Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Delivering Petitions and Preparing for August Recess

Petition deliver August 2013
Bread for the World staff members (L to R) Amelia Kegan, Gary Cook, Eric Mitchell, and LaVida Davis visited the White House and hand-delivered Bread’s presidential petition on August 7, 2013 (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World).

By Amelia Kegan

Yesterday, Bread for the World staff visited the White House and delivered boxes containing our presidential petition. We presented White House staff with a grand total of 30,409 signatures! This time last week, we had 25,000 signatures, but we put out a call for 5,000 more before yesterday’s important meeting—and Bread members delivered!

Dr. John Holden, a Bread member from Silver Spring, Md., rushed into our D.C. office late Tuesday afternoon to ensure that the 509 signatures he collected were included in the delivery. By adding Dr. Holden's names to our existing count, we were able to surpass our goal.

Jon Gromek, a Bread for the World regional organizer for the central hub states, worked late on Tuesday night, scanning and sending names to Bread’s D.C. office. He made sure the signatures he gathered at an anti-hunger event held Sunday at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Dayton, Ohio, made it to the White House, too.

With this delivery, we were able to emphasize the importance of presidential leadership in ending hunger in our time. We know achieving this goal is possible, but we need the political will to do it.

We brought this up during our meeting with White House staffers Paulette Aniskoff, deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Paul Monteiro, public engagement advisor in the White House Office of Public Engagement. We also talked about the farm bill, sequestration, the budget, and immigration. We shared with them the strength of Bread’s membership, and your advocacy work made a big impression.

Now that we’ve delivered our first batch of petitions to the West Wing, our new goal is to reach 50,000 signatures. Help us reach that number by asking your family members, neighbors, church members, and friends to sign the petition asking President Obama to work with Congress on a plan to end hunger.  

But even more immediately, we need you to get in front of your senators and representative over the next few weeks. While Congress is in recess, faithful advocates must be hard at work.  

What your members of Congress hear now will influence the decisions they make when they return to Washington in September. August recess offers an opportunity to talk to your legislators about funding for SNAP (formerly food stamps), international food aid, poverty-focused development assistance, Head Start, and WIC, as well as immigration and the debt ceiling.

Will your senators find you at their office doors, ready to talk about making moral budget decisions that protect “the least of these?” Will your representative hear your voice at her next town hall meeting as you express outrage over the $40 billion in SNAP cuts proposed by the House? Will your members of Congress open their local papers and see letters to the editor demanding that they fix sequestration and come up with a more balanced approach that protects families struggling with hunger and poverty?

Bread for the World has a new August recess webpage that will help you make the most of this crucial time and take actions that will help hungry and poor people. If you want members of Congress to make good decisions this fall, you have to tell them so today!

Amelia Kegan is senior policy analyst at Bread for the World.


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