A District-based organization that advocates for the eradication of worldwide hunger recently extended its appeals to include assistance from the Black press. In doing so, officials for the nonprofit Bread for the World (BFW) discussed new data on poverty among African Americans during a roundtable at the National Press Club.
“We wanted the Black press to work with Bread for the World to get that knowledge out there,” said the Rev. Derrick Boykin, northeast regional organizer for the District-based nonprofit organization. “We also want to use the news media to call people to action in terms of supporting specific legislation that will attempt to address the vital issue of hunger among African Americans.”
Since the recession began nearly three years ago, poverty has nearly doubled among African Americans and BFW currently has two pieces of legislation in Congress to combat the issue, including the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill.
Boykin said the nutrition legislation will feed thousands of low-income Black children if passed, but added that the House’s bill includes a significantly higher amount of funding than the Senate’s version.
Census Bureau figures on the number of Blacks who go hungry in the District are expected to be released later this week. But according to the Food Research Action Center in D.C., which works to counter hunger in the nation’s capital, one in eight households struggles with the issue. The organization also reports that the city ranks 18th out of 51 states in terms of the number of households facing food insecurity.
In addition, data released Sept. 16 by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that more than 43 million Americans now live in poverty and that many are African Americans, for whom the poverty rate last year reached 25.8 percent. At this time, Blacks account for 22.6 percent of the 40 million Americans who receive food stamps.
“It’s troubling that in one of the world’s wealthiest nations, one in four African Americans struggle to provide for their families,” said Bishop Don Williams of BFW’s World Church Relations department. “The vast disproportion in poverty rates between African Americans and Whites suggests that we must urge our nation’s leaders to do more to end poverty and hunger.”
Referencing BFW’s second bill before the Congress, Boykin said that while many people are familiar with the tax credits for higher-income people, little mention has been made regarding tax credits for low-income workers, such as the Child Tax Credit. “Which is specifically for low income workers and which gives them a major boost,” Boykin said, adding that once families acquire the tax credit many use it to catch up on back debts or see it as an opportunity to do things that are important for them and their families.
“Some use the money for buying books for school or doing whatever it takes to get going that particular extra boost in cash is essential,” he continued. “Those are two pieces of legislation for which we are asking people to reach out to members of Congress about as soon as possible.”