Mennonite pastors join other faith leaders to advocate for foreign assistance

On April 30 and May 1, pastors Ry Siggelkow of Faith Mennonite Church in Minneapolis and Gordon Smith of Mennonite Community Church in Fresno, Calif. came to Washington, D.C. They joined other faith leaders in an annual event to advocate for increased foreign assistance, including poverty-focused development and emergency relief.

Natural disasters such as cyclones and drought, as well as violence and poverty, have caused an unprecedented number of people to lose their livelihoods and be forcefully displaced from their homes. In recent months, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique have been ravaged by the floods of cyclones and an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is having catastrophic effects. The northeastern part of Nigeria faces a humanitarian crisis, while famine continues in Yemen and South Sudan.

In March, President Trump proposed a 23 percent cut to humanitarian and development programs in his budget request for Fiscal Year 2020, while increasing the military budget by $33 billion. The international affairs budget makes up less than 1 percent of the federal budget.

In this context, Siggelkow and Smith met with their public officials to encourage them to support robust funding for poverty-focused development assistance. As Congress begins its appropriations process, take action and read more.

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