WASHINGTON, D.C. – A slice of toast for breakfast is something many people take for granted. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World since 1991, founded this Christian collective voice to urge nation’s leaders to end hunger both abroad and at home. Based out of Washington D.C., their motto, “What can one person do? Plenty.” demonstrates the power of change on an individual level. They are non-profit and work by writing letters and e-mails to encourage members of Congress to make nation’s laws more compassionate towards people in need.
David Beckmann, also serves as president of the Alliance to End Hunger, an organization that tries to raise the issue of world hunger between various US institutions. He not only addresses issues regarding hunger but also wants to try to stop global warming.
Having worked at the the World Bank for fifteen years and having overseen the creation of projects to push for helping make the bank more effective in reducing poverty, he has plenty of experience in dealing with large developmental projects. Under his leadership, Bread for the World has helped push many US foreign aid programs. The US has tripled funding for programs to help develop countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Holding degrees from Yale University, Christ Seminary, and the London School of Economics, gives Beckmann the ability to think about situations from many different objective lenses. He has testified in Congress 18 times, and has written many books, his latest being Exodus from Hunger: We are Called to Change the Politics of Hunger. Beckmann is a Lutheran pastor, and has lived in Bangladesh and Ghana. His exposure to starvation on a personal level has helped open his eyes to the importance of putting a stopper to World Hunger, immediately.
“To me it makes sense that compassion knows no borders,” said Beckmann during the 2003 Borlaug Dialogue. When being faced with opposition on the basis that there are children home that are starving, it is important to note that giving aid to one person does not remove the aid from another.
Bread started as a grassroots collective Christian voice, has now marshaled a quarter of a million constituent contacts a year. Today, more than 72,500 make up Bread, and more than 1 million Christians have thusly become actively engaged in its advocacy to end hunger.
David Beckmann, who hails from Nebraska, was awarded the 2010 World Food Prize with Jo Luck. Today, Bread for the World is still actively fighting for the hungry. Cuts to SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, i.e. food stamps) “Struggling U.S. families will suffer enough hardship as a result of this week’s food stamp cuts,” said Rev.Beckmann,. “We must urge Congress to protect life-saving anti-hunger programs and not balance the budget on the backs of hungry people who cannot afford additional hardship.”
Although last year alone more than 66 million people received succor in the form of international food aid programs, Beckmann insists that the food aid programs could be more efficient, and that malnutrition could be stopped. If the cutting of SNAP goes through, in light of high unemployment, programs such as Meals on Wheels will be affected. Bread for the World urges that Congress protect food stamps and improve international food aid in the Farm Bill.
Beckmann ascertains that while the desire for change is certainly motivation for many people, implementing aid only in the form of direct donations does not have nearly the same impact as political activism. Pushing Congress to make changes allows for the creation of large-scale changes, more likely to produce long term effects.
Bread for the World’s encouragement led to the U.S. legislative coalition of the Jubilee movement to reduce the debts of low-income countries. The organization has helped increase assistance for hungry people in the United States to a number that now exceeds $50 billion a year.
– Chloe Nevitt