Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Texas Border hunger a political football

From My
According to J.B. Roberts, there is politics and there is reality. For Roberts, the founder of the humanitarian aid organization Hunger Plus, one of the realities is that while politicians play politics, people on the Texas/Mexico border are going hungry.

He also was clear about a second reality that has prompted the organization to send large amounts of food and other humanitarian supplies to the region over the past couple of years: Those people aren't going to continue to go hungry on his watch.

The dire situation that exists along the border largely is the result of ongoing violence in Mexico that is driving refugees across the border. According to social workers in the region, those refugees are overwhelming the ability of the border communities to provide aid.

"The tragedy of this situation is that the Mexican government and the American government won't do anything about it," Roberts said. "It's become a political football."According to Daniel Rangel, director of River Ministry/Mexico Missions with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, communities on both sides of the border are becoming increasingly isolated.

Traditionally, he pointed out, Baptist churches across the state send summer mission teams to the region to help with everything from construction to outreach. However, he continued, because of the fear of violence there has been about an 80 percent drop in mission teams that cross the border and a 60 percent drop in those going to the communities on the U.S. side. Further, the teams that are going are adults, not youth, he added. Parents, in particular, simply don't want to send their teenagers into such a threatening environment.

"I understand," he said, "but the need still is there."

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