These are stories catching our eyes this week. Click the headline to read the whole story.
Three reasons why nonprofits avoid the risks of innovation, by Feed the Children President and CEO Kevin Hagan
Poverty does not appear to be waving the white flag anytime soon. While the official poverty rate in the United States recently declined for the first time in seven years, the war on destitution is far from over and feels like a losing battle for millions of Americans.
There’s a seismic shift going on in Virginia: treating parents who owe child support as more than just deadbeats.
Punishing deadbeat parents is supposed to help families — but it can have the opposite effect. In the United States, nearly one in four children are due some sort of child support. But only 62 percent of the money owed is actually paid.
The states with the highest proportion of hungry and poor people are in the South, according to a Bread for the World analysis of the latest U.S. Census data. Several states in the region account for large portions of the more than 49 million Americans who were at risk of hunger and 45 million Americans who lived in poverty last year.
A division of the Agriculture Department is making $31.5 million in funding available to help people on food stamps obtain healthier foods.
Pestilence, cyclical droughts and floods, and the West Africa Ebola crisis have pushed hunger to record levels in Gambia, where 200,000 people need urgent food assistance, the United Nations says.
Tourism is a significant source of income for the country, and even though Gambia has not seen cases of Ebola, the outbreak in the region has caused visitor numbers to plummet by 60 percent compared to last year, said Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, the U.N. representative for Gambia.
Virtually every other aid-giving country and the United Nations, which helps coordinate them, use a flexible system in which critically needed grains, oils and other commodities are purchased as close to a crisis or famine zone as possible. When appropriate, many also give cash transfers or vouchers instead of sacks of food, saving money and precious time getting aid to the young, the elderly, the sick and families in crisis.
But since 1954, Congress has mandated that Food for Peace, the flagship U.S. food aid program, primarily would buy American commodities from U.S. suppliers and transport them thousands of miles on U.S.-flagged ships, even when cheaper, faster and better alternatives exist. The journey often takes seven months, as the food moves from Midwestern fields to coastal ports, across the ocean and then by truck or even donkey to its intended recipients. By then, the food may be rotted or too late to be of much help.