Oregon BFW is part of a nationwide Christian citizens movement seeking justice for the world’s hungry people by lobbying our nation’s decision makers.
An effective response to hunger must combine private and public actions, neither can do the job alone. Christians have worked well in the private arena, Bread for the World provides a means where Christians can work equally well for effective public policies in the fight against hunger…
Congressional Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
Join the Oregon Bread Team, work with us to reduce the scourge of hunger from our country and our world ( Email )
Review the Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon Legislative Agenda for Salem.
The Oct. 16 budget deal in Congress re-opened the government and raised the debt ceiling for a few months longer. This deal and new deadlines have set off an intense period in which Bread for the World will have to work extremely hard to protect funding for programs that address hunger and help people move out of poverty in the U.S. and around the world.
From now through January, Bread for the World’s primary focus will be on three legislative priorities:
- Protecting SNAP and international food-aid reform during the final negotiations on the farm bill
- Advocating for a 2014 budget agreement that ends the sequester and provides revenues
- Advancing comprehensive immigration reform
Last week, some parts of this busy fall and winter legislative agenda got underway. Congress’ budget conference committee held an organizing meeting and its first public meeting, and the farm bill conference committee held its first public meeting. Meanwhile, on Nov. 1, $11 billion in food stamp (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) cuts went into effect.
We will need your help in order to achieve our legislative priorities, especially since the timing that these issues will be dealt with is tight. Here are key dates to note:
- 13: Budget conference committee holds its second public meeting
- 25: Bread for the World Institute releases its 2014 Hunger Report: Ending Hunger in America
- 13: Deadline for the budget conference committee to reach an agreement
- 1: Certain effects of expired farm bill begin (milk prices, etc.)
- 15: Continuing resolution for federal budget expires. Congress must pass a spending bill to prevent another government shutdown.
- 7: Debt-ceiling extension expires. Treasury Department begins using extraordinary measures to prevent default.
March 2014 or later
- Treasury Department exhausts all extraordinary measures, and Congress must raise the debt ceiling to prevent a default.
Throughout this intense period, we will be calling on you again and again to help urge your members of Congress to advance our legislative priorities. Thank you for your commitment to ending hunger and for going with us into these busy few months.
From the Oregon Faith Roundtable against Hunger…
“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14: 13-14
The headline in
today’s Oregonian tells the story “From hungry to even hungrier: Cuts to food stamp allotments mean those used to doing without will have to learn to do with even less”
The example of Bob and Janet Raes Bread for the World members and Oregon Faith Roundtable Against Hunger Conveners gives us hope.
Many Bread members have introduced their churches to JustFaith, an adult education program that explores the biblical prescription to heal our broken world and foster congregational and individual wholeness. The 24 weekly sessions are carefully planned for faith sharing that includes prayer, study, and immersion, and deepens the participants’ understanding of the biblical basis for advocacy.
The Raes facilitated the program at West Linn Lutheran in Oregon and saw how it transformed lives.
The immersion part of the program helps break down invisible barriers that hide suffering in the world. Bob and Janet recalled how simply listening to a homeless couple’s experience opened up a new world to their group. The homeless couple told a story of selling bracelets on the sidewalk with their dog and feeling that they weren’t treated with dignity. A passerby offered them money to feed their dog, but ignored them as people. The message to the couple was that the dog deserved compassion, but they did not.
“Our groups said ‘we are going to really see people,’” said Janet. “Some ride the bus now and that has just changed them.” Their congregation sponsored 3 months of rent to transition a homeless family into stable housing, and spent the time to help them move in and listen to their goals. Bob and Janet know that compassion is relational.
Through JustFaith, participants learn about both charity and advocacy—the latter is often harder for churches to embrace. “People are so allergic to the word ‘advocate’—instead of advocating we say we are ‘seeking justice,’” said Bob. JustFaith has helped their church to take a deeper look at the root causes of hunger and write letters as part of Bread for the World’s yearly Offering of Letters campaign, which asks Congress to create programs and policies that end hunger and poverty.
Even though participants in JustFaith are a small subset of any congregation, as other parishioners see the group transform it leads to changes in the church. “It’s an invasive species,” said Janet, with a smile.
One Thing You Can Do
In August Bob and Janet Raes, and others from the OFRAH and faith-based anti-hunger communities, met with Congressman Kurt Schrader’s office to advocate against any cuts to the food stamp program. Among their many activities, the Raes volunteer in a food pantry three times a week and shared many real-life examples, underscoring the fact that reductions in anti-hunger programs are not abstract. Real families suffer from real cuts to food stamps.
Reprinted from Bread for the World’s http://blog.bread.org. Written by Robin Stephenson, National Lead Social Media / Senior Regional Organizer at Bread for the World, and Portland Metro OFRAH Convener
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.
|Photo: Laura Pohl for Bread for the World”God, empower us and our leaders to fill the hungry with good things.”|
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.
Please email your representatives and senators and tell them that 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.
Please tell your representatives that all should share in the bounty and they must not cut programs that help struggling families.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Bread for the World is outraged by the House of Representatives’ decision to approve deep cuts to the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act, which includes nearly $40 billion in cuts to SNAP over the next 10 years, passed by a vote of 217 to 210. The bill will leave nearly 4 million Americans hungry, and 210,000 children without school lunches.
In a statement early this evening, Bread for the World President Rev. David Beckmann said the following:
“As the economy slowly rebounds, more than 47 million Americans still depend on SNAP to put food on their tables. The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act hurts hungry and poor people by slashing SNAP, increasing food insecurity, and destabilizing the economy.
“It is egregious that the House voted for the passage of the bill, as a vote in favor of this bill is a vote in favor of deep SNAP cuts,” Beckmann continued. “This type of proposal specifically picks on the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society. As a country that prides itself on a strong moral grounding, this bill is unacceptable.”
Earlier this year, the Senate passed a version of the farm bill that included a $4.1 billion cut to SNAP but included needed improvements to food aid. In June, the House had failed to pass a bill that would have included a $20.5 billion cut to SNAP, which Bread for the World opposed. The final bill out of the House must now be reconciled with the Senate version in a conference for final passage that will be signed by the president.
Beckmann concluded, “The fight is not over. We must continue to hold our leaders accountable and remind them that balancing the budget on poor and hungry people is distasteful and careless. Job creation and food security will ensure a stable economy. We pray for the millions of families and children that no longer know where their next meal will come from.”