Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

32 posts categorized "Fundraising"

Help Bread this Christmas and Receive a Special Gift

Travel show host Rick Steves in Ireland (photo courtesy of Rick Steves).

By Rick Steves

If these times seem tough for our friends and family, imagine how tough they are for hungry and poor people. To add meaning to the holiday season, every Christmas I raise funds for Bread for the World through my traveling friends and network at Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door. This year the needs are particularly great. But that means the rewards are too! I'd love to send you a special Christmas package as thanks for a $100 gift to empower Bread's work. This gift package was so popular last year that I want to offer it again so you too can get on board—and even share this challenge with your loved ones.

I believe hungry people need a strong and compassionate advocate like Bread for the World—especially when there are so many interests competing for attention on Capitol Hill.

While the charitable work we do as caring people is important, we must remember that all the food provided by all the charities in our country amounts to only 4 percent of the food assistance available for poor and hungry people. Our government provides the rest. That means Bread's advocacy work has a huge impact on caring for the most vulnerable people among us. I'm convinced that supporting Bread is the very best way to leverage my charitable giving. That's why I've been a Bread member for 30 years.

I'd like to offer you this personal challenge: I'll match all gifts up to $100,000. I'm that excited about this opportunity to give hungry people a voice in our halls of government. Imagine, as an extended family of caring (and traveling) citizens, together we can empower Bread for the World’s work with $200,000.

David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, recently told me how Bread's work is particularly needed now and how our financial support can translate into real help so desperately needed:

"We are at a point at which ideologues in Congress are threatening deep cuts in programs that provide help and opportunity to poor people in our country and abroad—programs such as SNAP [formerly food stamps] and international food-aid," he said. "Of course, all Americans can be enthusiastic about our government running a tight fiscal ship. But if the budget is to be balanced on the backs of poor people, innocent children will suffer, and the civility woven into the fabric of our society will be threatened."

I see Bread for the World not as a charity, but as a service. Bread is transforming my concern about hunger into effective action by smartly—and doggedly–working to protect struggling people in our country and around the world.

So here's my challenge to you this Christmas: Help Bread for the World with your gift of $100 or more. As a thank you, I'll match that gift and send you three gifts (worth $50) from my Rick Steves' European Christmas collection:

  • "Rick Steves' European Christmas" DVD (our PBS-TV special celebrating a traditional, non-commercial, and sacred Christmas in seven different countries)
  • "Rick Steves' European Christmas" coffee-table book (the fun insights and best photos I gathered while producing the special)
  • "Rick Steves' European Christmas" music CD (produced while filming, featuring our 20 favorite European carols—this is my personal favorite for fresh new Christmas-time music)

I'll happily pay for the cost of these three gifts, as well as the shipping, so that Bread for the World can put 100 percent of your donation to work giving a voice to hungry people. Make your gift by Dec. 10 to receive this offer—and you'll get everything (along with our latest travel newsletter) in time for Christmas.

It's my hope that these gifts will add a wonderful new twist to your family celebrations for years to come (as they have for mine), while also enticing you to empower Bread for the World with your donation.

By the way, for every dollar Bread raises, it leverages $100 in terms of assistance and funding that is vital to hungry and poor people in our country and abroad. Assuming that ratio holds, if we hit our $200,000 target, that will mean that, together, we’ll generate $20 million of life-giving, hope-instilling funding for this cause.

Rick Steves is the host of public television's most-watched, longest-running travel series, "Rick Steves' Europe," and the author of more than 50 travel guidebooks.

Supporters Buy Bread for the World’s Shepherd Boy Christmas Card

By Vince Mezzera


The image of the shepherd and lamb that graces Bread for the World’s 2013 Christmas cards resonated with Barbara Rockow, a Phoenix, Ariz., resident who has served on Bread’s board. Instead of sending a card bearing a family picture this year, she decided to send Bread’s card to her extensive list of family and friends. "I hope that the recipients will understand that my husband and I are sending a message of good news, which will bring joy," Rockow says. "And I want folks to know that I am still a strong supporter of Bread."

New supporters are finding Bread for the World through the Christmas cards, too. "I decided this year to send Christmas cards that supported a cause," says Julie Forzano of Birmingham, Mich. "I really just wanted the money I spend on Christmas cards to make a contribution to a worthy cause, and I felt that Bread for the World was such an organization." While she isn’t trying to send a message to the friends and family on her Christmas card list, Forzano adds, "if they receive one that would be an added blessing."

Regional church offices, denominational bodies, and other religious organizations choose to order and send Bread for the World cards in large quantities. Last year, Kirby Hughes Gould, vice president of the Christian Church Foundation in Kansas City, Mo., found Bread’s cards to be a cost-effective and convenient option for thanking donors and church investors. She opted to order from Bread again this year.

While the image of the young shepherd has captivated the hearts of a diverse group, Bread for the World’s past Christmas card designs still remain favorites, too. To view all five designs available, visit www.bread.org/cards.

Vince Mezzera is Bread for the World’s manager of member resources.

Race Results: 100 Miles of Gratitude

13 MilesBy Amelia Kegan

On Oct. 5 and 6, I successfully ran 100.6 miles, completing the Oil Creek ultramarathon. I dedicated this race to Bread for the World and its race to end hunger. Running 100 miles isn’t easy, but throughout the race I thought about why I was running, and that — along with some excellent pacers — kept my spirits and my energy high.

It took me 31 hours and 20 minutes to finish, but I did it — we did it! Crossing that finish line a little before 12:30 p.m. on the afternoon of Oct. 6 was an emotional experience. It really did bring tears to my eyes.

There are so many highlights to share from that experience: the volunteer dressed as a pirate at the mile 42 aid station, the 10-year-old girl who paced her father through the final eight miles, the gorgeous landscape and fall foliage next to the running creek, the flying stuffed monkey my pacers brought to push me through the night, and all of the jokes and words of encouragement among the runners. Moments of inspiration and compassion filled the day and night, a welcome switch from the partisanship and fiscal fights defining Capitol Hill these days.

I was reminded of many lessons. The first is that the human body is able to endure and is capable of so much more than we give it credit for. But most importantly, I was reminded that we cannot realize the most meaningful victories alone.

I know we are capable of so much as a network of believers — I see it each time we join together and call on Congress or the administration to end hunger. Each victory, like our recent advocacy around re-opening the government and raising the debt ceiling, is shared and should be relished. I know we will do the same in January by advocating for the political will to pass a responsible budget that protects anti-hunger programs. With sequestration continuing and the end of the current budget extension looming, our race to end hunger continues.

I am grateful to be a part of a community of people of faith who have the audacity to believe that together, we can end hunger.

I crossed the 100.6 mile finish line and it was because of your support and prayers. Thank you for believing in me. And thank you for your gift to Bread for the World and your commitment to ending hunger. If you didn’t get a chance to donate, there’s still time here.

Below is a video of the finish that I wanted to share with you. It's an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment and one I hope we will share when Congress does the right thing in January because of the endurance of faithful advocates who are capable of so much.

Amelia Kegan is a senior policy analyst in the government relations department at Bread for the World.

Photo:  Amelia Kegan reaches the 13th mile maker during the Oil Creek Ultramarathon October 5, 2013. (Kari Bert)

Run, Amelia, Run!

AmeliaBy Robin Stephenson

On a foggy, drizzly October day nearly a year ago, I stood on a hillside in Boise, Idaho, and watched my friend and co-worker Amelia Kegan run. She wasn’t fast. She didn't have headphones streaming the latest pop tunes to her ears to motivate her steps. With eyes focused, looking through the haze, she steadily moved forward in the quiet of the morning. I can best describe what I saw as focused purpose and determination and it occurred to me at that moment: she runs like she works to end hunger.

We had been presenting at an anti-hunger summit and I noticed how people really listened when Amelia spoke. I’ve heard it since; in her voice is the conviction that we can end hunger with enough political will. For Amelia, the track is in front of us. As faithful advocates, we must go the distance.

This weekend, Oct. 5 and 6, Amelia is running 100 miles in a Pennsylvania ultramarathon and she is dedicating  her race to Bread for the World. I’m sponsoring her—100 percent of the  proceeds will go to help end hunger—and invite you to join me.

The staff and membership of Bread for the World are full of people like Amelia and working here means being encouraged by each other’s faith. There are moments when the fog seems to block our view and we need to be reminded that advocating to end hunger is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

We are here because somewhere a kid is starting her school day dizzy for lack of food, a mother is staring into an empty refrigerator after working a full day, and drought and hunger are driving a hungry family down a dusty road –  and all of these things are unacceptable. So we keep moving forward with purpose and determination.

Over the years, Bread members have come up with some creative ways to raise money to support our work to end hunger — a child has donated the contents of her piggy bank and a member has biked across the United States to benefit our work. In a recent staff meeting, Amelia explained why she donates monthly to Bread. She said, “my check is my statement that I believe not just in our mission but in the organization, in the people who make it up, in our ability to produce legislative victories and ultimately to help end hunger in our time.”

I agree with her. I won’t run 100 miles, but I will stay in that race and go the distance with my friend Amelia. I will pray, encourage, and sponsor Amelia as she runs 100 miles and you can join me. I have no doubt she can finish and with each footfall on the Oil Creek trail, I’m reminded of our mutual journey to build a better world.

If you are on are Twitter, @bread4theworld will tweet Amelia’s progress this weekend with the hashtag,#runamelia. The Oil Creek ultramathon has a live web feed and Amelia is running under bib 67. I know she’ll be getting a tweet from me and it will read, "Run, Amelia, run!

Robin Stephenson is national social media lead and senior regional organizer, western hub, at Bread for the World.

Photo: Amelia Kegan, after finishing the Chicago Marathon (Courtesy of Amelia Kegan)

Impact Hunger a Dozen Times

Alice Benson's Photo cropBy Alice Benson

I  have supported Bread for the World with a monthly gift since the ‘90s. The Baker’s Dozen monthly giving program is a convenient, easy way to give and it allows me to give a little bit more, since my gift is spread throughout the year. I don’t have to worry about keeping track of my gifts, since the donation is automatic, and I like knowing that I’m doing something good every month.

Most charities receive a huge influx of funds in times of crisis or at the end of the year, but it’s important that they receive support year-round. Monthly gifts help them continue their good work even during the times of slow giving. I give a monthly gift to Bread for the World, an organization near and dear to my heart, to ensure that they always have a reliable foundation of support for their work. I know my monthly gift helps Bread to operate effectively and plan efficiently for the future.

Many of you already make a difference in the world through your prayers, social ministries, direct service work, or by writing to your members of Congress — a monthly gift to Bread for the World is yet another way to help hungry people.

I hope you will join me in giving a monthly gift. It’s easy to do! Together we can have an even greater impact on hunger. Thanks for considering this opportunity to help hungry people.

Alice Benson is a Bread for the World and Baker's Dozen member.

We Only Need $25 From 68 People by Midnight

Smiling kid

By David Beckmann

There are fewer than 13 hours until this matching opportunity is over—and we're so close to reaching the full $85,000! Compassionate Bread members like you have already given more than $83,300. Can you donate right now to help us reach the goal by midnight?

If just 68 people give $25, we will reach our goal! Will you be one of the 68 and help right now with whatever you can afford?

We’re fighting hard for programs that help hungry and poor people, and the timing couldn’t be more urgent. Just yesterday, the House passed a farm bill without SNAP, purposely leaving a SNAP-only bill exposed to cuts at astronomical levels! We are pushing back hard, and with your support, we can make a huge difference. Thank you for giving generously.

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

Final Matching Gift Hours: Don't Wait!

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By Rev. David Beckmann

Only a few hours remain to double your donation! Don’t miss out on this chance for your gift to go twice as far for hungry people. A few generous donors will match everything we raise—up to $85,000—by July 12.

Thanks to hundreds of kind and noble people like you, more than $78,000 has been given so far!

Will you step up in these final hours to help raise money to fight for hungry people?

We can only count gifts made by midnight tomorrow, so please don’t wait to give. You’ve taken a stand for hungry people by taking action, and now I hope you’ll take the next step and make a donation. It will make a huge difference if you give now, when your gift will be doubled and go twice as far.

Thank you for your meaningful support—we're so glad we can count on you!

Rev. David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

The Greatest Nation?

Participants in Bread for the World's 2011 Lobby Day. Pictured (from left to right) Eileen Smith LeVan of Reading, Pa.,Jeff McGlaughlin of Spring City, Pa., Sonja Spangler of Pa.,   and Miriam Fiorentino of Wyomissing, PA. (Jim Stipe)

By Jim Lund

Are you ready for the 4th of July? It’s such a fun and meaningful holiday—a day of barbeques, fireworks, and celebration of the freedoms that come with living in the greatest nation in the world.

But how great are we if we sit by and allow 16.7 million children in the United States to be at risk of hunger? Why are people going hungry in our great nation?

We must take a stand and act. I invite you to make a gift right now to help Bread take these actions:

  1. Fight to protect funding for programs that help families lift themselves out of hunger and poverty.
  2. Talk to members of Congress every week and urge them to make decisions that protect hungry and poor people.
  3. Raise awareness about hunger across the United States— from your community to the other side of the country. The more people talk about hunger, the more lives we can change.

The best part is that right now your gift to support these efforts will be doubled—up to $85,000—by a few generous members! Will you take a stand for hungry people and donate today?

I hope you will also take two minutes to call your members of Congress at 1-800-326-4941. Let them know that no one should go hungry and that nutrition programs can’t take any more cuts.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July. And please do your part to help make this country truly the greatest.

Jim Lund is Bread for the World's vice president for Development and Membership.

Double Your Impact: Protecting Food Aid and WIC

Final SM Email 2 Graphic

At Bread for the World, ending malnutrition is an essential part of the work to end hunger at home and abroad.

Globally, an estimated 165 million children under the age of five are stunted. Inadequate nutrition during the 1,000 day-window from a woman's pregnancy through her child’s second birthday impairs development. Research shows that adults who did not receive adequate nutrition as children can lose up to 10 percent of their lifetime earnings. In the United States, child poverty rates are on the rise, yet the WIC program, proven to lower infant mortality rates and improve school performance, is in danger of losing funding because of sequestration. When a nation’s children begin their lives with challenges created by malnutrition and hunger, it becomes more difficult to make good on the promise of a prosperous future.

But faithful advocacy has the power to change the future.

To advance the millennium development goals of eradicating hunger and extreme poverty while also reducing child mortality and malnutrition, food aid with improved nutrition that targets vulnerable mothers and children must be central to development programs—and it must be properly funded. Yet, unless Congress acts to end sequestration it is estimated that more than 571 thousand children could lose food interventions that can prevent the irreversible damage caused by malnutrition.

God’s kingdom is without borders; nutrition during the first 1,000 days matters as much if you live in Bangladesh or Baltimore. The WIC program provides nearly 9 million pregnant or nursing mothers and vulnerable children access to adequate nutrition, education, and health care referrals.  As sequestration continues, it will erode the effectiveness of the program.  Congress must replace the automatic cuts with a balanced plan that includes revenues.

Both chambers of Congress are working on spending bills, and the House numbers assume sequestration is here to stay. And unlike the provision in sequestration whereby cuts are split evenly between defense and non-defense programs in the budget, the House proposal moves all cuts to non-defense programs. A unified and faithful chorus of voices must again tell Congress that the federal budget cannot be balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable.

Being faithful advocates during one of the most polarized political periods in history, with a constant barrage of proposals to cut programs for poor and hungry, is difficult, but we know that your advocacy on behalf of hungry and poor people works. Even with $2.7 trillion in deficit reduction already enacted, programs that help hungry and poor people have been largely protected. Calls and emails helped stop a recent proposal to cut the SNAP program by $20.5 billion, protecting the program at current levels, for now.

These victories and the challenges ahead in the journey to end hunger are possible because of the engagement and support of Bread for the World members. Please consider joining our summer effort to help hungry people by making a gift to Bread. Because of a few generous donors, between now and July 12 your donation will be doubled!

Thank You For Your Generosity

Mary, 3, plays in the trees near her home in Kamuli, Uganda. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)

Thank you for your extra generosity at the end of the year!  Because of gifts from you and other Bread members, we were able to reach and exceed our $100,000 online goal between December 20 and 31, raising more than $120,000. This means that $100,000 of the total will be matched dollar for dollar by several generous Bread donors, bringing our grand total raised to $220,000! 

Bread for the World continues to be blessed by the giving spirit of our members.  You make our work on behalf of hungry and poor people possible.  It is because of you that we’ve been able to make lasting changes that ensure parents are able to feed their children—like the recent extensions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit, both of which provide support to low-income working families. 

Your support makes a huge difference for hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad. We are truly grateful for your partnership in our work to help end hunger. Thank you!

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