“In a land of plenty, it is unacceptable that so many of our children go hungry,” said Bishop Don DiXon Williams, associate for racial-ethnic outreach at Bread for the World. “With figures this alarming, we must ask ourselves why people of color tend to suffer more than others. And we must tell lawmakers to take actions that do not hold hungry black and brown children responsible for the nation’s financial gaps.”
In Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, African-American child poverty rates are double the overall child poverty rates. In Iowa, the poverty rate for African-American children is more than triple the overall child poverty rate.
Currently, federal programs like Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) are keeping millions of African American families and children fed. In 2011 nearly 4 million African American families received SNAP benefits, which helped keep food insecurity rates near the 2008 level. However, these programs and others face widespread, devastating cuts as lawmakers focus on reducing the federal deficit.
On March 1, Bread for the World will launch its 2013 Offering of Letters campaign, “A Place at the Table,” to raise awareness about persistent hunger in the United States and around the world—and to urge policy makers to find budget solutions without cutting essential programs. The Offering of Letters campaign will correspond with the debut of a major documentary film by Participant Media, also titled A Place at the Table.
Both the campaign and the film highlight the tireless work of churches and charities to end hunger. But they also emphasize that federal nutrition programs are crucial to hungry people—since the combined assistance of churches and charities across the country amounts to only 4 percent of what the federal government provides.
“We hope this year’s Offering of Letters campaign will inspire people around the country to tell their lawmakers to protect programs that keep African-American children—and Americans at large—from going hungry,” added Williams. “We are also asking people to urge President Obama and Congress to set a goal and work together on a plan to end hunger completely.”
To view the full analysis of “Hunger and Poverty Among African-American Children,” please visit www.bread.org.