United Hunger Fast in Response to Proposed U.S. Budget Cuts

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Beginning on March 28, 2011, former Congressman and head of the Alliance to End Hunger Tony P. Hall called on social and religious leaders to join together in a united hunger fast in response to proposed budget cuts by U.S. Congress. The cuts will significantly reduce aid to the hungry and impoverished both in America and abroad; sacrifices that Mr. Hall and his coalition find unacceptable. The fast is the second to be launched by Mr. Hall in protection of programs that benefit people suffering from chronic hunger.

In 1993, Mr. Hall fasted for 22 days in response to budget cuts that would have had a devastating impact on poor people. Now, he’s fasting again.  “…The stakes are even higher, with Congress proposing budget cuts that will hurt vulnerable people even more than the cuts provoking me to fasting and prayer two decades ago.”

This time, Mr. Hall hopes to achieve his three main goals:

1. Reminding people about the status of vulnerable people around the world.

  • In the United States, over 45 million people live in poverty and nearly 2.1 billion people worldwide live on less than $2 a day.

2. Focusing public attention on the devastating effects that Congress’ proposed cuts would have on vulnerable people.

  • “Congress’ proposed cuts — including a 30% cut to development assistance, 14% reductions to child survival programs, 8% cuts in HIV/AIDS treatments and 40% cuts to the Global Fund — put the lives of millions of children at risk, will harm seniors and people with disabilities, and unnecessarily plunge tens of millions around the world deeper into an already desperate struggle with severe malnutrition and hunger. Bottom line: these cuts are an offense to conscience.”

3. Forming a CIRCLE OF PROTECTION around programs benefitting the most vulnerable people here in the United States and around the world.

  • “This is not a one person effort. ” This means participation!

In addition to The Hunger Project and dozens of humanitarian organizations who have pledged their support, notable social leaders joining the in the fast include: Jim Wallis, President and CEO of Sojourners; Reverend David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World; Ruth Messinger, President of American Jweish World Service; Ritu Sharma, Co-Founder and President of Women Thrive Worldwide; Abed Ayub, CEO of Islamic Relief USA; and Pierre Ferrari, CEO of Heifer Project International.

These leaders have “challenged people of faith and conscience to join them, pledging to put pressure on Congress to form a ‘circle of protection’ around programs benefitting poor and hungry people.”

Mr. Hall’s 1993 fast gained the support of thousands of universities, organizations, religious institutions and individuals; a number we hope to duplicate and possibly surpass this time around. Supporters are encouraged to “join the circle” in one of three ways: pray, fast, or pledge to live on less than $2 a day.