In advance of his inauguration as the 45th president of the United States, Bread for the World has sent a letter to President-elect Donald J. Trump urging him to take six meaningful steps during his first year in office that will cut hunger in half in the U.S. and around the world.
“With economic growth and focused effort, you can cut hunger in half in the U.S. and worldwide within the next eight years,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World in his letter. “You have made bold promises of prosperity for struggling communities across the country, and you recognize the link between global security and world hunger. Cutting hunger in half within eight years is possible, and we can imagine you setting the goal and making it happen.”
The letter outlines the six steps Trump can take to cut hunger in half:
- Job creation and his infrastructure initiative, with a particular emphasis in communities that have high levels of persistent or concentrated poverty. A good job is the best way out of hunger and poverty, and improving the nation’s infrastructure is critical to staying competitive. The cost of concentrated poverty is high – in terms of violence, policing and safety, poor nutrition and health, low productivity, and despair.
- Health care. Congress should put an improved system in place at the same time as they repeal Obamacare – not put tens of millions of people at risk of losing their access to health care. Health and hunger are interconnected. Widespread hunger in America contributes to poor health and a staggering $160 billion a year in health-care costs. Before the Affordable Care Act, 1 out of 3 people with chronic medical conditions had to choose between treatment and food for their families.
- Immigration. Violence, hunger, and poverty push people from their homelands to the U.S. Addressing the push factors that cause people to uproot themselves and risk their lives will reduce immigration. The economy and morality of this nation are tied to our treatment of immigrants. A great America welcomes immigrants.
- Global development. World hunger is a threat to global security. In his first year in office, Trump can strengthen the U.S. government’s response to states on the brink of disaster. Investing in self-help development and humanitarian approaches could make the world and the U.S. a safer place.
- Criminal justice reform. With more than two million people incarcerated in our country, at an estimated total cost of $45 billion, support for criminal justice reform has grown in both political parties. The reduction of mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders would save millions of dollars, and those dollars could fund safety-net programs for people who are transitioning from prison into jobs. This would lower the risk of their return to crime in order to eat or pay for a place to stay.
- Global nutrition. Malnutrition permanently stunts the bodies and limits the future of one-fourth of the children in developing countries. Recent knowledge gives us inexpensive ways of reducing malnutrition. Every dollar invested in nutrition for mothers and children yields a return of $16 – and getting nutrition to hungry babies is sacred work.
“Our country is hobbled by sharp divisions. Racism, demonizing immigrants, and promoting deep divisions in society are contrary to God’s love and contribute to the persistence of hunger and poverty. So we look to you, as president, to live up to our nation’s ideals of inclusion and to foster respect for all people,” continued Beckmann.
Bread for the World (www.bread.org) is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.