Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Twin Cities Bread Team Meets With Elected Officials

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The Twin Cities Bread team meets with Rep. Erik Paulsen last month. Pictured: (front row, l to r) Audrey Johnson, Ed Payne, Brad Pepin; (back row, l to r): Gerry Peterson, Dick Johnson, Rep. Paulsen, Judy Waeschle, Carol Dubay, Lois Troemel. (Photo courtesy of Twin Cities Bread team)

By Robin Stephenson

It is critical for lawmakers to hear from their constituents as we head into a lame duck session, during which members of Congress will make choices about programs for hungry and poor people. Bread teams know that a personal visit is the most influential type of contact with a member of Congress, so our activists across the nation have been setting up local meetings.

In Minneapolis, the Twin Cities' Metro Area Team used the fall recess as an opportunity for in-district meetings with Rep. Erik Paulsen and Rep. Betty McCollum. In a recap of their meeting with Rep. Eric Paulsen’s office, the team outlined its approach:

“Our district coordinator, Carol Dubay, arranged the meeting for September 5 and contacted each of us to meet a few minutes ahead of time in order to plan what we would emphasize. Of course, we framed our discussion in terms of the Circle of Protection for the poorest among us. But since the Congressman is on the committee that makes decisions on taxation, we emphasized the need to maintain the benefits of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit programs.”

[Read more of the recap on the Twin Cities' Metro Area Team's website.]

The team that met with Rep. McCollum’s office included three young hunger activists:

“Fourteen people, including three preteens, visited the local office of Minnesota representative Betty McCollum during the August recess.  They urged her to continue nudging her House colleagues to remember those they represent who are people living with poverty and hunger. 

"The young people explained their concern using a visual they had made showing how little of the federal budget goes to help people in need.  The group urged Rep. McCollum to remember to keep the 'circle of protection' around specific programs which provide the most effective help to those with less means than most of us but who are may be members of her constituency and are certainly all God’s children.  The meeting with the legislative director, Peter Frosch, was one filled with issues, listening, personal stories, encouragement from all sides, and a sense of being of one mind about the needs and some of the solutions. 

"Fourteen people went home feeling empowered and willing to visit this office and the offices of senators again.”

If you would like to set up a local meeting like ones the Twin Cities Metro Team arranged, contact your regional organizer. After your meeting, please let us know about it.

Robin Stephenson is Bread for the World's social media lead and senior regional organizer, western hub.


« Washington Update for the Week of September 18, 2012 Circle of Protection Featured On PBS' 'Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly' »


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