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 The table is a natural and powerful symbol of community. Whether eating meals, playing board games, or discussing the household budget, families regularly gather at the table. Often, when people find fellowship, unity, or accord, it is around a dinner table, a coffee table, a negotiating table.

Jesus gathered his closest disciples to the table for a last supper to gather strength before his fateful journey to Calvary. The communion of that event is repeated in churches throughout the world each week, inviting all to join Jesus at a shared table.

Bread for the World began around a table in the parish hall of a church on New York’s Lower East Side nearly 40 years ago. That small gathering took to heart Jesus’ message of abundance and sharing, exemplified in the story of the loaves and fishes. The mission of Art Simon, founder of Bread for the World, and like-minded Christians was bold: We can end hunger.

In that spirit, this year’s Offering of Letters asks our national leaders in both the executive and legislative branches to take a hard look around the figurative table and ensure a place for everyone—not just those blessed with wealth, power, and influence.

There is more than enough food for everyone in the world. Yet 1 in 6 Americans does not always have enough to eat. Nearly 900 million people around the world struggle with hunger on a daily basis.

Bread for the World asks why so many people go hungry when others have more than enough. Local churches and community pantries deliver food to the tables of our most vulnerable neighbors. But all those efforts combined are only the equivalent of 4 percent of federal expenditures on anti-hunger programs here in the Unites States. The federal government provides 23 times the amount of food assistance that charity delivers.