Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

43 posts categorized "Action Alert"

More than Snow Keeping Nearly 2 Million from Work

DC Snow by RobynToday’s snow day is an inconvenience for members of Congress who can’t get to work, but the snow cannot be blamed for the fact that they have been frozen by inaction around renewing emergency unemployment benefits. That Congress continues to leave 2 million job seekers out in the cold without help, while the market is still weak, is irresponsible and unacceptable.

While senators bicker over how to pay for the extension, 38-year-old former medical biller Trista Selmar-Steed wonders how she can pay for basic necessities, like food. While senators talk about the deficit, Illinois resident Jennifer listens as her phone rings with calls from bill collectors, but no job offers. Without benefits, she doesn’t have access to the resources that could help her find a job, she recently told PBS Newshour. 

The stories of the long-term unemployed all follow a similar path – downhill. Congress can change that by reinstating their benefits. These are people who once got up and went to work each day, paid their bills, and contributed to the economy, but now live the daily nightmare of unemployment. An estimated 200,000 are veterans, and new people are joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed everyday.

There are still three applicants for each job opening in this country; the United States has not reached full employment and January’s jobs report shows growth is anemic and wages are lagging.

For the third time, the Senate is expected to vote on extending unemployment insurance this week. A few weeks ago, Congress failed to advance this bill by just one vote. It is likely that one vote will again determine the outcome. It is also likely that one of three Republicans holds that decision in his hands: Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, or Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana. They must hear from constituents, as well as their colleagues, and be urged to do the right thing.

If your senators are on record with a vote to renew benefits, still call them and tell them they have your support. You may even ask them to reach out to their colleagues Kirk, Portman, and Coats, and ask them to vote to renew emergency unemployment benefits (EUC) immediately. If you are from Indiana, Illinois or Ohio, it is even more urgent that you call 800-826-3688, or send a personal email.

It is easier to build a fence at the top of a cliff than to drive an ambulance to the bottom, goes the adage. Each week that passes without action, more and more Americans are headed in the wrong direction when Congress could easily act on their behalf and help them change course.

Photo: Washington D.C. March 3, 2013 (courtesy of Robyn Johnson).

Call Now! Senate to Vote Tomorrow on Unemployment

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By Eric Mitchell

Tomorrow the Senate will vote on whether to consider reinstating emergency unemployment insurance for the more than 1.7 million unemployed workers who have seen their aid lapse in recent weeks. For many of these jobless individuals, this assistance is their only source of income as they struggle to find work — and feed their families.

Please call (800-826-3688) or email your senators today! Urge them to vote yes on extending unemployment insurance!

This proposal extends unemployment insurance through March, is retroactive to Dec. 28 (when long-term aid expired), and it is completely paid for. The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on a motion to advance the bill. We believe they are just a couple of votes shy!

Take two minutes right now and call or email your senators and urge them to VOTE YES on extending unemployment insurance.

Eric Mitchell is Bread for the World's director of government relations.

Renew Unemployment: This is Getting Desperate

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Each week Congress does not act, 72,000 people lose the emergency unemployment benefits that help support their families as they search for work (Joseph Mollieri/Bread for the World).

By Eric Mitchell

The situation is getting desperate. More than 1.6 million unemployed workers have now been cut off from emergency unemployment insurance. For many of them, this is their only source of income as they struggle to find work.

Last night, President Obama made a powerful call to reinstate unemployment insurance. But there's a voice that's even more powerful to members of Congress — yours!

Call (800-826-3688) or email your members of Congress today! Tell them to reinstate unemployment insurance without delay!

Every day that Congress fails to extend unemployment insurance, it becomes harder to reinstate necessary assistance. We cannot give up on the unemployed, and neither should Congress! Unemployment insurance helps people look for work, put food on the table, and keep their homes. It provides a sense of security during difficult and stressful times.

Urge your representative and your senators to press on until unemployed workers see their insurance extended.

Call or email your members of Congress today, and urge them to extend unemployment assistance immediately.

Eric Mitchell is the director of government relations at Bread for the World.

1.5 Million Left Out in the Cold

Unemployment

By Eric Mitchell

Congress is leaving town again. And again — as they did before recessing for the holidays — they are leaving 1.5 million Americans out in the cold without unemployment assistance. Every additional week that Congress fails to act, another 72,000 unemployed workers continue to lose their benefits.

Only one thing will get Congress to take action — YOU!

Only a barrage of phone calls and emails will get Congress to extend unemployment insurance. Even if you've already called, please call again. Even senators and representatives who support extending unemployment insurance are giving up. Don't let them!

Call (800-326-4941) or email your members of Congress today!

Demand that unemployment insurance be extended immediately! Tell your representative and senators to press on until unemployed workers see their benefits extended. For many people, unemployment insurance is all they have right now, and Congress is cutting them off!

The economy is improving, but the job market is still tough. Even with recent economic growth, 10.4 million people are unemployed, and there are still 1.2 million fewer jobs than when the Great Recession started in 2008. Nearly two-thirds of the unemployed have been looking for work for more than six months. Unemployment insurance supports people while they look for work. It helps people put food on the table, keep their homes, and provides a sense of security during difficult times.

Call or email your members of Congress today, and tell them to extend unemployment assistance without delay.

Eric Mitchell is director of government relations at Bread for the World.

Keep Action on Unemployment Insurance Moving Until It Passes

Editor's Note:  The Senate passed the first hurdle for an emergency unemployment extension today by advancing a bipartisan bill to reinstate emergency unemployment benefits for 1.3 million unemployed workers. Read Bread for the World's press release:  "Bread for the World Applauds Senate Vote on Emergency Unemployment"

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Capitol building, Washington, D.C., (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World).

By Eric Mitchell

This shouldn't continue another day! Emergency unemployment insurance expired Dec. 28. Congress is back and must extend these benefits immediately!

More than a million Americans were left out in the cold, dropped from their unemployment assistance just days after Christmas. Every additional week that Congress fails to act, another 72,000 unemployed workers continue to lose their benefits.

The economy is improving, but the job market is still tough. Even with recent economic growth, there are still 1.3 million fewer jobs than at the beginning of the Great Recession nearly 6 years ago. Nearly two-thirds of unemployed people have been looking for work for more than six months.

Don't let Congress leave unemployed workers who are struggling to find work out in the cold! Call (800-826-3688) or email your U.S. representative and your U.S. senators today! Make them hear this message loud and clear. Unemployment insurance helps people look for work, put food on the table, and keep their homes. It provides a sense of security during difficult and stressful times.

The Senate just took a major step in extending unemployment assistance by voting to consider S.1845, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act. Now, tell your members of Congress to pass that bill immediately.

Call or email your members of Congress today, and tell them to extend unemployment assistance without delay.

Eric Mitchell is director of government relations for Bread for the World

Laid Off, Then Cut Off

Unemployment

By Sonora Bostian

Congress is ending its work for the year without extending unemployment benefits. Now, 1.3 million unemployed workers will be cut off from benefits just days after Christmas.

This is outrageous! But for me, it's also deeply personal. I was laid off and had to receive unemployment insurance to get by. And then, after unsuccessfully searching for a job for over a year, I was cut off because legislators cut emergency unemployment aid.

I’ll never forget the fear that struck me when I received that news. These claims were a major source of assistance during my job hunt. Even with unemployment insurance, my savings were dwindling, and I was nearing the end of my financial rope. And then, the safety net that was holding me up during my search was gone.

1.3 million Americans are about to receive this same news from Congress. Congress just passed a budget deal and hurried out of town. But noticeably absent from that deal was any extension of emergency unemployment assistance.

The economy is improving, but the job market is still tough. Nearly two-thirds of unemployed people have been looking for work for over 26 weeks. I applied for over 100 jobs, and it was well over a year before I received an offer.

Don’t allow Congress to turn its back on unemployed workers! Call (800-326-4941) or email your members of Congress today! Tell them to extend unemployment insurance immediately as their first action in 2014. With so many Americans struggling to find and keep a job, we cannot afford to cut them off when they’re already down. For many, unemployment insurance is the difference between staying afloat and losing everything. Just as it helped me, it continues to help others who are currently unemployed put food on the table, keep their homes, and provide a sense of security through the path of uncertainty that defines the job search.

I count my blessings every day that I was offered a job shortly after my claims ran out. Many Americans are not so lucky. Call or email your members of Congress today and tell them to ensure the strength of the safety net that unemployment assistance provides to so many people.

Sonora Bostian is Bread for the World's online communications specialist.

Join Pope Francis in Prayer Today at Noon

Woman-prayingBy David Beckmann

The day has come! A multitude of Catholics rallied by Caritas Internationalis and millions of other Christians and people of other faiths around the world are raising their voices in a "wave of prayer" today at noon (local time in every time zone) to end hunger.

Pope Francis has released a message in support of this worldwide effort. We hope his words will inspire you to join this prayer wave!

Would you join us today at noon? Pray individually or ask others to join you.

Today a clear and loud message of ending hunger in our time will rise to God. Hopefully it will also touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders in Congress when they are finalizing — at this very moment — a decision on the farm bill and harmful cuts to nutrition programs. At this critical time, they need to hear from you.

After you pray, please take action and call (800-326-4941) or email your members of Congress. Tell them not to cut SNAP (formerly food stamps), but to take actions that will help end hunger in our country and around the world.

If you need a prayer for this occasion, consider the prayers — from various Christian traditions — we have assembled at www.bread.org/prayerwave.

Together in prayer we can change the world.

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

Join the Global Wave of Prayer to End Hunger


Service at Our Lady of Assumption (Notre Dame de l'Assumption) Church in Petit Goave, Haiti, on Sunday, October 10, 2010 (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World).

By David Beckmann

Exciting news! Pope Francis is supporting a global wave of prayer to end hunger. On Dec. 10, people are asked to pray at noon local time in what will become a wave of prayer across time zones. We hope that not only Catholics, but also other Christians will join this faith-filled effort to end hunger in the United States and around the world.

This could be a means by which God touches many, many hearts — and perhaps moves our nation to get serious about hunger and poverty.

We at Bread know you have been praying for the past few weeks, at our urging, as Congress has been debating important hunger-related legislation. This day of prayer is an opportunity for us as Bread members to join our prayers with the prayers of others from Guatemala to Tanzania and every place in between — prayers that are all asking for the same thing.

Please also encourage others in your church to join you in prayer on the 10th, or encourage your church to include prayers or to do something else for ending hunger during your worship this Sunday the 8th. Please consider joining Bread staff on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at noon on Dec. 10 for prayers asking Congress to end hunger.

This wave of prayer comes at a particularly critical time in our country. Congress will be finalizing a decision on the farm bill and the harmful cuts to nutrition programs that will impact millions of families that struggle to put a plate of food on the table.

Please call (800-826-3688) or email your members of Congress today. These simple acts can make the difference. Tell them not to cut SNAP (formerly food stamps) but to take actions that will help end hunger in our country and around the world.

As you prepare for Dec. 10, consider the prayer resources — from various Christian traditions — we have assembled for the day at www.bread.org/prayerwave. Caritas Internationalis, the lead organization for the event, has prepared a special prayer for the day, but feel free to use a prayer appropriate to your own tradition.

Thank you for adding your voice to this global call for prayer and faithful action to end hunger!

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

Hunger Can't Wait in the Wake of a Storm


Emergency relief supplies flown into the airport in Tacloban City in the Philippines are trucked to a nearby warehouse to be sorted. From here, the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development, the lead local agency in charge charge of aid distribution, gets the commodities out to affected municipalities. (USAID photo/Carol Han, OFDA)
 
By Ryan Quinn
 
Generosity and compassion are Christian values exemplified in our willingness to respond to people who cry out in need. Often people in need are those caught in disasters. It takes only a moment for a disaster to happen, but it takes weeks and months for help to arrive. Hunger can’t wait.
 
American generosity through food aid has saved billions of people since the 1950s, but it’s time to update policies to respond to a changing world.
 
People who survived Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines or who are displaced because of the war in Syria desperately need the life-saving assistance of food aid, but outdated laws make it more difficult for it to arrive quickly. There is an opportunity to change those laws in the farm bill being negotiated now. But Congress needs to hear from you.
 
Currently, American food aid products must come from the United States and be shipped on U.S. vessels. This practice can add to program costs and delay the arrival of food aid up to six months when compared to local purchases. Instead of being used to fight hunger, funds get caught up in overhead costs and fees.
 
We must do better.
 
You can make a difference in helping to feed millions more people like those in the Philippines or Syria. Tell Congress that hungry people can’t wait — that food aid must be reformed in the farm bill today.
 
As you do your last-minute grocery shopping for Thanksgiving and gather around your table to celebrate the holiday, I encourage you to remember people who are hungry around the world by praying this prayer: God, empower us and inspire our leaders to fill the hungry with good things.
Use Bread’s toll-free number — 800-826-3688 — to call, or email your members of Congress, and urge them to do the right thing and lift the unnecessary restrictions on U.S. food aid.
 
Ryan Quinn is a senior policy analyst at Bread for the World.

200 Million Meals Eliminated as Thanksgiving Approaches

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The Nov. 1 cut to SNAP (food stamps) means about 10 million fewer SNAP meals each day. That's 200 million meals eliminated so far this month, the equivalent of every child in America going without food for three and a half straight days (photo courtesy of Participant Media).

By Eric Mitchell

We're down to the wire! Members of Congress are working to unveil a compromise farm bill very soon. The farm bill funds SNAP (formerly food stamps), and already, 200 million meals have been eliminated since Nov. 1. As families are preparing their Thanksgiving menus, Congress is negotiating how much deeper to cut SNAP.

Only this Congress would take away food from struggling families as they gather to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Tell Congress that this is the wrong time to prevent families from putting food on the table.

On Nov. 1, all families receiving SNAP saw their benefits cut. The $5 billion cut this year means about 10 million fewer SNAP meals each day. That's 200 million meals eliminated so far this month! Think of it this way: that’s like every child in America going without food for three and a half straight days.

You can make a difference right now for families, especially those with children, struggling to put food on the table. We need you to continue praying and calling or emailing your members of Congress. These simple acts can make the difference. Your senators and representatives need to hear from you again and right now.

As you plan your Thanksgiving and buy your food, keep saying this prayer, and ask your members of Congress to join you: God, empower us and inspire our leaders to fill the hungry with good things.

This long, two-year process for the farm bill may finally come to a close in the next few days. Urge Congress to make it a responsible farm bill. Call (800-326-4941) or email your members of Congress with a prayer and the following messages:

  1. Protect SNAP (food stamps) from cuts in the farm bill.
  2. SNAP encourages work. The program has work requirements, and a majority of households receive SNAP for less than 10 months. 
  3. SNAP cuts that began Nov. 1 have already eliminated 200 million meals. Don't prevent families from eating when Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Thank you for calling or emailing your members of Congress today and for your prayers.

Eric Mitchell is Bread for the World's director of government relations.

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