Sunday, October 12, 2014

Day 7: What are we going to do to end hunger?

On Day 7 I knew I could get through the day and finish the challenge. But my failures on Day 3 and 4  really got me thinking about what I am or am not willing to do to end hunger, and what the significance of my actions this week will be. After all, my efforts do not amount to a hill of beans if all I do is eat food on a SNAP budget for a week, and tell you about it here.

Clever tips and recipes for living on a shoestring are great, but they clearly were not enough to keep me nutritiously fed on a SNAP budget. Food drives or donations to a local food bank are obviously essential, especially with the benefits sized as they are now, but they do not get at the source of the problem. At the end of the day, the fact is that the SNAP benefit is too small. The fact is that minimum wage has not kept up with cost of living, driving more people into poverty.

What kinds of collective political action might be effective to end hunger? I found a lot of great information in the 2014 Hunger Report, published by the non-profit Bread for the World Institute. Bread for the World is a people of faith organization (ecumenical Christian), and I know not all of you reading this are people of faith, but they do have some of the best information out there. So if you can handle the references to Jesus, it is an amazing resource.

The Institute is the 501(c)3 entity linked to the 501(c)4 Bread for the World which takes direct political action to end hunger (see, e.g., their handy Congressional scorecard).  Bread's four step action plan depicted in the infographic at right makes a lot of sense to me. I took a number of actions today including writing Congress, engaging the media, and making sure my membership was active and that I was subscribed to future alerts from hunger advocacy organizations like Bread for the World or Feeding America. There is reason to believe our actions are worthwhile: see Bread's accomplishments and Feeding America's.

I hope you will take action too and tell everyone about it in the comments.

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