The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Bill Malone 202-464-8180
Shawnda Hines 301-960-4913

Bread for the World Decries Lack of Attention To Hungry and Poor People in Presidential Debates


Bread for the World president David Beckmann today expressed disappointment that hungry and poor people were all but ignored in the recently-concluded series of presidential debates.

"Across three debates, the presidential candidates did not address hunger and poverty or give specifics as to how they plan to help hungry and poor people, who are most badly hit by the current economic crisis," said Rev. Beckmann.

He said that one of the most serious aspects of the economic crisis is what it is doing - and what it will do - to hungry and poor people in the U.S. country and around the world.

In the U.S., rising unemployment, gas prices, increased food prices, and the credit squeeze have hit poor people the hardest. The number of people receiving food stamps is reaching record levels, in excess of 28 million. The number of families coming to churches and food banks to get help as they try to feed their children has increased by 20 percent.

The impact is even more severe in many developing countries, partly because people are much poorer to start with. Also, poor people in developing countries typically spend two-thirds of their entire income on a basic staple - rice, wheat, corn, or sorghum. The prices of these basic grains have roughly doubled in the last two years.

A recent poll by the Alliance the End Hunger indicates that the high cost of food ranks equally with Iraq as an issue voters want their candidates to address. Seven out of ten voters polled say that the government is spending too little to reduce hunger in the U.S.

"Throughout the rest of the election campaign period, we hope that hunger and poverty will not continue to be shoved aside," said Rev. Beckmann. "We hope that presidential and senatorial candidates will address this issue directly."

Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. By changing policies, programs and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist, we provide help and opportunity far beyond the communities in which we live.