October 18th, 2012 at 7:00 am
Take a bow, Texas. You deserve applause on the issue of childhood hunger.
Three years ago, Texas ranked second worst in the nation on this critical issue. Today, we’ve climbed to 11th. We still have much, much work to do, but that is great progress.
Jeremy Everett, director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, announced the new ranking at the Southwest Regional Hunger Summit at Baylor University Wednesday, Oct. 17.
The first summit was held three years ago. The Christian Life Commission launched THI and there is a direct correlation between creation of THI and the improvement in Texas. THI has worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Texas Department of Agriculture, statewide non-profits, food banks, and local groups to organize the response to hunger.
“When gathered here (three years ago) it seemed like we were in a deserted place, and we were,” Everett said at this week’s summit. “But we have seen things transformed.”
Many people are not aware that the USDA administers the federal government’s various food and nutrition programs. It does this because SNAP (Food Stamps), Summer Meals, and other programs are directly connected to and benefit the nation’s agriculture culture and industry. There are two public benefits of these efforts — providing for people in need and keeping our agricultural infrastructure sound.
As a result, it was USDA resources that have been critical in the Texas turnaround. “We were leaving billions of dollars on the table because we did not have a coordinated system,” Everett said. In other words, federal dollars approved for various programs were not being accessed. All of the groups mentioned above, led by THI, have created processes to improve access to those funds.
It’s not only the poorest in Texas who are benefiting. It is creating jobs in grocery stores and providing needed cash for store owners. Everett calls it “trickle up economics.”
“You invest in the poorest people in your community,” and they “have to immediately turn around and spend it” because their needs are so great, Everett told me. Those dollars are spent in communities, and it is estimated that one-in-10 working class grocery jobs are attributable to government programs, he said.
So, we celebrate. Hunger is being reduced, jobs are being created, and our communities are being improved. Now, we shoot for continuing to climb the latter.
Bread for the World has announced its 2014 Offering of Letters to United States senators and representatives. Bread does not send these letters; Bread encourages and empowers individual Christians to conduct this annual letter-writing campaign, and this often occurs through churches.
This year’s effort asks lawmakers to reform United States food aid in times of crisis and to foster long-term solutions to hunger. Specifically, it asks for legislation to pursue three goals:
1) Improve efficiency in international crisis aid by allowing more food to be bought in or near the country where it is needed and by reducing sales of American-grown food in developing countries and instead funding local projects that can provide more sustainable anti-hunger efforts.
2) Enhance the nutritional quality of food aid and better target it to vulnerable people, such as women and children in the first 1,000 days of life.
3) Protect funding for emergency and development food aid.
Bread, which is supported by the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, provides a wide variety of helpful resources to help people understand the issues related to U.S. aid and to help churches organize letter-writing campaigns. It’s a great way to lay a foundation of concern for hunger and poverty in the world, and this concern is firmly rooted in the gospel message of Jesus.
DALLAS – Texas Baptists gave more than $953,000 to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering in 2013 to help address hunger and poverty issues around the world. Full Story »
Can you believe it? You can provide 6 people with a nutritious meal for just ONE DOLLAR! Between now and August 31, you can anyway. The David M. Crowley Foundation has issued a generous $100,000 matching challenge to friends of the North Texas Food Bank. Full Story »