Big & Rich

Big Kenny Alphin Visits DC to Advocate for the Hungry

As part of the Faith-based Coalition for Global Nutrition, Big Kenny Alphin of the country super duo “Big & Rich” will join faith and community leaders from across the nation in Washington, D.C., on June 20.  Their goal is to encourage members of Congress to strengthen nutrition funding in the global health account for the world’s most vulnerable populations when planning the fiscal year 2020 funding bill for State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPs). Other members of the delegation include Matthew Myer Boulton, former president of Christian Theological Seminary and founder of SALT in Manchester, N.H.; Doug Severn, senior pastor of City Pres Church in Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Rita Wray, founder of Wray Enterprises and a community organizer from Jackson, Miss.

Big Kenny states, “I’m grateful that you may know my voice for singing songs and I’m even more grateful to use it to speak on behalf of our fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition.  I’m looking forward to joining other coalition members for these visits with leadership in D.C., and excited that we can all make a difference for the hungry.  Can I get an Amen-a?!” 

The group represents a diverse coalition, led by The 2030 Collaborative founder Jenny Eaton Dyer, Ph.D., of more than 250 authors, artists, pastors and non-profit leaders who have sent a letter to Congress petitioning for robust funding for nutrition. “We ask for your continued commitment to protect and strengthen critical funding for nutrition programs in the Senate’s FY 2020 State Foreign Operations (SFOPS) appropriations bill,” write the Coalition members, informing Congressional leaders that for the third year in a row, there has been a rise in world hunger. The number of undernourished people facing chronic food deprivation has increased by more than 16 million from 2016 to 2017.

“We care deeply about the health of vulnerable populations worldwide, and we know that American leadership is needed now more than ever as we face an unprecedented global challenge of four potential famines, and more than 65 million displaced persons worldwide.” 

The Coalition also wants to express its gratitude to members of Congress who voted for a $20 million increase to the Nutrition sub-account within the Global Health Program of USAID for FY19. “More than 22 million children under the age of 5 were reached by USAID nutrition interventions in 2017 alone, and last year’s increase will result in more than 200,000 more acutely malnourished children being reached this year,” the letter states.

Dyer adds, “It’s important for Congressional members to know that their faith-based constituents care deeply about hunger, nutrition, and food security issues worldwide. Moreover, this relatively tiny account of funding—in relation to the budget—will go to save the lives of millions of mothers and children. Nutrition is the bedrock of combatting disease and poverty in the developing world.”

As a faith-based entity, the Coalition draws its inspiration from the Scriptures, recognizing that life is precious to God, and encouraging individuals to follow Jesus’ example in caring for people who are vulnerable in our world. “As Christian leaders, we call on others to join our effort to champion life-saving measures to ‘feed the hungry’ as Jesus calls us to do in Matthew 25,” Coalition members state.

They will be visiting offices on the Hill on June 20, specifically reaching out to Senators Alexander, Hyde-Smith, Lankford, Shaheen, and Young. 

The campaign is led by The 2030 Collaborative and supported by the Eleanor Crook Foundation, and its mission is to build a network of advocates to speak out about the complexities and challenges of malnutrition that affects one in three people around the world every day.

In addition to sending letters and making personal visits to Washington, D.C., Coalition members educate their followers on key global health issues and encourage those within their circles of influence to petition Congress on these issue and speak up on behalf of those in need around the world. 

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