Bread for the World, a Christian organization dedicated to ending world hunger, is calling on Congress to reform U.S. foreign assistance to developing countries, including Haiti and Liberia.

The group recently launched the 2011 Offering of Letters campaign, which encourages parishioners to submit letters to congressional members in support of legislation for the hungry and poor instead of contributing money in special church offerings for that purpose.

Organization officials say the group has collected hundreds of thousands of letters to Congress from various U.S. churches in the past through similar initiatives.

“Hunger and poverty are not partisan issues, and we will push members of Congress to work together to ensure that the needs of hungry and poor people are met,” Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, said in a statement.

It is imperative residents of developing countries see more designated foreign aid because the “main driver of poverty reduction in the world is the hard work of poor people themselves,” he said. “Given the opportunity to improve their communities and provide a better life for their children, they will seize it.”

Bread for the World said the global recession and food price crisis that began in 2007 deepened world hunger. About 1.5 billion people are in extreme poverty and live on less than $1.25 a day, according to the Bread for the World Web site.

The U.S. government can do more, they said, noting that poverty-focused development assistance accounted for only 0.6 percent of the U.S. budget in fiscal year 2010.

Bishop Don Dixon Williams, the racial/ethnic outreach associate at Bread for the World said hunger and poverty won’t be obliterated easily, but more “effective U.S. assistance will make a big difference as Haitians and Liberians—and people in many other developing countries—increase their capacity and infrastructure so they can become self-sufficient and build a better future for themselves.”

Bread for the World is an advocate for a stronger legislative focus on poverty reduction, more accountability for how aid dollars are spent.