Writing Letters for Our Community in Albany, NY
St. Vincent de Paul Church, a progressive urban Roman Catholic community in Albany, NY, conducted our 2012 Offering of Letters on March 3 and 4. We wrote letters opposing cuts in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), because of concerns about our parish food pantry guests, who rely upon those programs. Because of the troubled economy, the numbers served by the food pantry has risen 25 percent from 6,999 guests in 2009, to 8,739 guests in 2011.
To prepare for the Offering of Letters, we made a bulletin insert and announcements, as well as oral announcements. We also had a session about a program housed in the former parish rectory which serves young women with addiction problems who are pregnant or have young children. The program director noted that WIC and SNAP provide major support for those women
Parishioners were provided sample letters, background information, paper, pen, envelopes and stamps for letter writing after Mass using the Bread website as the primary resource. Sample letters were sent out electronically to enable parishioners to prepare their letters in advance. People were invited to sign up for updates about the Offering of Letters from Bread for the World.
We mailed out 113 letters while some people wrote their letters from home. Postage was paid for out of the proceeds from a talent auction our church held in January that raised about $2,800 for Bread for the World and our food pantry.
Dave Rowell is a member of St. Vincent de Paul parish in Albany, NY and has been its covenant church coordinator since 1985. He coordinates the annual Offering of Letters and the fundraiser to raise money for Bread for the World.
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