Villanovans write for hunger

Kimberly McMurray

Hunger comes with many faces. It can be in the photograph of the little boy with the rust- colored hair and the bloated stomach in the article about a third world country. It can be the single mother in the suburbs who skips dinner so her children can have seconds, or who has to choose between buying groceries and paying the rent each month. It can be the family in west Philadelphia that eats tortillas or pasta five days a week. Hunger is everywhere, in the University’s own backyard, and around the world.

On April 12 and 15, the University’s chapter of Bread for the World sponsored a letter-writing campaign to show their senators their support for the Hunger Free Communities legislation.

“This legislation calls for a commitment to cut US hunger in half by 2010 and eliminate it by 2015,” said sophomore Megghan Krosoczka, president of the University’s chapter. Included in the bill is a plan to cut world hunger in half by 2015.

“The most important point we need to make with the support of this bill, however, is that with its approval we need a promise that budget cuts to current nutrition programs will not occur,” said Krosoczka.

The University’s letter-writing campaign is part of a nationwide effort by Bread for the World. According to their website, letter-writing is one of the most effective ways to communicate with elected officials to advocate against hunger.

“Constituent letters count and Bread for the World letters are special, not only because Bread members are generally well-informed, but because they write to help others, not themselves,” said Bread representative Jim Leach.

Though the University’s chapter has a standard letter that can be copied and addressed to individual senators, the national organization suggests writing a personal letter in order to make more of an impact on the elected official. The website suggests being concise, suggesting specific action, and including your name and address so he or she can see that you are a constituent and will make it a point to write back addressing the issue.

The letter writing campaign can make a difference since it is averaged that 94 percent or voters say that it is important for them to pay for anti-hunger programs in the US, “even in times of budget deficits and economic hardships.”

National Bread for the World is a “bi-partisan Christian advocacy group that works across the nation by lobbying our nation’s decision makers on issues concerning the fight against hunger,” said Krosoczka.

According to the mission statement of the organization, “BFW Institute seeks justice for hungry people by engaging in research and education on policies related to hunger and development.”

The National Anti-Hunger Organization released a “Blueprint to End Hunger” last June in which their plan to put an end to hunger in the United States was outlined. According to the Millennium Declaration to End Hunger in America, released in December 2003 and quoted at the start of the Blueprint, “Hunger should have no place at our table. It is inconsistent with our commitment to human rights and objectionable to American values of fairness, opportunity, family and community.”

According to the Blueprint, even though America is the largest food producer in the world, each year nearly 35 million Americans (including 13 million children) go hungry.

This plan calls for and improvement and expansion of the national nutrition programs which provide people at risk of hunger with the proper resources to provide an adequate diet for themselves and their families. “If the United States is to end hunger and reach a point where essentially all Americans are able to buy the food they need, we must ensure that potential workers have job opportunities, earnings that allows them to provide for their families basic needs, and the education and training they need to stay competitive.” The Blueprint supports programs such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and the Food Stamp Program.

Bread for the World, besides advocating against hunger, fights against the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus and tuberculosis. “High rates of HIV infection increase community food insecurity, and areas where food is scarce are incubators for the spread of HIV/AIDS. The AIDS pandemic threatens to reverse the progress that has been made against hunger and poverty over the last three decades in the developing world,” said the website.

Since 1985, 7 million agricultural workers in Africa have died of AIDS and 16 million more are approximated to die by 2020.