, while at the same time decreasing the amount of goods and money available for others to donate (p. 6). As a result, churches and charities struggled to fully provide for the great amount of need.
Out of the twenty cities surveyed specifically regarding “unmet need for food assistance”
(p. 9), eighteen replied that they had to “cut back the level of assistance provided at food pantries and soup kitchens” (p. 9). Even more concerning is the extent of the consequences of this lack of available food aid. Of these eighteen cities:
Eighty percent reported a reduction in the quantity of food persons can receive at each
food pantry visit; sixty percent reported having to turn people away due to lack of
resources, and forty percent reported setting limits on the number of times persons could
visit food pantries each month (p. 9).
This reduction in the number of times a person can get food is not specific to only these reporting cities. In a personal interview with a Holland Bread Team member, B.K.—a man attending a local soup kitchen—shared the difficulty of living between the times of food pantry visits.
In his interview, B.K. stated that the local food truck delivers food one time per month, a donation that he gratefully accepts. However, the presence of soup kitchens helps him in the times between that food running low and the next delivery (B.K.). The problem lies in that it is not only food banks that are running low on supplies; soup kitchens have also been affected. At a meeting with an aid from Representative Huizenga’s office, Community Action House Director Mark Tucker discussed the current situation of the organization’s food supply at a local soup kitchen. They were nearly out of food for that month, and were not sure how they would make up for the deficiency of food without turning clients away. In a later interview, Tucker shared a current trend he has been noticing in Community Action House’s efforts to help the needy. He shared that although the economy is said to be improving, the number of people in need of assistance is still at a record high, with supplies not meeting the current need (Tucker). This shows that the trends seen in the US Conference of Mayors’ survey from 2008 continue to occur. If food runs out in soup kitchens, a last line of food supply for many individuals, the hungry likely have no other place to turn for food. Charities are already struggling to provide for needs, and further cuts in federal funding will only intensify the situation.
The following figure puts U.S. Census Bureau statistics, regarding the efficiency of government programs in keeping individuals out of poverty, into perspective (Waldron).
Figure 1: The impact of government programs on poverty rates
As stated by the statistics in Figure 1, government programs that are set up to provide aid to Americans play a large role in lowering the potential rate of poverty. As a benefit set up for the working poor, the Earned Income Tax Credit lowers the amount of taxes that people who qualify must pay. These individuals may also be eligible for a tax refund (IRS). The Earned Income Tax Credit alone lifted 5.7 million people over the poverty line, which according to the United States’ Census Bureau is set at $23,021 for a family of four (“Poverty Thresholds”). SNAP, Unemployment Insurance, and Social Security also contribute greatly to helping families get through times of great need. Tax program proposals going around both the Senate and the House of Representatives could install decreases to some of these programs in order to balance the United States’ federal budget. One example of the impact of these decisions is that if proposals become reality, the Earned Income Tax Credit could be either lowered in or completely diminished from the lives of 6 million Americans (Waldron). As tax reform and budget cuts are considered, members of Congress need to keep in mind those whom these decisions will affect and how great of an effect certain decisions may have on Americans.
As one journalist points out, it is unfair “to balance the US budget on the backs of the neediest” (Turner). The most vulnerable in this country should not have to take the brunt of attempts to balance the US budget. In his interview with a Holland Bread Team member, one man in attendance at an area soup kitchen was asked, “How would people be affected if the government cut funding for food programs?” His answer: “Some people would die” (B.K.). Without the support that people receive from programs that provide food and other necessities, a number of people would have nothing to lean on in times of need.
One, not unpopular, solution that some Americans suggest is to hand over the duty of caring for the poor and hungry to the private sector through churches and charities. With these organizations at the front lines of providing help to the less fortunate, this solution may at first seem practical. However, statistics prove otherwise.
According to a report put out by economist and President of Bread for the World, David Beckmann, “All the food that churches and charities provide to hungry people is only about 6 percent of what is provided by federal government nutrition programs” (“Churches Need Strong Federal Programs”). With already existing struggles to keep up with need, and additional difficulty in making up for previous losses of federal funding, it is clear that private sector organizations do not have the means to make up for the percentage of aid that the government provides.
Additionally, few people realize how integrated the government is, even within these organizations that provide aid to the hungry. Community Action House is one example of a non-profit agency that functions with both private and government sponsorship. Food programs which supply food trucks or regularly help out charities also rely on government funding, such as Feeding America which gets some food donations from government sources (Feeding America).
According to a study by the Urban Institute, “Government contracts and grants for human-services nonprofits in 2009 were worth over $100 billion and accounted for 65 percent of their total revenue” (“Nonprofits Fear More Government Cuts”). The government has a substantial hand in providing for programs set up to aid the needy. In the same study, 91 percent of participating charity organizations agreed that federal funding cuts would, “Cause significant problems for our organization as we seek to fund our mission,” (“Nonprofits Fear More Government Cuts”). It needs to be recognized how interwoven the government is in the supplying of aid to the hungry, and what a devastating impact drastic budget cuts will have on nearly all programs aiding those who are hungry.
These threatened cuts do not follow the promise of the United States government—to be a government for the people—as they tend to be focused on programs which aid Americans who are in need. A government for the people should not leave individuals to fend for themselves. Abraham Lincoln was not quoted as saying, “A government for the wealthy and middle class.” Rather, he clearly included all Americans by stating:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation,
conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal… and
that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the
earth (Gettysburg Address).
The intended role of the government is to represent and work towards the good of all Americans, which the proposed federal budget cuts fail to do. The social and financial status of various groups should not affect decisions, and no group should be targeted as the poor often are in these choices.
The population of the poor and hungry in the United States, although often overlooked in governmental decisions, is not a small number. The following chart comes from the United States Census Bureau, and gives the number and percentage of Americans each year, from 1959 to 2011, who have suffered from poverty.
Figure 2: United States poverty rates over 52
According to Figure 2, fifteen percent of the national population in 2011 was living below the nationally established poverty line, meaning that in accordance with the most up-to-date calculations, approximately 46.2 million Americans suffer from poverty. Even after the recession, the number of Americans in poverty increased to reach a record number in history. This data is in line with Mark Tucker’s comments regarding the trends he is observing at Community Action House in Holland, Michigan, in which the amount of need has been on the rise.
Despite these statistics and the trends of record high need, ideas for decreasing the national budget deficit and balancing the federal budget have tended to lean towards propositions to cut funding of aid for the poor. These propositions are not aligned with the purpose of the United States’ government, which is to work for the good of all of the people. The federal government’s obligation is to take each Americans’ needs into consideration when deliberating the governmental actions, including the needs of the poor and hungry.
The short-term help provided by most agencies that are dedicated to aiding the needy is of key importance in dealing with the need of the here-and-now. Many individuals and families would struggle to survive without this form of immediate emergency help. Mark Tucker, from Community Action House, explained that governmental programs such as SNAP and tax credits are also good because, “When the need expands, the programs expand, and when the need goes away, the programs contract” (Tucker). While these programs of immediate and often short-term aid are vital, they only put a Band-Aid on the issues; they do not provide a solution the problem of hunger.
Therefore, focus on not only direct service, but also advocacy is important to the development of a solution to hunger in the United States. In an article written by Msgr. Marvin A. Mottet, he discusses the “two feet of social ministry” (“The ‘Two Feet’ of Ministry: Keeping Our Balance”). One foot represents direct service, and the other is institutional change (Mottet). Just as a person cannot easily keep his or her balance on one foot, in order to successfully move forward in solving hunger, both feet of service and change are essential. Bread for the World believes in the importance of both feet, but recognizes a lack of focus on institutional change among strategies for solving hunger. Therefore, advocacy is at the center of Bread for the World’s work. They advocate for both the continuance of the short-term aid and the government funding of this aid, as well as for the maintenance of laws which protect the most vulnerable.
Bread for the World, as a Christian organization, has encountered those who believe that charity, but not advocacy, is in line with Christianity and Christ’s calling for caring for the poor. The Bible does speak of giving direct aid to the poor: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:25). However, God does not leave all of the care for the poor to individuals in the private-sector. When Jesus saw the mistreatment of the poor, he confronted the political leaders of the time:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and
have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith; it is these you
ought to have practiced without neglecting the others (Matthew 23:23).
As Bread for the World’s Biblical Basis for Advocacy points out, “When Jesus challenged
the Pharisees and Sadducees, he was confronting the public policy decision-makers” (p. 1). Christianity is not separated from the government, which Jesus proves through his concern with the governmental as well as private-sector actions.
The level of poverty is high in the United States; however, the poor population has been overlooked in many past and current federal governmental decisions. Some Americans suggest that poverty and hunger are private-sector, not public-sector, concerns. However, as past federal funding cuts have shown, churches and charities cannot take on the great deal of need alone. Additionally, while these services are vital temporary resolutions, long-term solutions cannot be found without the sustainment of governmental involvement in these programs and other legal actions. Christianity does not exclude the involvement in the government in caring for the poor. And finally, as the government of the United States was set up as a government of and for the people, there is an uncompromising responsibility to take the needs of every American into account when making decisions of action.
“Annual Report.” Community Action House. Feb. 2012. Online. 25 Nov. 2012.
“Biblical Basis for Advocacy.” Bread for the World. Online. 2 Oct. 2012.
Beckmann, David. “Churches Need Strong Federal Programs to Help the Vulnerable.” 4 June.
2012. Online. 2 Oct. 2012.
B.K. Personal Interview. 7 Nov. 2012.
“EITC , Earned Income Tax Credit, Questions and Answers.” IRS. 15 Aug. 2012. Online. 25
Feeding America. Online. 2 Oct. 2012.
“Hunger and Homelessness Survey.” The United States Conference of Mayors. Dec. 2008.
Online. 5 Dec. 2012.
Imhoff, Daniel. “The Farm Bill Matters.” Slate. 31 Oct. 2012. Online. 28 Nov. 2012.
Lincoln, Abraham. “The Gettysburg Address.” 19 Nov. 1863. Gettysburg Address. Britannica
Academic Addition. Online. 28 Nov. 2012.
Mottet, Marvin A. “The ‘Two Feet’ of Ministry: Keeping Our Balance.” Bread for the World.
Oct. 2011. Online. 2 Oct. 2012.
“Nonprofits Fear More Government Cuts.” Philanthropy Journal. 30 Jan. 2012. Online. 27
“Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels, U.S. Average.” Center for
Nutrition Policy and Promotion. USDA. Dec. 2009. Online. 5 Dec. 2012
“Poverty Thresholds.” US Census Bureau. Online. 7 Dec. 2012.
Rosenbaum, Dorothy and Dean, Stacy. “House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Would Throw
2 to 3 Million People Off of SNAP.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 5 Sept. 2012.
Online. 5 Dec. 2012.
“Senate Passes Farm Bill; Cuts $4.5 billion from SNAP.” Bread.org. Bread for the World. 21
June. 2012. Online. 28 Nov. 2012.
T.D. Personal interview. 7 Nov. 2012.
Tucker, Mark. Personal Interview. 12 Nov. 2012.
Turner, John. “Farm Bill Budget Cuts Will Mean Millions of Americans Go Hungry.” The
Guardian. 19 July. 2012. Online. 29 Nov. 2012.
United States Department of Agriculture. “SNAP Average Monthly Benefits.” 9 Nov. 2012.
Online. 5 Dec. 2012.
Waldron, Travis. “CHART: How Government Programs Keep Millions of Americans Out of
Poverty.” 12 Sept. 2012. Online. 4 Dec. 2012.
The 2012 book The Historic Unfulfilled Promise consists of writings by the late historian Howard Zinn during the period 1980-2009. More than anything, these writing express Zinn’s profound opposition to war. Though Zinn’s arguments ring true to me, I realize that a discussion of the legitimacy of war is beyond of the scope of Bread for the World. Nonetheless, this book contains many insights that are valuable for everyone working for a better world, and that certainly includes Bread for the World! Below are insights I want to share.
Many Americans assert that government rules and regulations interfere with our free-market economic system, thus inhibiting its proper functioning and reducing the prosperity of our nation. Others counter that our current system is far from a free-market system and claim that many government rules actually contribute to the growing inequality of income and wealth among Americans. Johnston’s book Free Lunch gives abundant evidence that many government rules do indeed tilt the system in favor of the wealthy and, in the process, create a less efficient economy. He also argues that many so-called free-market advocates misquote Adam Smith and ignore biblical principles.
Holland — As our nation’s political leaders continue to debate over how to reduce the deficit, society’s responsibility to poor and hungry people must be given due consideration.
According to Feeding America, nearly 20 percent of Michiganders and about 12 percent of Ottawa County residents are food insecure. Moreover, the situation may become far worse if Congress adopts proposed cuts in the current safety net. Especially troubling is a House proposal would reduce funding for SNAP (food stamps) by $169 billion over the next ten years.
U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, among others, argues that the proposal is reasonable because churches must play a greater role in caring for hungry people. However, for churches to fill a $17 billion a year funding gap would require an average of $50,000 per church per year.
To better understand the role of area churches in helping hungry people, members of the Holland Bread Team (the Holland chapter of Bread for the World; see HollandBreadTeam.org) conducted an informal survey of some area churches that have a record of outreach to the poor. We asked leaders from more than 20 churches to describe their current efforts to aid hungry people and to respond to the suggestion that they chip in an extra $50,000 for SNAP for each of the next ten years.
THE Bread Blog!
Most of these are written by Mary Johnson, our Chair. But we'd love to add new voices! Feel free to contact us for suggestions, sources, or editing, or visit Bread's national site. If you email your piece to be printed on the Holland Sentinel's opinion page, stay under 400 words (shorter is better).
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. By changing policies, programs and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist, we provide help and opportunity far beyond the communities where we live. Bread for the World is a 501(c)4 organization. This site is set up by Holland Bread Team "Chief Communications Architect" Dominic Surya and is not an official Bread site.