Hunger Watch Enews

January 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment

Hunger Watch: December 2009

A newsletter for religious leaders concerned about hunger

This is the final edition of Hunger Watch, a periodic report to church leaders that grew out of the 2008 Interfaith Consultation on the Global Hunger Crisis. Over the past year, we have provided analysis of the ongoing crisis and updates on responses by Bread for the World’s religious partners.

The crisis, of course, is not over. In fact, in August 2009, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that the number of hungry people now exceeds 1 billion. Churches and faith-based agencies continue to seek ways to alleviate the suffering and support efforts that address the underlying causes. And faith leaders continue to call on our nation to respond to the needs of hungry people around the world. But the discussion of this particular crisis has now been subsumed into larger discussions about global food security and hunger, much of which is focused on the Obama administration’s recently announced plans for a major global food security initiative.

Bread for the World and Bread for the World Institute will be very active in efforts to help shape this initiative and ensure that it focuses on reducing child and maternal malnutrition. Our president, David Beckmann, has joined World Vision President Richard Stearns and other prominent religious leaders on the Global Poverty and Development task force of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which will provide guidance to the administration’s efforts. We will still be advocating for more effective U.S. foreign assistance programs, continuing our work together on the 2009 Offering of Letters.

We will continue to provide updates on efforts to address the hunger crisis in our Bread newsletter and Fresh Bread updates. We encourage you to sign up for these ongoing electronic publications.

Finally, we are called to prayer—prayer to the God who hears the cries of suffering people. In this season when Christians celebrate the One who is named God-with-us, we ask for God’s comforting presence with all who struggle to feed their families. And let us seek the Spirit’s disturbing and empowering presence for those who are called to join God in responding to suffering and need. We pray that in 2010 we will see a glimpse of that coming day when everyone will eat and be satisfied.

May God bless and strengthen you in your efforts during the coming year.

Grace and peace,

Gary Cook

Rev. Gary Cook
Director of Church Relations

Food Prices: What Has Changed and What Has Not?

The global response to the sharp increases in world food prices that plunged millions of additional people into hunger and poverty led to increased agricultural production in late 2008 and early 2009.

In turn, this has helped to lower prices. International prices for major food staples—corn, rice, soybeans, and wheat—are all about one-third below where they were during last year’s peak, although food prices still remain higher than they were before the crisis.

In addition, international leaders have pledged to renew attention to and support for agriculture and food security. The United States, in particular, has been a leader in efforts to ensure that last year’s experience does not recur.

Read more »


News From Our InterFaith Partners

ELCA World Hunger

In 2009, ELCA World Hunger released a new hunger education resource. Taking Root: Hunger Causes, Hunger Hopes is a dynamic curriculum for children and youth that envisions a world without hunger, and invites reflection on the steps necessary to make that vision a reality. The curriculum is currently available for three age groups: grades 3–6, junior high, and senior high. In spring 2010, ELCA World Hunger will release curriculum for grades K–2. For more information, visit www.elca.org/hunger/takingroot.

Presbyterian Hunger Program

The Presbyterian Church (USA) Hunger Program’s Monthly Fasts, which focus on the Global Food Crisis, continue to offer meditations, connections, and possible responses as each of us grows in what it means to be a “rich” Christian in a world where more than 1 billion brothers and sisters are hungry.

New Resource from Bread for the World Institute

Bread for the World Institute’s 2010 Hunger Report, A Just and Sustainable Recovery, explores the responses necessary to ensure that hungry and poor people benefit from economic recovery efforts. This year’s Hunger Report includes a six-session, biblically-based study guide designed for Christians of various theological and political viewpoints. Each session invites participants to consider how they might act to restore “right relationships” in response to the issues discussed in the Hunger Report. The full report and study guide can be ordered or downloaded free at www.hungerreport.org/2010.

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