Asking presidential candidates strong questions about poverty

By February 22, 2016

USA (MNN/FH) — Born as a response to concern over congressional budget cuts in both domestic and international poverty programs, the Circle of Protection has grown to become the unified voice of the poor, with more than 100 leaders across all major branches of Christianity participating. Lucas Koach of Food for the Hungry says the name of the group is more than mere words: it’s a commitment to the vulnerable.

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(Food for the Hungry)

“These folks don’t have lobbyists, they’re certainly not a special interest group. But they’re a vast swath of our globe. Over 48 million U.S. citizens are considered food insecure at some point throughout the year; internationally, there are over 795 million.”

Lucas says the organization figuratively–and at times literally–becomes a circle of protection around programs that meet the essential needs of the poor and hungry around the world. Food for the Hungry joined the organization to support its efforts as part of the ministry’s focus on providing for the food security needs of over 7 million people in the most fragile regions of the world. According to Lucas, “We needed to not only build on excellent programming, but we needed to add our voice to global and certainly domestic public policy and advocacy.”

As part of the Circle of Protection, Food for the Hungry has a downloadable guide available on their website. The guide offers 10 ways to effectively serve both national and local leadership through prayer.

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(Food for the Hungry)

The Circle of Protection has also sent an open letter about poverty issues to every 2016 presidential candidate. The goal of the letter was to first pray for each candidate, and then to invite them to share their thoughts and opinions with the general public. A number of those responses are now available to view at

“We’re pleased to say we have 11 of the declared candidates thus far to come on the record with short, 3-minute videos expressing how they would address issues of poverty, both domestically and internationally,”

When asked what critical questions each citizen should be asking candidates as they prepare to vote in the next presidential election, Lucas shares two:

  • How does the candidate advocate for the reduction of poverty domestically and globally, from their unique political perspective? How do they see poverty reduction rolling out?
  • How does the candidate see U.S. foreign assistance as a means to address extreme poverty globally while engaging and expanding in emerging global markets? “When polled, most U.S. citizens believe that America gives approximately 26% of its budget dollars toward global assistance programs. Those polled believe that number should be around 10%. The reality is that only ½ of 1% of all U.S. budget dollars go to foreign assistance. There is a large gap between perception and reality. Very few dollars go a very long way.”

Lucas encourages more ministry leaders to join the Circle of Protection. And he says everyone can take stay informed and get involved by visiting

Download your free prayer guide from Food for the Hungry here, and learn more about what Food for the Hungry is doing in Ethiopia and around the world here.


One Comment

  • Dean says:

    The government is not the answer to poverty. Poverty in this country is caused primarily by fatherlessness. The fatherlessness is actually enabled by the welfare programs which provide WIC, and such. The problem is complicated, but increasing government programs will not solve the problem. Government programs to a large degree enable people to choose immoral lifestyles, as well as avoiding meaningful work. Government programs grow an idolatry of the state and enable people to live immorally (sexually and/or socially), as the consequences of immoral decisions are not felt economically by those who chose them. The spirit of poverty must be broken by the love of Christians acting as the Church of Jesus Christ.

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