Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

5 posts from November 2006

DC Frustrations

I'm originally from the Midwest - St. Louis to be exact (home of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals)!  I'm quite proud of my Midwest heritage and values. Things like saying hello to people you pass when you're out running; or saying excuse me when you bump into someone - what I would sum up as simply being considerate of your fellow human beings.  DC I often find is the total opposite of these values.  I ride the metro subway system every day and people are so rude, inconsiderate and self-focused.  For example, last night I was on a pretty crowded train.  We pulled up to a stop where usually half the train gets out.  Despite this fact, a woman screamed out, "Get me off this train!" and just ploughed people over to get out even though the majority of us were all exiting.  Now the Midwestern side of me wonders if maybe she was really claustrophobic and lost clarity and really needed to get out.  But I've lived in DC long enough now to doubt that idea.  To make matters worse, as the rest of us were trying to exit the train after getting ploughed over by the woman, another man on our train yelled at the people on the platform waiting to get on our train.  (Usually people crowd in near the doors and leave a small aisle of space for people getting off the train.  It's not a great system, but at least they don't totally block the doors.)  This man just kept yelling as he walked by them, "Get out of the way, so we can get out!"  I understand his frustration, but to be totally judgmental, I would bet you that he is also one that crowds in near the metro doors when he needs to get on a train.  Yes, that's very judgmental (and non Midwestern) of me.  It just drives me nuts how rude people are.

I think I'm more sensitive to the rudeness of this city after I've been home for a visit (which I was over Thanksgiving).  When my plane landed in St. Louis (home of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals) an older (not old) gentleman stood up in the aisle to get his items from the overhead bin.  He then proceeded to pull the coat and bag of the stranger sitting by him and hand them to him.  It was so nice!  It's not that you never see those acts of kindness in DC, but it's a lot rarer.

Continue reading "DC Frustrations" »

Multiplying Letters Like Loaves and Fishes

Letter_3 Just before Thanksgiving, I had the amazing opportunity to give a presentation on Bread for the World and the ONE Campaign and the importance of letter-writing and advocacy at the first BFW/ONE event held at the UT Episcopal Student Center and The University of Texas, Austin (Hook 'em Horns).

However, this inaugural gathering was no introductory awareness-raising foot-in-the-door type meeting - it was a full-blown Letter Writing Party!  U2 music was playing, pizza was served, and eighteen students wrote a total of 50 (fifty!) letters in an hour and a half on a Thursday evening!

The students and their campus pastor wrote letters to their senators, their representatives, and several of them even wrote letters to friends and relatives with BFW/ONE materials, urging them to also take action!  The timing couldn't have been better either, with the push for the President's request for poverty focused development assistance (detailed in the post below) going full steam ahead now (and with Sen. Hutchison (R-TX) on the Appropriations Committee).

Truth be told, it took a few meetings with students and the campus pastor in the preceding months, as well as a powerful "U2charist" a few days prior, before this event came to pass - but I wanted to share UT Episcopal's successes partly out of my own excitement and to pat them on the back, as well as in encouragement that it doesn't take much (or many people) to be a prophetic, advocating voice for the world's poor and hungry people.  Remember, 8-15 handwritten letters is all it takes for your congressmember to take serious notice on an issueMajor props to UT Episcopal!

"Young people say what good can one person do?  What is the sense of our small effort?  They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time.  We can be responsible only for the one action of the present moment.  But we can beg for an increase of love in our hearts that will vitalize and transform all our individual actions and know that God will take them and multiply them, as Jesus multiplied loaves and fishes."

Dorothy Day

P.S. If you're on Facebook - join the Bread for the World group!

Call your Members of Congress

Be Part of Bread for the World's Two-for-ONE-Spirit Strategy!

Nervous about making a call - check out this short YouTube video to see how quick and easy it is!

Action 1. Call your senator or representative at 1-800-826-3688 during the week of November 13-17, and urge him/her to make sure poverty-focused development assistance is increased by at least the $2 billion amount requested by President Bush.  This special, toll-free number will connect you to the Capitol switchboard, where you will ask to be transferred to your senator's or representative’s office. 

Action 2 Follow up with a handwritten note to your senator or representative (addresses below) to reinforce your request. Remember, it takes several weeks for mail to be delivered to congressional offices. A message written the same day as your phone call will arrive 2-3 weeks later and remind the member of Congress of your message.

Click here for more information on background.


Remember to vote today.  Harvard Univerisity's Institute for Politics recently released a study about 18-24 year olds and voting, predicting that this election will have the highest rate of turnout yet for young voters.  The Christian Science Moniter wrote a commentary about this data and young voters.  Vote and then read the commentary!!

Map Fun

See how many of these countries –those so often in the news today - you can place on the map.  It was a little humbling for me.


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