Write Your Own Letter to the Editor
Speak up and judge fairly; defend
the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:9).
Congress is on the verge of making budget decisions that will determine our country’s ability to address hunger and poverty for years to come. With crucial programs that prevent hunger at risk, the Christian call to act on behalf of the most vulnerable has never been more critical. How we treat our neighbors is a concrete expression of how we love God.
A bipartisan group of senators, known in Washington as the “Gang of Eight,” met last week to set the framework for a comprehensive deficit reduction package. They will continue talks this month, as they work to come up with a budget plan that balances cuts and revenues.
Drastic cuts without increased revenue will jeopardize the safety net that has protected millions of Americans during this recession. Foreign assistance programs that save lives and provide long-term anti-hunger solutions are also in danger, even though they comprise less than one percent of the federal budget.
You can use your voice to shape the outcome in real ways. Writing a letter to the editor is a simple way to express your beliefs and encourage public discussion of these issues. Your members of Congress read this stuff! They care what you have to say—especially around election time!
Getting a letter published is a good way to let Congress know that you expect to see a moral budget that prioritizes the eradication of hunger and poverty. Even if your congressional representatives aren't members of the Gang of Eight, they still have a role to play. They can influence key negotiations and urge congressional leaders to do the right thing, but they need public outcry to spur them to action.
Below is a sample letter to the editor. The template gives a general idea of what a good letter to the editor should look like, but be creative, and personalize your letter as you see fit. If you want to enhance your message with statistics on hunger and poverty, feel free to cite Bread's fact sheets on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), and faithful tax policy or our 2012 Offering of Letters website.
For additional tips on composing a letter, see Bread's "How to Write A Letter to the Editor" guidelines.
Hungry and poor people do not have lobbyists working to protect the programs they depend on, but you can use your voice to advocate on their behalf.
I’m concerned that one in six Americans lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table. This is unacceptable for the world’s richest nation. As a member of Bread for the World, I am working to ensure that hungry and poor people are protected in the federal budget discussions.
When Senators [X and Y] and Representative [Z] return to Washington after the elections, reducing the deficit and next year’s budget will be at the top of the agenda. These decisions will have a serious impact on our country’s ability to address hunger and poverty over the next decade and beyond.
I don’t want to leave my children/grandchildren/future generations saddled with debt, nor do I want to leave them with a legacy of increased poverty and more hunger.
The country’s future deficits threaten our economy, our families, and the most vulnerable individuals in the United States and abroad. Congress needs to pass a deficit reduction agreement, but that deal must be moral in how it treats those Jesus called “the least of these” (Matthew 25:45).
Hungry and poor people do not have large well-funded lobbies protecting the programs they depend on to help lift themselves out of poverty. I call upon Senators [X and Y] and Representative [Z] to create a circle of protection around programs that help hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world.
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