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Bread for the World

Celebrating more than 25 years of seeking justice for the world's hungry people, Bread for the World is a Christian voice for ending hunger in the new century.

Bread for the World's 45,000 members contact their senators and representatives about legislation that affects hungry people in the United States and worldwide. We do not provide direct relief or development assistance. Rather, we focus on using the power we have as citizens in a democracy to support policies that address the root causes of hunger and poverty.

Thousands of local churches and community groups support Bread for the World's efforts by writing letters to Congress and making financial gifts to the organization. Bread for the World groups across the country meet locally to pray, study and take action; members meet with their representatives in Congress, organize telephone trees, win media coverage and reach out to new churches.

Bread for the World's partner organization, Bread for the World Institute, carries out research and education on hunger. The Institute's annual hunger report, for example, strengthens the anti-hunger movement through analysis on the causes and solutions of hunger.

Bread for the World is a nonpartisan organization whose members include Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We are also supported by 45 denominations and many theological perspectives. Our board of directors includes grassroots leaders, members of Congress, and leaders of churches and charities. Bread for the World is the largest grassroots advocacy network on hunger issues, and also accounts for most of the constituent lobbying that is done in the United States on behalf of poor people overseas.

What we're fighting against
Misconceptions—Nearly half of U.S. voters believe that either welfare or foreign aid is the biggest item in the federal budget. In fact, nutrition programs and welfare together amount to only 3 percent of federal spending. Foreign aid takes up less than one percent of the federal budget, and only a small portion of that is focused on sustainable development and humanitarian assistance.

Political attacks—Much of Bread for the World's work recently has been to resist attacks on these relatively inexpensive programs that help poor people in the United States and worldwide. We are especially focusing on protecting hungry children in the United States. While some in Congress argue that churches and charities should be responsible for this work, the fact of the matter is that they can't do it all. The government must do its part to help. As individuals, Bread for the World members may volunteer in social ministries and give to our churches' hunger appeals. But we also know that a single decision by Congress or the president can outweigh or multiply our contributions.

Our History
In October 1972, a small group of Catholics and Protestants met to reflect on how persons of faith could be mobilized to influence U.S. policies that address the causes of hunger. Under the leadership of the Reverend Arthur Simon, the group began to test the idea in the spring of 1973. By year's end, more than 500 people had joined the ranks of Bread for the World as citizen advocates for hungry people. This small group has grown to a nationwide movement of more than 45,000 members. In September 1991, the Reverend David Beckmann succeeded Simon as president.



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