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Hoping "Trump Effect" Doesn't Divide Those Fighting to End Hunger

There are concerns in the hunger-fighting community that a "divisive" Trump presidency could derail some of its progress. (The Outreach Program)
There are concerns in the hunger-fighting community that a "divisive" Trump presidency could derail some of its progress. (The Outreach Program)
November 14, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine — The number of hungry people in New England has declined in recent years, but their local advocates are concerned about the direction President-elect Donald Trump could take the country on this issue.

Matthew Martin is a former pastor who has devoted the last five years to fighting hunger, and is now regional manager for the Outreach Program that feeds the hungry in New England. He said he's concerned that, if Trump runs his administration in the same divisive way he ran his campaign, it will damage the diverse community working on hunger relief.

"Divisiveness doesn't help,” Martin said. “So my biggest fear isn't so much just about policy that might be enacted, but that all the very diverse groups that we've worked with continue to work together to make this solution possible."

Martin said they're making progress - the number of hungry people in New England has dropped from 200,000 to 180,000 over the past five years.

The Reverend David Beckmann, longtime president of Bread for the World, said the issue is bigger than the job creation that Trump has promised for America. Beckmann said he hopes when Congress reconvenes next month, it also makes some changes in the criminal justice system.

"There's strong bipartisan support for sentencing reform. That would be good for the reduction of hunger and poverty in our country,” Beckmann said. "It doesn't cost any money - in fact, it saves taxpayer dollars and also reduces the disruption of mass incarceration among communities of color in our country."

Beckmann voiced concerns that Trump's immigration plans could enhance the hunger problem. Trump has said Americans are losing jobs to people who are in the U.S. illegally, and that immigration and border security will be among his top priorities when he takes office in January.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME