Saturday, October 17, 2015

FRAC Unveils Plan of Action to End Hunger in America

The 2016 election debate has already begun. It will help frame the issues that the next President and Congress, as well as state and local officials, will address. Hunger — its causes, its impact, and its solutions — must be part of the debate and agenda for all parties and all candidates. Polling shows Democrats, Independents, Republicans, men, women, and voters from all parts of the country think that hunger is a serious problem in this country, and the government needs to invest and lead more to address it. This commitment of American voters must become part of the election discussion, and every candidate at every level of government should be asked to issue a plan to address hunger.  -Food Reasearch and Action Center
The effort to shine the spotlight on hunger during the 2016 presidential campaign is under way on many fronts. Vote to End Hunger, an effort led by six anti-hunger organizations--The Alliance to End Hunger, Bread for the World, Feeding America, Meals on Wheels America, No Kid Hungry-Share Our Strength, and RESULTS--officially launched its campaign this past week.  This campaign focuses on the target of ending hunger in our country and globally by 2030.

A second effort, led by the Circle of Protection, Sojourners and Bread for the World, asked the presidential candidates to produce a video answering the question, “What would you do as president to offer help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world?” As of Oct. 17, nine candidates (six Republicans and three Democrats) had submitted videos

Eight-Point Plan
Another prominent anti-hunger organization, the Food Research and Action Center, has put together a blueprint to end hunger in the United States by 2030. The Plan of Action to End Hunger in America, suggests the timing is right to make an all-out effort to eliminate hunger in our country.  Earlier efforts, including President Barack Obama's campaign pledge in 2008 to tackle hunger in America, were hampered by a major downturn in the U.S. economy.

"When Mr. Obama became President, he inherited an economy suffering the most drastic downturn in three-quarters of a century. Giant banks and businesses teetered on the brink. Unemployment leapt up and wages fell. Hunger and poverty both rose rapidly. In 2007, 36 million Americans lived in food insecure households. In 2009, that number was 50 million."

"Now, seven years after Mr. Obama made his anti-hunger pledge, the economy is in considerably better shape, though far from fully recovered. While hunger in this rich nation is unacceptable, even in the worst of times, the recovery changes the dynamic, making American hunger both more unacceptable and more solvable," said the FRAC report.

The Plan of Action to End Hunger in America, offers eight essential strategies for decisively attacking hunger.
  1. Create jobs, raise wages, increase opportunity, and share prosperity;
  2. Improve government income-support programs for struggling families;
  3. Strengthen SNAP;
  4. Strengthen Child Nutrition Programs;
  5. Target supports to especially vulnerable populations;
  6. Work with states, localities, and nonprofits to expand and improve participation in federal nutrition programs;
  7. Make sure all families have convenient access to reasonably priced, healthy food;
  8. Build political will.
The eighth point is very important, and the discussion can begin in the context of the Presidential, US Congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial campaigns.Vote to End Hunger and FRAC's campaign are important tools to discuss federal initiatives, particularly in light of the U.S. presidential and congressional elections. The issue is also important in state legislative and gubernatorial campaigns and elections for city council or county commission. So, go to town halls and candidate forums, write letters to the editor and organize discussion groups in your church or community group.  It's all important work.

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