Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

49 posts categorized "Action Alert"

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.

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.

A Critical Moment for SNAP – 130 Million Meals Eliminated Already

We_accept_SNAP2By Eric Mitchell

If there ever was a moment to contact Congress about protecting SNAP (food stamps), this is it. Members of Congress are in final negotiations around the farm bill, and they're making decisions about cutting SNAP right now!

Only this Congress has been intent on taking away food from struggling American families recovering from the recession. Tell Congress that enough is enough. Even if you have already reached out to your members of Congress, please do so again.

We've seen enough cuts to SNAP already. On Nov. 1, all families receiving SNAP saw their benefits cut. The $5 billion cut this year is about 10 million fewer SNAP meals each day. That's 130 million meals eliminated since Nov. 1! That's equivalent to the entire city of Los Angeles going without food for 11 days.

This is a critical time. Negotiations have reached an important stage. Your call and email today to your members of Congress may make the difference.

As Congress draws closer to a deal on the farm bill and the budget, we urge you to keep praying for our elected leaders and for people who are affected now — families who struggle to put food on the table. Many working poor people will have to buy fewer groceries this month because of the recent cuts to SNAP. As you visit the grocery store this week, we invite you to say this prayer: God, empower us and inspire our leaders to fill the hungry with good things.

The next few days are critical. Congress has 14 legislative days remaining to reverse the harmful cuts put in place by sequestration and to pass a farm bill. Besides affecting SNAP, these cuts also threaten funding for international emergency food aid, poverty-focused foreign assistance, nutrition assistance for struggling seniors and pregnant women, and Head Start for low-income children. Take a few moments to call (800-326-4941) or send an email right now.

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.

Act Now: 80 Million Meals Eliminated Since Last Friday

A+ABy Eric Mitchell

Only the current Congress would allow cuts to critical anti-hunger programs, taking food away from parents struggling in this economy to put food on the table for their kids. Last Friday — on the first day of a month in which we celebrate bounty with a national feast—all families receiving SNAP (formerly food stamps) saw their benefits cut. The average family of four lost up to $36 a month.

This $11 billion cut over four years equals nearly 10 million meals each day. That's 80 million meals eliminated since the SNAP cut went into effect last Friday! This is as if nearly all of the residents of the states of California, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Colorado did not eat for a day. And some in Congress are pushing for far more extreme cuts to SNAP.

Email your members of Congress now and tell them this is unacceptable!

As we move toward Thanksgiving and Christmas and prepare to gather with friends and family around big meals and parties with lots of food, we know you will be making many trips to the grocery store. We encourage you to use your trips to the store as an occasion to give thanks to God for our bounty and as a reminder to take action on behalf of those who have experienced SNAP cuts. We invite you to say this prayer every time you visit the grocery store this season: God, empower us and our leaders to fill the hungry with good things.

In the coming weeks, as the number of eliminated meals from SNAP cuts grows, we will call upon you to continue saying this prayer as you buy food and share this message with your members of Congress.

Right now, Congress is debating whether to allow cuts to nutrition assistance for low-income women and children to continue under sequestration. Already, struggling seniors have had to go without 4 million meals because of cuts to the Meals on Wheels program, and if sequestration continues, another 4 million meals could be cut.

We can make a difference this fall, but there’s not much time. Congress has just a few weeks to reverse the harmful cuts put in place by sequestration and to pass a farm bill. And these cuts threaten so much more—funding for international emergency food aid, poverty-focused foreign assistance, nutrition assistance for struggling seniors and pregnant women, and Head Start for low-income children.

Tell your members of Congress that all should share in the bounty and they must not cut programs that help struggling families.

Thank you for your continued prayers and action during this critical time.

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

Photo: Alex Morris feeds her son, André, in their Bend, OR, home. Alex depends on SNAP, WIC and other programs to care for André, who suffers from a serious medical condition that affects his hormonal system (Brad Horn).

 

Act Now: SNAP and Food Aid at Risk

Families that receives food stamps (SNAP) will see their benefits reduced starting this Friday. Email or call 1-800-826-3688 and tell your members of Congress to protect SNAP and improve international food aid. Photo: DeEtte Peck uses her EBT card to purchase food in Portland, Ore. (Brian Duss)

By Eric Mitchell

This week, every family that receives food stamp benefits will see its grocery budget shrink! In 2010, Congress voted twice to cut food stamps (also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) in order to pay for other priorities.  As a result, $11 billion in SNAP cuts will go into effect this Friday. For a family of four, this means a loss of up to $36 a month.

As millions of families are bracing for these automatic benefit cuts, members of the House and Senate meet today to finalize a farm bill that will impact vital anti-hunger programs—specifically SNAP and international food aid. 

We need your help. The voices of your members of Congress are critical in our efforts to end hunger by protecting and strengthening SNAP and improving international food aid.

Call or email your members of Congress today! Ask them to:

  1. Oppose cuts and harmful changes to SNAP. The House-passed farm bill cut SNAP by $39 billion, which could kick nearly 4 million people off the program and reduce benefits for thousands more. SNAP has already been cut by $11 billion, reducing every household’s monthly benefit and resulting in millions of lost meals. SNAP families cannot afford any cuts in the farm bill.
  2. Support the Senate-passed farm bill’s (S.954) international food aid provisions. These provisions will increase the flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency of food aid so that we can respond better to the complex challenges of global hunger and malnutrition today.

Forty-nine million Americans live at risk of hunger, and more than 1 billion people around the world live in extreme poverty. SNAP and international food aid programs must be protected in the farm bill. Email or call your member of Congress at 800-826-3688 today!

 Thank you for your advocacy.

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

We Can't Stop Now

Photo 06 cap bldg joe policy focus
(Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World)

By LaVida Davis

Thank you! Because of you and other advocates who flooded Capitol Hill with thousands of calls and emails last week, our political leaders actually came to an agreement. They reopened the government and prevented a U.S. default.

The good news: the shutdown is over, and we avoided economic catastrophe. The bad news: the deal did not address the big budget decisions before Congress: sequestration and sustained funding for programs that address hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. The deal only created a new committee and a new deadline: Dec. 13. I know — another budget battle, another fiscal cliff.

But we can’t stop now — this work is too important. These budget decisions will determine whether millions of struggling children in the poorest villages around the world have access to regular meals. Poor, working mothers in the United States may be denied critical nutrition assistance and prenatal care. SNAP (formerly food stamps) continues to be in grave danger. We cannot allow these programs to be defunded and we cannot let sequestration continue.

Call your members of Congress today! Use our toll-free number (1-800-826-3688) or send an email. Deliver two messages:

  1. Thank them if they voted to reopen the government and prevent default. Many members of Congress are facing local opposition for their "yes" votes (see House and Senate votes).
  2. Urge them to pass a responsible budget that replaces sequestration with a balanced plan that includes revenues and smart spending cuts that won't increase poverty.

I’m sure you’re tired of these manufactured crises — we all are. But from the ashes of adversity rises a new dawn. In surrendering ourselves to Christ, we refuse to surrender to partisanship and special interests. We refuse to surrender our values and our faith. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9 NIV). We must march on, pressing our elected leaders to choose wisely, act boldly, and move toward a day when no child or parent goes to bed hungry.

Last week you proved your voice can make a difference. Speak out again! Call (1-800-826-3688) or email your members of Congress today.

LaVida Davis is Bread for the World's director of Organizing and Grassroots Capacity Building.

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