Bread for the World Sunday

bread.org         Bread for the World        21 April 2019

BreadIndiana.org    Fast Once A Month

 

2019 Offering of Letters: Better Nutrition, Better Tomorrow    Bread for the World urges our government to accelerate progress toward ending hunger by increasing funding for global child nutrition programs.  All children deserve the opportunity to live a healthy life and reach their full potential.

 

Can Your Church Spare an Extra $4 Million?

Bread for the World                                                              March 13, 2019

 

Washington, D.C. – The country’s religious congregations will need to raise an additional $400,000 each year for the next ten years to make up for the proposed cuts to anti-hunger and poverty programs found in the administration’s fiscal year 2020 budget proposal, according to Bread for the World.

“There is no way our country’s 350,000 religious congregations can make up for the proposed cuts to programs that help people facing hunger and poverty, including children and the elderly,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.  “While religious congregations and charities play an important role, federal programs provide ten times more in food assistance.”

The proposed budget would cut $1.4 trillion from domestic and international assistance programs over ten years.  Domestically, these cuts include $220 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), $1.1 trillion from Medicaid, and $1.7 billion from child nutrition programs such as school meals.

The proposed budget cuts to international humanitarian and development assistance include a reduction of $66.5 million to global nutrition programs and a $508 million cut to Feed the Future – nearly a halving of both programs.  The budget eliminates the McGovern-Dole international school feeding program and the Food for Progress program.

According to Friends Committee on National Legislation analysis, the administration’s budget unfortunately proposes investing $750 billion of all those “savings” in war spending in FY2020 – an inflation-adjusted sum above what our country spent at the height of the Vietnam war.  To utilize that increased military funding while cutting expenditures on nearly everything else, the White House is proposing dumping $174 billion into emergency spending and the off-budget Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund  that was initially created as a temporary way — a gimmick really, designed to avoid oversight and effective review — to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That proposed $174 billion is two and a half times what was enacted for OCO just last year (FY 2019).

“A budget is more than a financial statement—it is a statement of the morality of our nation’s priorities and values.  It should be measured on how it treats the most vulnerable people among us,”  Beckmann said.  Bread for the World asks all people of faith to urge Congress to reject the administration’s proposed cuts and to fully fund our nation’s social safety net and humanitarian assistance programs in the FY’20 budget.

Sample Letter  

Sen. Todd Young    400 Russell Senate Off. Bldg.    Washington, DC  20510

      202-224-5623                            www.young.senate.gov

Sen. Mike Braun    B85 Russell Senate Off. Bldg.     Washington, DC  20510

      202-224-4814                           www.braun.senate.gov

Rep. Greg Pence       222 Cannon HOB          Washington, DC  20515

       202-225-3021                           www.pence.house.gov

Rep. Pence, Sen. _____________:

I am writing to urge you to reject the heartless, immoral cuts to domestic and international anti-hunger and poverty-mitigation programs in the administration’s FY’20 budget proposal.  

According to Bread for the World’s analysis, every one of the nation’s 350,000 churches would have to raise and donate an additional $400,000 per year for the next ten years to make up for the administration’s proposed cuts to compassionate programs.  The church here in Winchester where I worship is deeply invested  and involved in compassionate outreach, but we already end every year in a financial hole.  Most other churches here are even worse off.  Only the federal government has the capacity and means to meet the needs of the poor and hungry in this nation and beyond.

As you debate and vote on FY’20 federal authorization and appropriation bills, please never forget that every vote is an expression of the morality of your (and ultimately our nation’s) values and priorities.  Please support full funding in the FY’20 budget for life-giving, compassionate nutrition and health programs that mitigate hunger and poverty, or explain to me why you will not do so.

                                             Sincerely,

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

bread.org         Bread for the World        27 February 2019

breadIndiana.org    Fast Once A Month

Another Attack on the Hungry and Food Insecure

By Amelia Kegan, Andre Gobbo, FCNL           February 21, 2019

On Feb. 1, 2019, the current Administration proposed a new rule to restrict states’ flexibility to provide vital food assistance to individuals and families who struggle with hunger.

This new attack against the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) directly contradicts Congress’s intent in the recently-passed Farm Bill reauthorization. If this proposed rule change goes through, it will make it harder for people to access SNAP and more people will go hungry. By USDA’s own estimate, at least 755,000 people would lose access to life-saving nutrition benefits.

This proposal is harmful and ignores the reality of many struggling Americans. We have an opportunity to stop this rule before it goes into effect.  Whenever a new rule is proposed by the federal government, there is an opportunity for the public to express their support or opposition. The administration must consider what impact their proposals will have on the nation. We know that making it harder to access food assistance won’t help people find a job.  Citizens’ voices are needed. 

 FCNL is joining Bread for the World and other interfaith and secular organizations to encourage comments against this rule. Government officials reviewing the proposed rule are required to read and consider every single comment. The more comments submitted, the longer it will take for the rule to go into effect.  It will also demonstrate that this proposal is widely opposed because it will adversely affect individuals and families across the US.  The talking points below are offered to help you craft your comment.

What’s at Stake    Under current law, states can acquire a waiver that allows them to extend SNAP benefits to some childless adults who are struggling to find work or maintain steady employment, beyond the strict three month time limit on benefits. Typically such waivers are applied during times of high unemployment or economic recession when jobs are most difficult to find.  This new proposed rule would severely restrict state’s ability to waive the time limit, making it even harder for people who are already struggling to access food assistance.  This harsh rule was in one early draft of the Farm Bill, but it was pointedly removed by Congress before the final bill was approved.

How to Talk about the Proposed Rule   Create your own comment based on your beliefs. Use these statements to help make your point:

·         By USDA’s own estimate, the proposed rule change would result in 755,000 people losing access to life-saving nutrition benefits.

·         This proposal is out of touch with the reality of struggling Americans. Taking away food from people who are underemployed and unemployed won’t help them find a job.

·         It ignores the realities of people who work inconsistent hours, lack access to transportation, live in areas where the economy has been slow to recover, or are unable to access employment and training programs—all of whom could fail to meet the harsh time limits imposed on SNAP recipients.

·         Religious congregations and charitable organizations cannot make up the difference. National nutrition programs provide over 10 times more food assistance than private charity.

·         This new attack against SNAP is an attempt to circumvent congressional intent as laid out in the recently-passed bipartisan Farm Bill reauthorization.  Instead of rulemaking that jeopardizes food assistance, USDA should focus on implementing the 2018 Farm Bill provisions that will help Americans get back to work.

Help stop this rule by submitting a public comment against this proposal before April 2.  Go to this web page (or search fcnl.org for this material) to enter your comment in the Federal Register:

https://cqrcengage.com/fcnl/app/act-on-a-regulation?0&engagementId=496965

                   

Sample Comment  (limit of 5000 characters)

I write to oppose the administration’s proposed rule making it harder for individuals to access food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  It is a disrespectful violation of Congress’ intent expressed in the 2018 Farm Bill, and it is cold and heartless to the poor.

Clients at the food pantry I support in Winchester, IN, are deeply worried that they will lose SNAP food, driving them to seek more assistance from the pantry at a time when many other new clients also will need help, while the pantry is provided no additional resources to share.  Private charity cannot possibly meet the increased need this rule will cause.

There is little if any evidence that stricter work requirements and time limits on food benefits are effective in reducing poverty or helping individuals find work. Instead, it will weaken SNAP and increase hunger for the 755,000 current SNAP recipients who would be impacted.

My Christian faith calls me to work to ensure that everyone can live with dignity and the opportunity to realize their full potential. This new rule will do the opposite.  Please reverse the effort to impose this rule on the SNAP program.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

bread.org          Bread for the World         30 January 2019

BreadIndiana.org    Fast Once A Month

 January 16, 2019

Bread for the World Urges Support for

“Raise the Wages Act” of 2019

 

At Bread for the World, we believe that the preferred way to end hunger is to ensure that everyone who wants a job can get one, and that it pays a living wage.  Wages have been stagnant for decades – meaning that workers are earning less, inequality is rising, and families can’t make ends meet.

 

If enacted, the “Raise the Wages Act” would raise the federal minimum wage this year, then increase it annually until it reaches $15 an hour in 2024. Thereafter, the minimum wage will be adjusted each year to keep pace with inflation.  This would lift wages for 41 million American workers and significantly decrease poverty and hunger in the United States.

 

According to the May 2018 report submitted by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty to the UN Human Rights Council, the US has the highest rate of income inequality of Western countries.  Compared to other nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the US also has the highest rates of youth poverty, infant mortality, and incarceration.

 

The report states that the framing of the US as “the land of opportunity” does not match the modern day reality in which the nation has the lowest rate of social mobility of any rich country. The Special Rapporteur attributes these statistics to the policy stances of government bodies, writing that “the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power.”

 

A serious effort is needed to acknowledge and address the interlocking of hunger and poverty.   Policies and practitioners must help people rise above the circumstances that lead them to need food assistance. That effort must include aiding those applying to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other public assistance programs to maintain the health needed for employment, and helping the previously incarcerated to find meaningful work.

 

The UN Report offers many suggestions to policymakers to address the income gap in the US.  Key among them is recognizing the social and economic impact of inequality.   A 2018 federal survey showed that 40% of US households cannot cover a $400 emergency expense.  A quarter of US workers earn less than $10 per hour.  The top 10% of US workers average nine times more income than the other 90% averages — and the top 1% averages forty times more than the bottom 90%.

 

“The United States is alone among developed countries in insisting that, while human rights are a fundamental importance, they do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable health care, or growing up in a context of total deprivation,” the report states.

 

The “Raise the Wage Act” would, for the first time ever, bring full-time minimum-wage earnings above the poverty line for a family of four.  The Bible is clear, ‘The laborer deserves to be paid’ (1 Timothy 5:18).  We urge all members of Congress to co-sponsor and pass this bill.

                    

Sample Letter

 

Sen. Todd Young    400 Russell Senate Off. Bldg.    Washington, DC  20510

      202-224-5623                            www.young.senate.gov

Sen. Mike Braun    B85 Russell Senate Off. Bldg.     Washington, DC  20510

      202-224-4814                           www.braun.senate.gov

Rep. Greg Pence       222 Cannon HOB          Washington, DC  20515

      202-225-3021                           www.pence.house.gov

 

 

Rep. Pence, Sen. _____________:

Please support and cosponsor the newly introduced “Raise the Wages Act of 2019.”

This legislation would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, index the minimum wage to the national median wage, and phase out the “tipped minimum wage” of $2.13 for tipped workers.  Data shows that this would directly or indirectly lift the wages of 41.5 million working Americans and generate $144 billion in additional income for families who need it most – including 23.1 million women and 4.5 million single parents. 

I urge you to support the “Raise the Wage Act of 2019” and preserve the minimum wage as one of the country’s most basic labor protections, or explain to me why you will not do so.

                            Sincerely,

 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
Winchester Friends Church
Food Pantry Sunday / Bread for the World Sunday                October 21, 2018                 9:15 AM
 
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen, to loose the chains of injustice…. to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry, and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter, and when you see the naked, to clothe them….?  If you do away with the yoke of oppression, the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday.  The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
Isaiah 58:6-11
 
Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?  When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You?  When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?  The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.”
Matthew 25:37-40
 

 

TODAY IS BREAD FOR THE WORLD SUNDAY (following United Nations World Food Day last Tuesday October 16), when BFW (an ecumenical Christian advocacy organization) asks churches across the US to give special attention to the spiritual concern for people who do not have enough to eat.  Bread encourages congregations to make an “offering of letters” today to members of Congress to ask for compassionate public policy that helps lower hunger and poverty rates.  The Missions & Social Concerns Committee requests Friends to use the paper, envelope, and sample letter in today’s bulletin (see below) to write a brief letter to a Senator or Representative, address the envelope accordingly, and leave it in the “Offering of Letters” box in the parlor.  We’ll put a stamp on it and mail it for you on Monday.
 
TODAY IS ALSO OCTOBER’s COMMUNITY FOOD PANTRY SUNDAY when Friends are invited to donate a staple food item to help area families who struggle to afford adequate nutrition.  If you forgot but want to give, you may drop a dollar or two into the Quaker Oats tin on the southwest parlor table.
 

 

 
 For Such a Time As This (Esther 4:14)
Bread for the World 2018 Offering of Letters
 
Mother Teresa believed Jesus when he said everybody was priceless, even the ugly ones, even the smelly ones, and Mother Teresa changed the world by showing them that a human being can be selfless….. Can you imagine what Americans would do if they understood that over half the world was living in poverty?  ….If we believed the right things, the true things, there wouldn’t be very many problems on earth.  But the trouble with deep belief is that it costs something.  And there is something inside me, some selfish….  subtle thing that doesn’t like the truth at all because it carries responsibility, and if I actually believe these things, I have to do something about them.
–Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz
 
In the relationship between God and God’s people, it is clear that God not only cares for us, but cares how we treat one another. Throughout the Bible, we find examples of how God’s people promote the common good and speak up for what is right. In the book of Esther, for example, we find the story of an unlikely advocate — Queen Esther, who is persuaded to risk her own position of privilege to save her people from destruction.
 
From Leviticus and Deuteronomy to the Wisdom books; from the teachings of the prophets to the works and sermons of Jesus Christ — the Bible outlines measures for the nation’s leaders and individuals to provide for the most vulnerable members of the community to feed themselves. The choices made by our elected leaders on the federal budget determine how our nation generates revenue and invests shared resources. We show our commitment to the common good when we advocate for investments in programs that move people out of hunger and poverty, and into better opportunities in life.
 
God has blessed our nation with sufficient resources to make provision for all in our present time and in years to come.  Investments in domestic safety-net programs, such as WIC, SNAP, free and reduced-price school meals, and tax credits for low-income workers help people in the United States move out of poverty and feed their families. International programs like the global food security initiative, Feed the Future, and the McGovern-Dole school feeding program help millions of hungry people around the world.
 
Like Esther, we must meet the challenges before us and speak truth to power. Mordecai reminded Esther that she could not remain neutral. Action was needed, and she could use her position of influence to change the fate of her people. We cannot be silent in this challenging time. Together, we must urge Congress to develop a federal budget that serves the common good and offers help and opportunity for all people — especially those struggling to put food on the table.
 
Take Action    Right now, the biggest threat to people struggling with hunger and poverty continues to be the threat of large federal budget cuts. Your advocacy is critical in ensuring that spending bills provide the strongest support possible for anti-hunger and anti-poverty efforts in the United States and around the world.
 
We are raising our collective voice to ask Congress to invest in and protect key programs that help improve the lives of men, women, and children facing hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.
 
Sample Letter
 
Sen. Joe Donnelly      720 Hart Senate Off. Bldg.       Washington, DC  20510
               202-224-4814               www.donnelly.senate.gov
Sen. Todd Young      400 Russell Senate Off. Bldg.     Washington, DC  20510
               202-224-5623                 www.young.senate.gov
Rep. Luke Messer      1230 Longworth HOB         Washington, DC  20515
               202-225-3021                www.messer.house.gov
 
 
[Date]
 
Dear Sen. ________,  Rep. _______,
 
As Congress works on the fiscal year 2019 budget and spending bills, I ask you to invest in and protect key programs that will reduce hunger and poverty.
 
Unfortunately, the latest UN data shows that recent decades’  progress against hunger and poverty has stopped, and hunger has increased for the past three years. I urge you to continue to invest in programs like SNAP, WIC, school meals, tax credits for low-income workers, and other programs that reduce hunger and poverty here and globally.
 
My Christian faith calls me to implore you to make public investments that will move us and the world toward the end of hunger.
 
Sincerely,
 
[your name, address, city, state, ZIP]
 
 
 
Lord, When I Am Hungry
Lord, when I am hungry, give me someone to feed.
When I am thirsty, give water for their thirst;
When I am sad, someone to lift from sorrow.
When burdens weigh upon me,
lay upon my shoulders the burden of my fellows.
Lord, when I stand greatly in need of tenderness,
give me someone who yearns for love.
May Your will be my bread, Your grace my strength,
Your love my resting place.
Amen.