13 posts categorized "Grassroots Conference Call and Webinar"
The halls of Congress remain relatively quiet as members are in their home districts and states during the last couple of weeks before the midterm elections. They will return to Washington, D.C., on November 12 to get back to the nation’s business. Will they bring back a new commitment to end hunger?
Stephen Hill, Bread for the World’s senior organizer for elections, says that depends on how Bread members are engaging current and potential members of Congress in the next two weeks.
Speaking to Bread for the World members during the monthly legislative update, Hill said, “Making hunger an elections issue requires advocates to build capacity, build relationships, and build for the future.” Hill has been pioneering new practices to make hunger an election issue in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, just outside Washington, D.C.
Bread for the World believes we can end hunger by 2030 by building political will to make ending hunger a priority for our nation’s lawmakers. Sending lawmakers to Washington, D.C., with a mandate to end hunger begins on the campaign trail when voters engage them on the issues publicly. Hill urged advocates to use the election resources designed to make hunger an issue in the next few weeks and in the next couple of years as we head toward the presidential elections of 2016.
Senior domestic policy analyst Christine Meléndez Ashley told Bread members what to expect in the post-election landscape.
In November, Congress will return to the nation’s capital for what is referred to as a lame duck session: the final session of the previous Congress before the newly elected 114th Congress begins work in the new year. The first order of business will be the budget, which was extended earlier in the year but expires on December 2. Congress must also pass the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act and work on a bill to renew $85 billion in tax breaks for individuals and businesses before the short session ends, which is expected to be on December 11.
Several issues that affect hungry people remain unresolved in the 113th Congress.
With two pieces of legislation affecting international hunger, Meléndez urged Bread for the World members to continue asking their members of Congress to cosponsor key bills: In the Senate, The Food for Peace Reform Act (S. 2421) would free up much-needed food-aid resources to feed millions more people in need. Also in the Senate and House is The Feed the Future Global Food Security Act of 2014 (S. 2909/ H.R. 5656) – legislation that will give the U.S. government the tools and resources it needs to better combat chronic hunger and malnutrition as well as to expand and better coordinate U.S. investments in improving global food security. Bread for the World will continue to press members on passing immigration legislation that addresses hunger both here and in sending countries.
The next national grassroots conference call and webinar is scheduled for November 18.
The November elections are a little over two weeks away. The outcome could shift the make-up of Congress, significantly affecting our advocacy efforts to end hunger in the United States and around the world. What is the prognosis, and what can you do in the coming days to promote anti-hunger champions in Congress?
Join us today for Bread for the World’s monthly national call and webinar. Hear the latest news from Capitol Hill, and get our elections predictions as they relate to ending hunger.
We hope you can join us today, Tuesday, October 21 at 4 p.m.(EDT).
Lavida Davis is the director of organizing and grassroots capacity building at Bread for the World
Congress returned to Washington last week with no shortage of issues to address. But the House and Senate will be in session only for a couple of weeks before heading home to campaign.
What will members of Congress do in the few days they’re in Washington? How will they respond to the current crises here and around the world? How do the upcoming midterm elections impact things? Most importantly, what can you do to affect their legislative agenda?
Join us this month for Bread for the World's montly national call and webinar. Hear the latest inside news from Capitol Hill and predictions for the coming months. Get an additional elections update, and learn more about how you can raise hunger as an elections issue.
We hope you can join us on Tuesday, September 16 at 4 p.m.(EDT).
Lavida Davis is the director of organizing and grassroots capacity building at Bread for the World
Summer is usually a quiet time with fewer things going on. But hunger issues don’t take a break, and July and August present good opportunities to prepare yourself and others for important work this fall in the midterm congressional elections.
To prepare yourself, start by attending Bread’s monthly conference call and webinar next Tuesday, July 15 at 4:00 p.m. ET. This month’s call/webinar has the theme of Elevating Hunger in the 2014 Elections. You will learn ways you can raise the issues of hunger and poverty with candidates running for office. You’ll meet Bread’s new senior organizer for elections, Stephen Hill. And you’ll hear how other Bread members are engaging candidates and cultivating hunger champions this election season.
With the information you receive on the call and through the materials that Bread is producing for the 2014 elections, you’ll have what you need to equip yourself for work in the campaign leading up to the November elections. And then you’ll be prepared to help congressional candidates understand the issues of hunger and poverty.
As it has in the past, Bread is again turning to the congressional elections this year and the presidential election in 2016 as an opportune time and place to raise the issues of hunger and poverty with those who will take office and make decisions in the federal government. Bread is getting involved in these elections and is encouraging its members to engage with candidates as part of its plan to have a Congress and new president in place by 2017 who make hunger a top priority. This is a major step on the road of helping to end hunger by 2030.
Bread is using these summer months to help its members and activists get up and running for engagement with the candidates as congressional campaigns heat up. In August, candidates will be traveling around your district, campaigning hard for your vote, and that is a great time to get hunger on their agendas.
LaVida Davis is the director of organizing and grassroots capacity.
Photo: Praying for immigration reform in front ot the U.S. Captiol in Washington, D.C. (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World)
Gabriel and Jeanette Salguero, pastors at The Lamb’s Church in New York City, spoke at Bread for the World’s 2011 Gathering at American University on Sunday, June 12, 2011. (Rick Reinhard)
“Our broken immigration system is breaking apart families,” Rev. Gabriel Salguero told listeners during the April 15 national grassroots conference call and webinar.
Rev. Salguero stressed that it is urgent that the House of Representatives take up–and pass–immigration reform this year. Salguero, a leading voice in the call to reform U.S. immigration policy, is president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC).
Bread for the World believes immigration reform will reduce hunger and poverty. We ask Bread advocates to urge their representatives to pass legislation this year. The Senate has already passed a bill, but legislation continues to stall in the House.
“Inaction is not an option,” Rev. Salguero told advocates. Outdated immigration policy leaves millions of undocumented people in the shadows, where hunger and poverty persists. Roughly a third of the estimated 11 to 12 million people living and working in the United States without documentation live below the poverty line. Deportations rip families apart. DREAMers–the 1.8 million young people brought to the United States as children–live in fear of being banished from the country that is their home.
Addressing the likelihood of moving an immigration bill during an election year, Salguero noted that the last time immigration legislation passed, there were midterm elections. However, advocates must build the momentum for action. “We use leverage at the local level – such as town hall meetings,” said Salguero, “Tell Congress the faith community wants a vote.”
When Congress returns from the Easter recess next week, there are several urgent issues that need attention in order for progress to be made in the exodus from hunger: budget appropriations, an unemployment extension, a minimum wage bill, food-aid reform, and immigration reform should all be given high priority by leadership.
In June, immigration reform will take center stage at this year’s National Gathering. Presenters include Rev. Salguero and immigration-rights leader Gaby Pacheco. Attendees to the Washington D.C. conference will also spend a day on Capitol Hill telling lawmakers that immigration reform is the moral thing to do and the time to act is now.
A conversation about immigration reform and inaction by Congress so close to Easter had particular poignancy to Rev. Salguero, who told webinar participants, “It is time to resurrect the conversation about immigration reform.”
On the third Tuesday of each month, in an effort to best serve our grassroots and give them a legislative update, the organizing and government relations departments at Bread for the World host a conference call and webinar. The next call will take place on May 13.
President Obama recently released his budget, and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) just released a report evaluating America's social safety net. As the budget debate begins, now is the time to bring our voices of faith to the discussion, or ending hunger will become a casualty of the negotiations over the fiscal year 2015 budget.
Join us this month for a special budget-focused conference call and webinar, Toward a Faithful Budget: Having an Influence. Our experts will review the current budget proposals and how anti-hunger programs fare in them. We'll provide practical actions you can take to influence your member of Congress and explain the budget timeline.
Our vision is a world without hunger. We have seen the strength of faith-filled advocacy in protecting funding for anti-hunger programs as Congress has proposed cut after cut. Your advocacy matters and makes a difference. Join us this month to learn how you can impact hunger in the budget again.
LaVida Davis is the director of organizing and grassroots capacity building at Bread for the World.
Photo: Rev. David Beckmann, along with government relations and organizing staff, update faithful activists during January’s grassroots conference call and webinar from Bread for the World’s office in Washington, D.C. (Christine Melendez-Ashley)
Join Bread for the World this afternoon, at 4 p.m. ET, for a webinar and conference call on reforming U.S. food aid. Once you have registered, join the webinar (enter your activation code when prompted) or use the call-in number and follow along with the slides below.
If you have any questions or have problems obtaining the call-in and log-in information, please contact our Marion Jasin, Bread for the World's organizing coordinator, at (202) 688-1106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also follow the webinar on social media. We will be live tweeting the call using the hashtag #BreadWeb.
On the third Tuesday of each month, in an effort to best serve our grassroots and give them a legislative update, the organizing and government relations departments at Bread for the World host a conference call and webinar from our Washington, D.C. headquarters. Pictured from left to right: Amelia Kegan, Eric Mitchell, and Rev. David Beckmann (Christine Melendez-Ashley).
Yesterday, anti-hunger activists across the nation had the opportunity to converse with Bread for the World’s president, Rev. David Beckmann, during this month’s National Grassroots Conference Call and Webinar. Spurred by questions from participants, topics such as this year’s congressional elections to ending extreme poverty worldwide by 2030 filled the hour’s discussion.
Beckmann began with encouraging lessons from 2013. Although the economic crises has left the United States with higher rates of poverty, proposals in the House to cut anti-hunger programs by $1.5 trillion in the past three years have largely failed. “Even if we lost the current battles we are facing, the total cuts to poverty programs would be only 3 percent of what has been proposed,“ he said. “That would not have happened without the grassroots leadership that you provide.”
The 2014 challenges he went on to outline include: reforming U.S. food aid in this year’s Offering of Letters, an extension of emergency unemployment insurance, protecting food stamps and urging U.S. food aid reforms in the farm bill, funding for anti-hunger programs through the appropriations process, and urging the House to pass immigration-reform legislation that addresses hunger both here and abroad.
Recent bipartisanship has been encouraging as well. “We are seeing a new ability in the parties to come together for agreement,” noted Beckmann. The release of last night’s omnibus appropriations bill, averting another fiscal crises, is an example of Congress moving away from a climate of partisan brinkmanship. (The bill, expected to pass both chambers, is being reviewed by Bread for the World; an analysis of how anti-hunger programs fared will be available on our website soon.)
An increase in speeches on poverty indicates that both Congress and the president are hearing the anti-hunger community. Besides an uptick in speeches by President Obama, high-profile Republicans, namely Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (Wisc.), have also highlighted poverty in recent appearances. “I didn’t agree with all they said, but Rubio did not talk about cutting programs for poor people, and Ryan talked about the importance of the EITC [earned income tax credit],“ remarked Beckman. Failing to prioritize hunger isn’t the fault of a single party. “Three years ago, when we started asking for a circle of protection around hunger programs,” he continued, “we couldn’t get Democrats to talk about poverty.”
With elections on the minds of many in Washington, Beckmann sees an increase in national conversations about poverty as an encouraging sign and a result of constituent outcries in the last election. “We need a better Congress,” he said before encouraging activists to look at how members of Congress have voted and to elect members who prioritize ending hunger.
In the last two decades, extreme poverty has been cut in half, and it’s not just the developing countries that have made strides in reducing hunger, pointed out Beckmann. “It is quite possible to reduce poverty,” he concluded – a challenge we can’t afford to ignore.
Watch this special video thank you from Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.
“We’ve been sending you a lot of emails lately,” begins Rev. David Beckmann in a special video thank you to Bread members. The past year many urgent pieces of legislation were in front of Congress that had consequences for poverty and hunger. Bread for the World called on Bread members to raise their voices, and you responded. You made a difference.
“Together we have an impact,” says Beckmann. The central idea behind our mission to end hunger is that we yield tremendous power as a community of faith when we send a message to Congress that hunger and poverty must and can be alleviated. “We change laws and systems in ways that provide help and opportunity for millions of hungry people,” says Beckmann before highlighting the impact your voices have made in the past year.
There is more work to do to protect and help hungry people in the next year. The year of 2014 includes a packed agenda, starting with a busy January. Beckmann will join organizing and government relations staff next Tuesday, January 14, for this month’s National Grassroots Conference Call and Webinar.
This month you will hear about:
- The 2014 Offering of Letters: Reforming U.S. Food Aid. We will outline the goals and let you know when you should expect to see a kit in your mailbox.
- Emergency unemployment extension: Every week that Congress delays an extension, 72,000 people lose their benefits. How can the anti-hunger community make a difference?
- The farm bill: Can Congress pass a farm bill that largely protects SNAP and makes common sense reforms to U.S. food aid?
- 2014 appropriations: How can we ensure Congress adequately funds PFDA, WIC, Head Start, and other programs that help end hunger?
- Comprehensive immigration reform: How can anti-hunger advocates urge the House to craft immigration legislation that contributes to the end of hunger both here and abroad?
Watch Beckmann’s video message that thanks you for all you have done and will continue to do as we embark on a new year full of new challenges and opportunities to end hunger. “2014 needs to be the year our country gets serious about hunger and poverty,” says Beckmann. You can help make that happen. Begin by registering for the January 14 conference call and webinar today.
Watch this informative video on sequestration, "Stop the Cuts," created by NDD United, a Bread for the World partner organization.
"Enough is enough," said Amelia Kegan, Bread for the World senior policy analyst, during November's grassroots national conference call and webinar.
Sequestration – the automatic cuts enacted by default because Congress was unable to negotiate a budget last year – is harming Americans and increasing the numbers of families that experience hunger. Recent cuts to SNAP (food stamps), the program that helps 49 million struggling Americans put food on the table, will be felt just days before a national holiday that celebrates abundance. And immigration reform, which could boost the economy and decrease hunger for more than 11 million undocumented workers, languishes in a "new normal" of delays and partisanship bickering.
Kegan's frustration with Congress makes sense – it's likely a feeling many of us share. It is frustrating for Christians to watch this Congress act to reverse the automatic cuts that inconvenienced air travelers, while our seniors who depend on Wheels on Meals, and mothers who participate in the WIC nutrition program, continue to suffer. It sends a message that reducing wait times to board airplanes trumps the alleviation of hunger and poverty.
But the efforts of compassionate advocates have helped keep many cuts at bay. The next couple of weeks will require a vocal outpouring of protest from anti-hunger advocates. We must tell Congress that we have had enough.
"Time is running out," Kegan told participants on the call. Congress must pass a 2014 budget and finalize the farm bill before the end of the year, or we face the possibility of another government shutdown. The budget conference must provide a compromise by Dec. 13, which means they have fewer than 10 legislative days to reach an agreement. Kegan worries legislators will be in such a hurry that they may not reach a compromise that protects SNAP, reforms food aid, and replaces sequestration with a balance of revenue and smart cuts.
Kegan highlighted the report "Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer and Less Secure," which tells the stories of people who have been affected by these cuts. We forget that federal investments maintain the health and wellbeing of our communities. Sequestration – now lauded by some in Congress as efficient deficit reduction – has had profound costs for individuals, communities, and our nation, creating a drag on the economy and hampering job growth.
An increase in jobs is the economic boost this country needs – an idea that is central to the 2014 Hunger Report, which will be released Monday. Immigration reform with a path to citizenship will also help the economy and take a bite out of hunger. Many organizations, including Bread for the World, are participating in Fast for Families, a movement to pressure the House to act on immigration reform.
Every month, we hold a conference call and webinar to update our members. The next call will be Dec. 17 at 4 p.m. EST. Slides from this week’s call can be seen below.
Get updates on issues and actions to take on behalf of hungry people.