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Our Nation Can Lead the World to Feed the Hungry in the 2012 Farm Bill02 Jul

by Rev. Patrick Delahanty

Hunger is the most cruel and concrete sign of poverty. Opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions. …Acknowledgment of the transcendental worth of every man and every woman is still the first step towards the conversion of heart that underpins the commitment to eradicate deprivation, hunger and poverty in all their forms.

- Address of Benedict XVI to the World Summit on Food Security, Nov. 16, 2009

When believers think about agriculture, we begin with the story of the Creation. “God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good” (Gn 1:31). Those who provide our food are called to continue God’s plan for creation.

– Catholic Reflections on Food, Farmers, and Farmworkers, USCCB, 2002

Child Forced into Marriage

 Contact your Representative today to make sure that the 2012 Farm Bill feeds the hungry, preserves God’s creation, and supports small family farmers and rural America.

In mid-July the House of Representatives will take up the 2012 Farm Bill which has already passed the Senate. This complicated piece of legislation impacts the lives of hungry people at home and those of our brothers and sisters around the world. Your Kentucky Representative will have a say in how our nation’s agriculture policies impact “the least of these.”

I have had the opportunity to experience how important this bill is in meeting the needs of hungry people. Immediate family members, without employment, have used food stamps to supplement their diet and I have seen programs administered by Catholic Relief Services where the gift of food from our government or seeds to grow food sustain and nourish impoverished families.

Pigs at the Shelter for Forced Brides

In Burkina-Faso last September, I, and others, visited a shelter for young women forced into marriage in their villages. We listened as the youngest, only 14, described her ordeal and escape to this welcoming refuge. Girls may spend up to five years here. While here they help support the shelter through their weaving and farming.  They also study agriculture so they can support themselves when they are able to return to their villages safely.

Catholic Relief Services helped provide pens where they raise pigs to supplement their food supply. Still, when asked what they needed most, they responded, “Nutritious food.”

The 2012 Farm Bill is important to our brothers and sisters in the U.S. and in other parts of our world. Join the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,  Catholic Relief Services and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference in urging Kentucky’s members of the House of Representatives to OPPOSE the deep cuts to nutrition and conservation programs that will be recommended.

For more information visit the Catholics Confront Global Poverty website.

Contact your Representative today to make sure that the 2012 Farm Bill feeds the hungry, preserves God’s creation, and supports small family farmers and rural America.

Photos courtesy Pat Delahanty

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