Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

46 posts categorized "Action Alert"

2 Million People Could Lose Lifesaving Food Aid

Sudan_food_aid
Women carry their ration of food, after fleeing their homes in the village of Abyei, engulfed by heavy fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army. (UN Photo/Tim McKulka)

By Eric Mitchell

This is outrageous!

The House of Representatives recently voted to deny access to lifesaving food aid to 2 million people around the world.

Why? Because a few very big, very powerful shipping conglomerates demanded preferential treatment at the expense of purchasing food intended to feed people struggling to survive. Lawmakers capitulated.

U.S. food aid should feed hungry people, not hungry shipping conglomerates. Fortunately, the Senate can stop this bad idea from becoming law.

Call (800-326-4941) or email your senators today! Urge them to reject any actions that would increase transportation costs for food aid and prevent hungry people around the world from receiving U.S. food assistance. The House-passed provisions in the Coast Guard spending bill would increase transportation costs for U.S. food aid by $75 million each year and leave at least 2 million vulnerable people without access to lifesaving food-aid programs.

Background:

Last month, an obscure provision was tucked inside a Coast Guard spending bill, which would prevent millions of people in troubled countries around the world from receiving American food aid and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in shipping expenses.

The provision requires 75 percent of U.S. international food aid to be sent on American ships, up from the 50 percent now required by law. An increase in the amount of U.S. food aid that must be transported on American ships jeopardizes the U.S.'s ability to provide lifesaving assistance to millions of children and adults who are facing dire conditions due to conflict and natural disaster. These restrictions would increase transportation costs for U.S. food aid by $75 million each year, and leave 2 million vulnerable people without access to lifesaving food aid.

The Senate is expected to consider this legislation soon. As a constituent, your voice is critical in pushing back! Don't let Congress snatch food from the mouths of millions of hungry people in order to benefit shipping companies.

When 842 million people around the world go hungry every day, making every dollar designated for food aid count is both a responsible use of taxpayer money and a moral imperative. Email or call your senators at 800-326-4941 today!

Thank you for your voice.

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

Act Now: Senate Voting This Week on Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment

By Eric Mitchell

The Senate is about to attempt again to extend unemployment insurance, and this time it may have the votes to pass it! But it will be close.

As early as tomorrow, the Senate may vote on a new bipartisan deal that would reinstate aid for the 2 million people who have been cut off from long-term unemployment assistance.

Please call (800-826-3688) or email your senators right now! Urge them to vote to extend unemployment insurance.

Last time, the Senate was one vote short. But now we have a chance to pass a bill and send a strong message to the House.

Over 2 million unemployed workers have been cut off from aid since emergency unemployment assistance expired on December 28. If Congress doesn't extend emergency unemployment insurance, then 5 million people will see their assistance end in 2014. For so many people spending hours each day searching for a job, this aid ensures that they and their families don't go hungry during a hard spell of unemployment.

Please take just two minutes to call or email your members of Congress. Tell them to vote for extending emergency unemployment insurance.

Your calls, emails, and prayers can make the difference.

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

Tell Congress to Support a Global Nutrition Strategy

Pisano program
Paisano
is a USAID program implemented in Guatemala that aims to address child malnutrition and is highlighted in Bread for the World's 2014 Offering of Letters, "Reforming Food Aid." (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World)

By Eric Mitchell

Thanks to Bread for the World members, Congress is beginning to recognize the importance of global maternal and child nutrition, particularly in the critical 1,000-day window from pregnancy to age 2 of a child's life.

Last year, funding for global nutrition efforts was increased to $115 million compared to the previous year’s funding of $95 million. That’s nearly a 22 percent increase in funding. Congress is starting to get it. And for good reason, because every $1 invested in nutrition generates as much as $138 in better health and increased productivity.

Last year, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it would take the lead in developing a comprehensive nutrition strategy that would serve as the basis for a more robust global nutrition approach for the U.S. government as a whole. Through better coordination of nutrition programs and closer evaluation of the effectiveness of these programs, we can help to end hunger by ensuring that more vulnerable women and children throughout the world are living healthy, productive, and hope-filled lives. USAID is set to release this strategy next month, but before it's unveiled, we need more members of Congress to express their support for this nutrition strategy.

Right now, Reps. Adam Smith (D-9WA) and Ander Crenshaw (R-4FL) are circulating a letter to President Obama expressing support for a nutrition strategy.

Call toll-free: 800-826-3688 or email your representative, and ask him or her to sign the Smith-Crenshaw letter in support of a USAID’s nutrition strategy!

Together, we are making a difference on Capitol Hill and with the administration. Let’s continue to advance the importance of the 1,000 Days movement for vulnerable women and children throughout the world. Our nutritional investments now in young children can have payoffs for years to come.

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

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

Janitorial 2
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"

Capitol
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.

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