Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

37 posts categorized "Fundraising"

Quote of the Day: Rick Steves

Holy City

Night sets over Antigua, Guatemala, at the Cerro de la Cruz (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World).

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.

-- 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.

Help fill the hungry with good things this holiday season. Your year-end gift supports Bread for the World’s efforts to change the policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist. Every dollar you give helps Bread win more than $100 in assistance for hungry and poor people. Will you help with a special gift?

One More Present

Puddle

Two neighborhood boys play in puddles after a downpour in Guatemala. (Joe Molieri/Bread for the World)

By David Beckmann

Christmas is upon us — the wonderful and holy time that commemorates Christ's birth in the world. As you gather with your loved ones, I pray you will see how you have been blessed, and will open your hearts to do what you can for those less fortunate.

This Christmas, I hope you will make a generous donation to support the work of Bread for the World.

Last week, you heard from Sharon Thornberry, who dealt with hunger as she was raising her two young children. She received help from nutrition programs, such as SNAP (food stamps), and was able to overcome hunger.

That's why your gift today matters. When you support Bread, you are strengthening our efforts to protect programs that lift people like Sharon, and her family, out of poverty.

Thank you for your kindness and compassion for hungry people. I'm so thankful you've chosen to be a part of Bread for the World. Because of you, we've achieved great things through our advocacy work this year.

  • As a result of our conversations with the administration, President Obama's State of the Union address called for an end to extreme poverty in our own country and around the world.
  • Bread's petition to the president, which asks President Obama to set a goal and work with Congress on a plan to end hunger, has been signed by nearly 40,000 people.
  • A vote in the House of Representatives to drastically cut food stamps was much closer than anyone expected. Thousands of letters and phone calls from you and other Bread members made the difference. A number of key representatives changed their votes because they heard from Bread members.

Please take a moment now to give just one more gift — a donation to Bread — so we can help fill the hungry with good things this Christmas season.

May your soul magnify the Lord, and your spirit rejoice in God our savior.

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

Hungry in a Grocery Store

Distribution_picBy Sharon Thornberry

When my children were just 3 and 5 years old, we experienced real hunger for the first time. I was working at a grocery store, but often couldn’t afford to buy the food that was all around me. Food stamps (now called SNAP) changed that. They allowed me and my children to have nutritious meals while we were trying to transition back to normalcy.

Unfortunately, when my boss at the grocery store learned that I was using food stamps to make purchases there, I was told that I'd be fired if I did it again. The stigma attached to using food stamps sometimes prevents people from seeing the good SNAP does, and how well the program supports families during rough times.

I became a member of Bread for the World so that I could help hungry people. I know what it is like to struggle to put food on the table, and I want to help others understand that experience — and motivate them to act.

This Christmas season, I hope you will join us in fighting hunger and poverty, and support Bread with a special gift.

I believe that the quality of our lives is dependent on the quality of the lives of our neighbors — whether they are next door, or on the next continent. We are all God's children, and we must take care of one another. This is what Bread for the World's advocacy work is all about.

As you know, Bread is working to stop Congress from making further cuts to the SNAP program, while also educating people about the importance of tackling the root causes of hunger. Bread is a leader in advocacy for hungry people, and is able to do incredible work because of support from people like you.

I'm not wealthy, but I choose to make a monthly gift to Bread. I give what I can. If you are able to make a special gift this Christmas, please donate now, and support Bread's critical work.

I hope you'll also join us in our prayer that God empowers us and inspires our leaders to fill the hungry with good things.

Sharon Thornberry is a Bread for the World board member and community food systems manager at Oregon Food Bank.

Author Shares Book Proceeds with Bread

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Jason Dykstra is a diagnostic radiologist and youth mentor based in Holland, Mich. He is also a Bread for the World member.  He recently published a book entitled Healing Hereafter—and advised Bread for the World that part of the book’s proceeds will directly benefit our work to end hunger in God’s world. Recently, we spoke with Jason about the project.

Can you tell us about the book?

Sure. Healing Hereafter is an exploration of God’s biblical plan. In an atmosphere of positivity and gratitude, it combines answering some of the complex questions about the Christian faith with encouraging positive action. My hope is that the book stimulates considerations and ways to improve the world.

 How did you decide the book profits would go to four nonprofit organizations?

One of the major goals of the book is to raise awareness and donations for organizations approaching world problems in strategic and cost-effective ways. Bread for the World was one of four I thought were ideal. Already, people are responding positively to the book’s charitable aspect. Knowing they are contributing makes them feel good!  

Why do you support Bread for the World?

About three years ago, my wife and I decided to look at issues the Bible calls us to care about. Hunger was a big one. Then we looked to see what was being done about those issues. It was easy to find groups providing direct aid. But Bread for the World had a model we found unique and easy to get behind. Bread for the World embraces comprehensive, long-term relief. We are proud to be monthly donors. 

To read Jason’s blog, or purchase Healing Hereafter, visit jasondykstrawrites.com. The book is also available on Amazon.com.

 

‘Tis Better to Give: Celebrate Giving Tuesday

Givingtuesday

By Jim Lund

Retailers have made the week after Thanksgiving a time for big shopping days to start out the holiday shopping season. Why not have a day for giving back?

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day when charities, businesses, families, and individuals come together to give back. Want to join them? It’s simple–just find a way to give back.

Giving Tuesday provides a way for Americans to do more with their wallets than just shop.  It offers a break from the holiday shopping season and directs our attention back to the things that matters most: spreading love and joy through simple acts of kindness and goodwill.

Bread for the World Institute is proud to be a partner in Giving Tuesday. The Institute works year-round to find solutions that help people suffering from hunger and poverty both across the street and across the ocean. Our just-released 2014 Hunger Report focuses on ending hunger in the United States. The report offers a clear, achievable four-step plan to make hunger a rare and temporary phenomenon, rather than the widely shared national experience it is today. Your gifts help make this work possible.

Please consider a gift today to help provide Bread for the World Institute with the resources we need to continue to educate our opinion leaders, policy makers, and the public about hunger.

I hope that you will join us for Giving Tuesday. Underneath the superficiality of the shopping season lies the Christmas season, during which we celebrate God’s greatest gift to us. 

Jim Lund is vice-president for development and membership at Bread for the World.

Help Bread this Christmas and Receive a Special Gift

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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

Christmas

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.

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