Although this book serves as a general introduction to world hunger, it emphasizes primarily the neglected role of public policy. Millions suddenly want to do something about world hunger. Few bother with public policy. Yet government policies may multiply or nullify a hundredfold all private efforts to assist hungry people. Ordinary persons can help to shape those policies. That is the thesis of this book. Because Christians have a special invitation to care about hungry people, the book is addressed primarily to them, but it is intended also for others.
The United States has steadily retreated from policies that would help hungry people. Much misunderstanding about hunger and its causes -- and about what this country is doing -- lies behind our retreat. A better understanding would go a long way toward helping the nation reach out to others in a manner worthy of its founding ideals.
Basic elements of a global plan to reduce hunger emerged at the World Food Conference in November 1974. The Conference named increased food production among the rural poor in Asia, Africa and Latin America as the primary strategy. How will that happen? This "simple" step requires that most nations, especially our own, put it high on their agendas when policies are developed and legislation is hammered out. To date neither Congress nor the Administration seems especially interested. But if alert voters in each congressional district began to insist, our leaders would soon respond.
I try to present this point of view without dwelling at length on aspects of hunger that are covered well in other books. A few of these, along with other resources, are listed in Chapter 14.
This book spells out some of the main themes that concern Bread for the World, a new Christian citizens' movement from which the book's title is taken. Although I wrote at the request