Food security is necessary to lead a productive, healthy, and active life. It has been reported that more than forty-nine (49) million Americans lack reliable access to the food. Childhood hunger is a growing reality in America. According to the USDA, over seventeen (17) million children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households in 2009. ii. In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the prevalence of hunger is a national travesty.
Approximately, one (1) in four (4) children in America is food insecure. The United States’ 2009 food insecurity rates were high for one of the world’s wealthiest nations. Due largely to safety net programs, the 2009 rates did not rise steeply above their 2008 levels. The federal programs that helped to prevent child hunger include Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); and school breakfasts as well as lunches. These federal feeding programs provide critical assistance to indigent children, youth, and families in crisis. In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the prevalence of hunger is a disgrace.
In response to what many have termed as unjust proposed federal budget cuts that will disproportionately impact poor and hungry people in the United States and abroad, a broad based coalition launched a fasting, prayer, and advocacy campaign to protect funding for programs serving the most vulnerable members of society. In the first week of April, it was reported that this public awareness campaign started with over four thousand (4,000) citizens and the coalition has continued to grow.
According to MoveOn.org, more than thirty-thousand (30,000) people participated in a rolling fast to protest what some have termed the immoral budget cuts Republicans are pushing in Washington. The fast participants included twenty-eight (28) progressive members of Congress. By fasting in solidarity, the campaign participants sought to make the suffering of desperately poor children, youth, and families visible to policymakers.
The prayer, fasting, rallies, marches, vigils, and teach-ins held in April were about sending the message that balancing the budget on the back of the most vulnerable persons in our society is simply unjust—and the need for that message has never been greater. The budget agreement—now public—contains cuts to critical programs but does little to make corporations and the rich pay their fair share.
More than half of the thirty-eight (38) billion dollars in cuts target education, labor, and health programs. The worst cuts and riders did not make it into the budget—but some assert that was the plan all along to propose the unthinkable, threaten to shut down the government, and then walk away with cuts that would have been as unfathomable just a few months ago.
Now some elected officials are pushing for a new round of proposals to make far deeper cuts to education, nutrition, health care, and other essential programs—while giving even bigger tax breaks to millionaires and corporations. And this time, after winning so much in the last round, some portion of the elected officials at the federal level actually have a shot at getting every last cut they want.
We, as a nation, cannot address our long-standing fiscal challenges by cutting very necessary programs and services for the most vulnerable members of our state. Instead of cutting necessary programs, we must raise taxes on corporations and the wealthiest members of society. Like the hard working citizen’s in the United States corporations and wealthy Americans must pay their fair share of the tax burden. Additionally, to reduce the deficit, many have called for cuts in the defense department. Many assert that redundancies and overall waste account for a significant portion of the defense budget.
If federal funding for programs serving the most vulnerable members of our society is important to you, it is imperative that you let your elected officials know your position on this issue. To find the name and contact information for your: US Senator, you can visit the Senate Information website at http://www.senate.gov/…/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm; and for the House of Representatives you can visit this website http://www.writerep.house.gov.
Sources: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; U.S. Census Bureau; Feeding America (online); Rhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010; Nord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008 and 2009; Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008; http://www.share.org; http://www.feedamerica.org; http://www.nokidhungry.org; “Fasting, Prayer & Budget Cuts”, Business Wire, March 23, 2011; Progressive Leaders Fast Over Budget Cuts, Dayen, David, April 1, 2011; and the Food Research and Action Center. “Historic Spending Cuts the Centerpiece for Final Continuing Resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year 2011,” House Committee on Appropriations, April 12, 2011. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=207753&id=26909-18765278-r3CfB8x&t=4. “Budget deal: Cuts of $38 billion include accounting gimmicks, target Obama priorities,” the Washington Post, April 12, 2011. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=207751&id=26909-18765278-r3CfB8x&t=5
i. Rhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter,Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010.
ii. “Historic Spending Cuts the Centerpiece for Final Continuing Resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year 2011,” House Committee on Appropriations, April 12, 2011. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=207753&id=26909-18765278-r3CfB8x&t=4
iii. “Budget deal: Cuts of $38 billion include accounting gimmicks, target Obama priorities,” the Washington Post, April 12, 2011. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=207751&id=26909-18765278-r3CfB8x&t=5
Date: March 27-30, 2011
Information: To obtain further information on this upcoming event, the URL is as follows: http://www.cwla.org/conferences/conferences.htm
According to the CWLA website, the registration process for this event is now open for the CWLA national conference, the State of Children & Families: Building an Effective National Voice. CWLA’s 2011 conference is scheduled for March 27-30, 2011 and is being held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, which is less than 10 minutes from downtown Washington, DC. Note those spouses are now invited with a reduced fee! –CWLA Website
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