Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Setting Two Tables

February 2013 e-Newsletter

Barbie Izquierdo and her children are profiled in the new movie, A Place at the Table. To see a preview of the movie and learn more about "A Place at the Table: Bread for the World's 2013 Offering of Letters," visit www.bread.org/ol.

On March 1, 2013, Bread for the World will be involved in setting places at two tables.

One is "A Place at the Table: Bread for the World’s 2013 Offering of Letters."

The other is a new feature-length documentary, A Place at the Table, which shows the persistence of hunger in the United States.

Together, the two "Tables" represent a united effort to end hunger by raising awareness and advocating for policy changes. By coordinating our Offering and Letters with the social action campaign of the movie, Bread for the World will be promoting a national dialogue about how to best secure the leadership, commitment, and unity to end hunger in our country and abroad.

Bread for the World's 2013 Offering of Letters is the most sophisticated campaign we have ever conducted, focusing on both the White House and Congress.

For the first time, we are seeking greater leadership from the White House. We want President Barack Obama to set a goal and work with Congress on a plan to end hunger at home and abroad. Beside regular communication with White House officials, we are asking our members to petition the president. We hope to generate at least 100,000 signatures.

As in past Offerings of Letters, we will continue to focus on policy makers in Congress. Domestic and international programs that help hungry and poor people continue to be threatened by budget cuts. Through handwritten letters, personal email messages, in-person visits, and phone calls, we will be asking our legislators to protect funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps); the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and poverty-focused development assistance (PFDA).

We are also asking legislators to support a national commitment to reduce hunger through the tax code. We want Congress to preserve the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) while raising revenue to support anti-hunger programs.

Finally, we are asking Congress to work with the president on a plan to end hunger.

"The reality is that in order to break free from the bondage [of poverty] in this country and the world, we need elected officials to make good on their words and put love thy neighbor at the center of our legislative agenda," said seminary student and Hunger Justice Leader Derick Dailey in response to the two-pronged Offering of Letters.

This reality will be apparent to many people around the country after they watch the new documentary, A Place at the Table. When film directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush approached Bread for the World board member Terry Meehan, seeking support for the film, the rest of the board quickly decided that this was an opportunity to speed up change.

The filmmakers were inspired by the public reaction that was generated by the 1968 CBS Special, Hunger in America. In response to that television program, Congress passed bipartisan laws that all but eradicated U.S. hunger in the 1970s. "We figured that if it worked once, maybe it could work again," said Jacobson.

National distribution of A Place at the Table became possible when Participant Media came on board to finance the film, followed by Magnolia Pictures as the distributor. It will open in theaters throughout the country on March 1 and will be available on-demand (through iTunes, Amazon.com, and other outlets).

We urge all Bread members to see this film. We have resources to help you study the issues raised in the film, as well as materials to distribute at screenings. You can preorder them from Bread's online store or by calling 800-822-7323.

Bread’s association with Participant Media does not end when the film hits the theaters. We are also partners in the social campaign accompanying the film. Through A Place at the Table’s social action campaign, Bread members will have more avenues for action—at both the national and local levels. Bread for the World and Participant Media will regularly ask our advocates to take various actions throughout this campaign. To join the campaign, text FOOD to 77177.

"Jesus tells us to give them something to eat, and the film shows that our churches do a good job of providing food through food pantries and soup kitchens," said Rev. David Beckmann. "It also shows that this will never be enough. We need to demand that our government get serious about ending hunger."

[This piece originally appeared in the February edition of Bread's e-newsletter.]


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