From the Center for American Progress:
Faith communities across the nation held a week of action on poverty this September, calling upon political candidates and leaders to address the issue during their first 100 days in office and to pledge their efforts to cut poverty in half within 10 years. The "Fighting Poverty with Faith" action campaign brought together a coalition of nearly 100 religious communities in 36 states to draw attention to America's poor and create a mandate to reduce poverty in a significant way.
The interfaith coalition hosted local summits and social justice workshops, mobilized food and clothing drives, organized sermons, and more. The week ended with an interfaith prayer vigil in Washington and a call to action, urging members of Congress and the administration to pass legislation that will end poverty and hunger in America.
The problem is stark. Over 37 million Americans live below the official poverty line, constituting a population larger than the 25 smallest states combined. As a result, the state of poverty is now the largest state in the union. One in eight Americans is poor. One child in six is poor. And the numbers are growing. From 2000 to 2007, the number of children living in poverty increased by 15 percent. The income gap is growing as well. In 2007, the richest 20 percent of Americans had over 50 percent of the nation's income, while the poorest 20 percent had only 3.4 percent.