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Championing the Vulnerable: Advocacy Highlights This Past Year

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”

– Psalms 107:8-9

 

At Food for the Hungry (FH), we believe in the mission of advocacy for the most vulnerable among us. In reflecting on the past twelve months, it is hard not to be in awe of the incredible work God is doing! The Lord continues to support and guide FH and our network of advocates in elevating the lives of those most vulnerable. One of the ways we do this is by influencing U.S. government officials to be more proactive in responding to the needs of those living in poverty worldwide. Impactful advocacy requires many voices, which is why we are thankful to the thousands of you who decided to take fierce steps in letting your voices be heard!

Between the hundreds of letters, phone calls, and meetings with members of Congress both in your own communities and in Washington, D.C., we made significant strides in fulfilling God’s call to respond. Your willingness to be a part of the fight to eradicate global suffering has truly made an impact. It continues to touch millions of lives of marginalized children, women, and men in some of the most remote places on earth. We rejoice for all that has been accomplished and express immense gratitude for each of your partnerships in lockstep with us!

Advocates on Capitol Hill pose on the steps for a photo

 

What were some advocacy highlights in the past year?

1. Congress passed a budget for State & Foreign Operations with increases to international poverty-focused assistance in fiscal years 2019 and 2020!

This came right after the Administration’s call to reduce funding by nearly one-third of the prior years’ budgets. While these increases fell short of actual global need, we understand that even the smallest of increases is a win. In 2020, FH is continuing to advocate for more funding to critical life-saving programs. We continue to tell the stories of children who are being reached with vital nutrition interventions that allow them to not only survive, but thrive.

For instance, we share how working with and supporting rural smallholder farmers helps them to sustainably feed their families. It also provides them with the opportunity to sell their fresh goods in local markets to make an income. We speak about how educating women and girls transforms communities. Unfortunately, we also share the heartbreaking stories of those who have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to factors like disasters and violent conflict. Through advocacy, we highlight how additional funding supports the millions of refugees (and counting) who have nowhere to call home.

2. Secondly, FH endorsed and advocated for The Global Nutrition Resolution.

The Global Nutrition Resolution (H.Res.189/S.Res.260) supports accelerated progress in ending all preventable maternal and child deaths due to poor health. Congress responded favorably by fully passing the resolution out of the Senate chamber, as well as the House Foreign Affairs Committee!

3. On July 10, 2019, Food for the Hungry celebrated alongside USAID’s Office of Food for Peace.

Food for Peace is a program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). For 65 years, it has provided food assistance to over four billion people across 150 countries. We celebrated the program’s anniversary and our partnership with Food for Peace in providing emergency food assistance, long-term resilience programming, and other peace-building activities.

4. Last year, we endorsed and advocated for Congress’ support of the Keeping Girls in School Act. It worked!

In January 2020, the House unanimously passed the bill (H.R.2153/S.1071) out of the chamber. It currently awaits consideration by the Senate. FH is optimistic that this bill will eventually pass and become law. This bill would authorize the government to integrate comprehensive gender equality programming into all international education programs, set outcome-based targets, and enforce rigorous monitoring and evaluation methodologies. Overall, it aims to pinpoint and address barriers preventing girls from accessing quality secondary education.

Group of advocates meet on Capitol Hill to advocate for poverty-focused funding

Carpet of U.S. senate seal in sunlight

 

5. FH leaped into action to counter a potential permanent rescission of nearly $4 billion of international poverty-focused funding.

Targeting congressionally-approved funding from 2018 and 2019, almost $4 billion was taken away from the fight against poverty! Our swift action resulted in the White House announcing to not move forward with this proposal.

6. Lastly, FH and our partners joined forces to endorse the Global Child Thrive Act.

This bill (H.R.4864/S.2715) calls for the U.S. government to support early childhood programming through health and nutrition, early learning, cognitive stimulation, and child protection interventions. As a child-focused organization, we strongly believe that this bill puts children front and center. If children can get access to comprehensive development programming, they can thrive!

Recent Wins: COVID-19 Assistance

Just recently, Congress voted to include over $1 billion in funding to support the global coronavirus (COVID-19) response. Thank you for asking Congress to help prevent and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in impoverished communities around the world!

The stimulus bill also supports charitable organizations dedicated to helping those suffering from the pandemic. Several policies will help organizations like Food for the Hungry continue to operate. Additionally, the bill includes a $300 charitable tax deduction for those who take the standard deduction in 2020. Furthermore, the new law raises the 60% cap on annual charitable deductions to 100% of adjusted gross income for those who itemize.

Thank you again for all you do to help support our work: we couldn’t do it without you! Please let us know how we can pray more strategically for you or a loved one. Now, more than ever, we need to raise our voices on behalf of the most vulnerable. We encourage you to continue speaking love and truth: let your representatives know these issues matter to you! And pray for FH and our country’s leaders to partner together in pursuit of God’s will.

To get involved in FH’s advocacy efforts, learn more here.

 

Continue Reading:

The Poor You Will Always Have With You—What Did Jesus Mean?

On the Frontlines: Preventing Coronavirus in Cox’s Bazar

How to Explain the Importance of Handwashing