Catholic charities in the US called yesterday for more to be done to help the estimated 35 million Americans who are impacted by hunger.
At the White House, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) called for the strengthening of federal nutrition programs and innovative public-private partnerships to help reduce hunger and poverty.
"Effective public policy and innovative partnerships with government support must continue to be strengthened in order to help to address the growing problem we face with hunger in this nation," said Candy Hill, senior vice president for social policy and government affairs for CCUSA, speaking at a roundtable discussion on solutions to combating hunger held by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
"No one in America should go to bed hungry," said Hill. "Yet hunger impacts 35 million people in this country, including children, the elderly, and many working adults."
Hill said the problem is getting worse, not better as more and more people are turning to Catholic Charities for help with food. In 2006 alone, local Catholic Charities agencies saw a 12 percent increase in the need for food service programs. Between 2002 and 2006, the number of clients receiving food services increased by 2.7 million, or nearly 60 percent, to 6.3 million.
For Catholic Charities USA, which launched its Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America last year, ensuring access to basic nutrition is a key element in helping to lift families out of poverty.
In her remarks, Hill pointed to several government programs that she said must be preserved and strengthened to cut rates of hunger and poverty. These included the Food Stamp Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, the Emergency Food Assistance program, and the Emergency Food and Shelter Grant Program.