Write a Letter to the Editor and Help Safeguard the Circle of Protection
As the president and Congress continue to negotiate a deficit reduction plan, we must continue to ask that programs for poor and hungry people be prioritized. At a time when so many other issues are competing for center stage, your voice is especially crucial.
We are asking Bread members to use every tool at their disposal during this critical period—and that includes local media. Use the sample letter to the editor below as a template, and be sure to check out these helpful hints on how to get published in your local paper. Please let your regional organizer know if your submission is selected so that we can amplify it through our social media channels.
Sample Letter to the Editor
Thanksgiving has passed and budget negotiations to avoid the “fiscal cliff” are now underway. The president and Congress are working intensely towards a deal—so pressure to cut federal spending, particularly to programs for hungry and poor people, has never been higher.
For the next six weeks, every Washington interest group will be pounding the halls of Congress to weigh in on a multi-trillion dollar deal that will affect every federal program and every person in this country for decades to come. Unfortunately, the media and politicians are not talking about the tremendous impact that the deal will have on hungry and poor people. That’s why I am speaking out on their behalf.
As a member of Bread for the World and [Your church's name and location], I believe that the moral measure of our federal budget is how it treats those whom Jesus referred to as "the least of these" (Matthew 25:45). We must remind Congress that their budget decisions are moral choices that could have devastating consequences on hungry and poor people.
Reaching a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff will require bipartisan compromise. But we cannot allow a hastily crafted bill to sacrifice our country's commitment to feeding hungry people. The policies in any deal must explicitly protect programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps); the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); and the child tax credit. Any deal must also include additional tax revenue, balanced with responsible spending cuts, and it must prevent further cuts to the non-defense discretionary portion of the budget, which Congress has already cut by well over $1 trillion and funds programs like poverty-focused development assistance (PFDA) and international food aid each year.
There are many working families in my state who rely on SNAP to keep food on the table and many others who are able to provide vital nutrition for their children through WIC. Poverty-focused development assistance programs help the poorest people in the poorest place lift themselves out of poverty and are important to our national security.
I know Congress and the President can reach a deal that reduces the deficit and maintains a circle of protection around programs that support hungry and poor people. An imbalanced package will severely hamper our ability to address hunger and poverty for years to come.
Photo: Arlene Barela, a mother of two in Orange County, Calif., writes letters to Congress at Templo Calvario (Assembly of God church) in Santa Ana, Calif., on Sunday, October 16, 2011. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)
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