National Lutheran News

Anti-hunger executive says his group is making progress

James MacDonald

James MacDonald

James McDonald points to gains from Bread for the World’s efforts

The efforts endorsed by the non-profit citizens anti-hunger lobbying group Bread for the World (BFW) are having an effect on the nation’s policymakers. That’s the view of BFW’s Vice President for Policy and Programs, James McDonald. The Washington, D.C.-based group’s spokesman was in the Twin Cities February 2. In an interview with the editor of Metro Lutheran, McDonald said BFW has changed the minds of policymakers in significant ways.

“One great success we’ve experienced is development assistance to countries with limited resources. BFW was instrumental in getting that started.”

McDonald also pointed to the “Child Survival Ac-count” which Congress established with BFW encouragement. The account is now funded at the $1.75 billion level and provides child re-hydration therapy and vaccinations.
Hunger, McDonald said, is a solvable problem. “If we focused our resources — a few pennies a day per citizen — we could cut the problem in half.”

McDonald voiced concern that a number of na-tions are at risk for starvation. “We have many places where survival is tenuous. One tip of the scales and people will move from being ‘food insecure’ into famine.”

He named two regions where starvation is a reality — Korea and southern Africa. He also saw a risk of starvation in Afghanistan and warned, “Central Amer-ica is currently hit hard by extreme weather cycles [which bode ill for food sustainability].”

Asked about the effectiveness of the now-familiar BFW strategy of collecting an annual “offering of letters” directed to national elected officials, McDonald was positive. He said, “About 200,000 letters are now generated each year. Members of Congress say they make a difference, be-cause they focus the attention of lawmakers.” It makes a difference, he said, if the letters are hand written.

For more information about Bread for the World, call the regional organizer, Tammy Walhof, 612/871-9084 or e-mail to breadmn @igc.org.