Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

52 posts categorized "Action Alert"

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

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(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.

Voting on SNAP: Let Them Know You Were Watching

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Bread for the World members on Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., June 11, 2013. (Joseph Mollieri/Bread for the World)

By David Beckmann

We were so close! Thank you for your advocacy last week.  You and other anti-hunger advocates sent more than 3,000 emails and made hundreds of phone calls opposing a House proposal to cut SNAP  (formerly food stamps) by nearly $40 billion.

Despite our best efforts, this nutrition bill passed by a vote of 217 to 210 on the House floor. The seven-vote margin reflects the pressure you exerted on your representatives.

Now it is critical that you hold your representative accountable—let him or her know you were watching! Find out how House members voted and then call your representative. Either thank your representative for voting “no” or express your outrage over a “yes” vote.

This bill not only includes nearly $40 billion in cuts to SNAP, it would kick almost 4 million Americans off of the program next year. Churches and charities would have to nearly double their food assistance to make up the difference.

Our advocacy on the farm bill is far from over. As Congress moves to finalize a farm bill, we press on, reminding our legislators that any farm bill must protect hungry and poor people.

We will call on you again in the coming months. Last week’s vote was close, and we must win the next one. We will continue to advocate with and for the most vulnerable in our country and around the world.

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

A $40 Billion SNAP Cut Picks on the Poorest People

David press In just hours, the House of Representatives will vote on a proposal to cut SNAP by nearly $40 billion. If the bill passes, the House will be sending a dangerous message: it’s OK to pick on poor people. We must urge members of the House to vote "no" on H.R. 3102.

On Wednesday, Bread for the World President Rev. David Beckmann carried a different message from faithful advocates to the nation’s capital—that deep cuts kicking as many as 4 million poor, childless adults off of the SNAP program is morally wrong.

The nearly $40 billion cut would come on top of the Nov. 1 expiration of the 2009 Recovery Act, which will lead to a reduction in SNAP benefits for millions.

Earlier in the week, leaders from the Circle of Protection, a coalition of more than 65 heads of denominations and religious agencies, plus more than 5,000 church pastors, wrote letters to Congress urging a "no" vote on a bill that would cut SNAP. Christians know that God has a special concern for the poor and hungry and so the faithful are speaking out against cuts to the nation’s foremost tool against hunger and hardship.Currently, 47 million Americans benefit from SNAP, but that number is expected to be drop once the economy recovers.

“These proposed cuts are a clear indication that some in Congress underestimate the hunger that is present in millions of American homes," Beckmann wrote in his letter to Congress. "The amendment picks on the poorest people in the country. This is morally and economically unacceptable especially as some areas continue to experience high unemployment. Congress needs to focus on creating more jobs and not cut programs that stave off hunger for millions of people.”

Now it is time for every faithful advocate to join our religious leaders and make a statement with phone calls—ending hunger should be a priority in our nation. New U.S. Census data shows that although poverty continues to be at an all-time high, the safety net is working. In a floor speech this morning, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR1) said that H.R. 3102, and kicking hungry people off of SNAP, is not the right focus. Ending hunger requires addressing at the root causes of hunger. “Let’s cut poverty,” said Rep. Bonamici, “not nutrition assistance.”

The vote is expected to take place approximately 4:30 p.m. ET, so there is still time. Call 800-326-4941 to be connected to the Capitol switchboard and tell your representative to vote against H.R. 3102. Bread for the World will be following the vote with our Twitter feed, @bread4theworld.  

Photo: David Beckmann urges members of Congress to create a circle of protection around SNAP during a press conference on Capitol Hill, Sept. 17, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World)

Act Now: House of Representatives Voting to Cut SNAP TODAY

We_accept_SNAP2By Eric Mitchell

Update: House votes 217 to 210 to Cut $40 Billion from SNAP

It’s been a busy week in Congress and I know you’ve heard a lot from us, but this is urgent. We need you to raise your voice once more.

Today, the House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 3102, a bill that would cut SNAP (formerly food stamps) by nearly $40 billion.  This vote will be incredibly close, and we understand that many members are still on the fence. Your voice is urgently needed to defeat this bill!

Tell your representative to vote “no” on H.R. 3102. If enacted, this bill would mean that:

  • Nearly 4 million people would be kicked off of SNAP.
  • Churches and charities would have to nearly double their current food assistance over the next 10 years to handle the increase in need.

On Nov. 1, all SNAP households will see their monthly benefits reduced whether this proposal passes or fails. Now is not the time to cut SNAP.

Call 800-326-4941 to be connected to the Capitol switchboard and tell your representative to vote against H.R. 3102.

Thank you for using your voice to help end hunger in this country.

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

Sequestration Threatens Lifesaving Food Aid

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Tohomina Akter attempts to feed her daughter Adia, 17 months, in Char Baria village, Barisal, Bangladesh, on Thursday, April 19, 2012. Tohomina finished 7th grade and hopes she can help educate her daughter to be a doctor. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)

“The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” (2 Corinthians 8:15).

Famine is difficult for Americans to truly understand. Although poverty rates in the United States have surged with the Great Recession, programs like SNAP have helped put food on the table for those who have been hit the hardest. But famine — a perversion of God’s vision for humanity in the midst of global abundance – slowly and painfully withers life in the wake of human and natural disasters. For people who live in the world's poorest countries, the safety net is often weak or nonexistent.

Both the Old and New Testaments show a special concern for the poor; God’s people are called to change the systems that create poverty. Amos 5 tells us that we also are called to respond immediately to the groaning at the gates—an outcry exemplified by hunger. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul understood that the Christian call included responding to the need in Macedonia with a generosity that crossed borders (2 Corinthians 8-9).

Today, that humanitarian assistance often comes in the form of U.S. food aid and programs administered by USDA and USAID. For more than 50 years, U.S. generosity has saved lives. In fiscal year 2010, the United States spent about $1.5 billion on emergency food aid that benefitted about 46.5 million people in poor countries.

In 2011, famine in Somalia led to the death of more than 250,000 people in Southern Somalia, but many survived because of food aid and global generosity. Although rains and lowered food prices have helped, security issues still plague the region and continued vigilance on the part of the international community is vital.  IRIN reports that an estimated 870,000 will need food assistance by December of this year. 

As we have previously reported, the crisis is regional and the Horn of Africa has the highest rates of child malnutrition in the world. Programs targeting the nutritional needs of nursing mothers and infants are working. Last week, the UN reported that Ethiopia has reduced by two-thirds its child mortality rate, which is the rate of infants and children who die before age 5. 

The less than 1 percent of our budget that is invested in poverty-focused development assistance is saving lives and helping us answer our faithful call to love our neighbors, regardless of borders. The investments, however, are being diminished by sequestration, the automatic and indiscriminate budget cuts currently in place. If these cuts aren't replaced by a balanced approach, sequestration will deny nutritional interventions to 57,000 children and deny or reduce food aid to 2 million people. Congress must take action.

Congress is facing some big choices this week—lives are at stake.  Ask your senators and representative to pass a responsible budget that provides robust funding for international poverty-focused development assistance programs and puts an end to sequestration. Use our toll-free number, 800-826-3688, to be connected to the Capitol switchboard, or send an email.

Act Now: Tell Congress to Pass a Responsible Budget

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By Eric Mitchell

This week, Congress is expected to consider a continuing resolution that would fund the government at current levels through December, avoiding a government shutdown. While this is a temporary fix, it allows the across-the board-cuts known as sequestration to stand. If left in place, sequestration will continue to drastically cut programs that help the most vulnerable, such as the nation’s international poverty-focused development assistance programs.

The effects of sequestration are just beginning to become apparent. This year alone, sequestration will have the following effects around the world:

  • More than 570,000 children in developing countries will be denied nutritional interventions during their first 1,000 days of development. These interventions save lives and help prevent the irreversible damage caused by malnutrition.
  • Roughly 2 million people around the world will experience reduced or denied access to lifesaving food aid.

Congress must put an end to the budget brinksmanship and repeated short-term extensions. Ask your senators and representative to pass a responsible budget that provides robust funding for international poverty-focused development assistance programs and puts an end to sequestration.  Send an email or call now!

We expect Congress to vote on this proposal this week. Email or call your senators and representative today and urge them to support international poverty-focused development assistance. Use our toll-free number, 800-826-3688, to be connected to the Capitol switchboard, or send an email.

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

Quote of the Day: Leith Anderson

Leylanie_eating"During the Great Recession, the number of Americans needing food aid has understandably increased.  Millions of families survived very hard times thanks in part to this assistance. Children were protected from irreversible developmental damage.  Hunger-related health care costs were averted. We support efforts to reduce our annual deficits and enact structural reforms to bring our revenues and expenses back into balance. But we believe this can be done without further burdening our most vulnerable citizens, and without cutting appropriations for vital food assistance programs."

—Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, in a letter send to the House of Representatives this week, urging members to protect SNAP.

Yesterday, Christian leaders urged members of the House of Representatives to vote “no” on a proposed bill that will further cut SNAP by $40 billion over the next 10 years. In letters to their members of Congress, the Christian leaders expressed deep moral outrage over these proposed new cuts and their effects on the nation’s most vulnerable people. Copies of their letters are available online at www.circleofprotection.us.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the cuts that would impact nearly 4 million food insecure Americans later this week.  Email or call your representative today and urge him or her to vote against deep and harmful cuts to SNAP. Use our toll-free number, 800-826-3688, to be connected to the Capitol switchboard or click here to send an email.

Photo: Leylanie, 7, the daughter of hunger activist Barbie Izquierdo, eats cereal at her Lancaster, Pa., home. Izquierdo is a Philadelphia native whose firsthand experiences with hunger and poverty have made her an anti-hunger activist and nationwide speaker on the topic. Barbie has worked with Witness to Hunger in Philadelphia and talks about her time on SNAP in the documentary A Place at the Table (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World).

House to Vote on $40 Billion in SNAP Cuts

Capitol_bldg_flickr_usr_smaedliBy Eric Mitchell

Members of Congress returned to Washington, D.C., this week and their schedule is packed. One of the first things on the docket is a proposal to cut SNAP (formerly food stamps) by $40 billion. If approved, the cuts would be twice the amount included in a bill that House members voted on in June. We cannot allow Congress to pass such an extreme proposal.

On Tuesday, I was on Capitol Hill with Bread for the World staff opposing these outrageous cuts. Congress is under intense pressure to cut SNAP—it’s critical that you raise your voice and tell your representative to protect this vital program! Send an email or call now! If enacted, these cuts would kick millions of people off the program and place a greater burden on churches and charities that are already struggling to provide enough food assistance. For example:

  • Across the country, 2 to 4 million adults without dependents would lose benefits. SNAP already has strict work requirements but this proposal would require individuals to find work at times when jobs are scarce.
  • Nearly 2 million more people, primarily seniors and those in low-income working families, would lose benefits due to changes in eligibility rules.
  • In 2011, private churches and charities provided approximately $4 billion in food assistance, compared to $98 billion provided by federal nutrition programs. Churches and charities would have to nearly double their current food assistance to make up the difference.

On Nov. 1, all SNAP households will see their monthly benefits reduced whether this proposal passes or fails. Now is not the time to cut SNAP.

We expect the House to vote on this proposal as early as Wednesday. Email or call your representative today and urge him or her to vote against deep and harmful cuts to SNAP. Use our toll-free number, 800-826-3688, to be connected to the Capitol switchboard or click here to send an email.

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

Photo of U.S. Capitol taken by flickr user smaedli.

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