Enewsletter Jan 2009

January 30, 2009 at 12:11 am Leave a comment

 MONTHLY UPDATE – VOLUME 5 ISSUE 01  – Jan 28,  2008


Greetings!

My name is Mike Hiland, I live in Sherwood, and am a local activist with Bread for the World. This is our monthly Oregon newsletter. Please check below for upcoming events and current action alerts and contact me if you have any questions or comments. I am available to speak to your church or group about the issue of hunger and the moral call to take action. Please also forward this to whomever might be interested. God bless and thanks for your time.


New Initiative : Small Group letter writing groups

The purpose of these small groups is to encourage and empower more people to get involved in advocacy work right where they live in their community, and not rely on participation in large regional meetings that require travel and fixed inflexible meeting times. Groups of 3-15 people can meet monthly, stay informed, and take action on important issues. The idea is to meet for 1 hour each month to discuss and take an action around hunger related issues. Check the small group resource page for downloadable leaders guides, sample meeting agendas and sample letters. Please contact me for information on how to get started.

Save the Date!

Saturday, March 7; Hunger Action Forum (O.L. Workshop), location and time TBD in Portland , OR

 

2009 Offering of Letters

We are preparing to launch the 2009 Offering of Letters on Reforming Foreign Aid in January.  Our 2009 Offering of Letters will urge Congress to rework U.S. foreign assistance to make it more effective in reducing poverty.  At a time of economic constraint, we have a long-awaited opportunity to make U.S. foreign assistance more effective and get more of our aid to people who really need it.  If foreign aid is fixed, more lives can be saved.  Fewer children will die of hunger.  Parents will be able to feed their families in the years to come.  Better foreign aid also means less waste.  We will be asking Congress to bring U.S. foreign assistance up to date and ensure that development is elevated as a national priority, alongside defense and diplomacy.

Bread for the World has had sent groups go to Ethiopia and Nicaragua to gather stories to create this year’s Offering of Letters DVD.  Recently David Beckman spoke about the hunger crisis and Foreign Assistance Reform on Voice of America.  You can listen here.  As well, there was a very good story on NPR’s All Thing’s Considered with about foreign aid and the next administration.  Listen here.   There are good background papers by Bread for the World policy analysts online (you might want to build a study group around these).

1.    Global Development:  Charting a New Course by Todd Post.

2.    Reforming Foreign Aid by Charles Uphaus

Robin, Matt and Jessie would like to wish you all a Happy New Year filled with peace, hope and fulfillment.  Now that the hectic holiday season is over things will be getting back to a normal routine here in the Western Office.  We have much to look forward to and it is truly a time for new beginnings.  A new 111th Congress is being sworn in, a new President takes the helm of our nation this month, and we launch our 2009 Campaign on Reforming Foreign Aid.  As we all gear up to change policies, programs and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist, we ask for God’s grace to keep our feet firmly planted in perpetual hope.

 Recently, we joined our fellow Oregon State Volunteer Coordinator Mike Hiland to visit a local hospitality center in Portland , Oregon called Sisters of the Road. We sat and shared a simple meal with the homeless guests who come there.  While there, we were inspired and filled with the act of sharing bread with another of God’s cherished children.  True hospitality and a shared meal have a way of equalizing people.  Perhaps that is why ending hunger is so important and in the act of putting our faith into action through hospitality, we are fed spiritually.  It wasn’t that we were doing something charitable; we were not.  We were simply being in a community and we felt part of something more important that ourselves.  We left truly thinking that this is what the Body of Christ was all about  This month’s inspiration comes from a book that Sisters of the Road published where they asked the people who come there what they thought and needed.  The quote from Bryan seems to sums up not only what being part of the Body means and why it is so essential to our being as Christians, but also seems appropriate for what we do at Bread.  We are a community bound together by our love of God, God’s love for us and passion for justice…and that is so far from meaningless!  We plan to go back to Sisters often for lunch (the food is great) and also do a letter writing event with the guests.

 

New Congressional Member Visits

For those of you who live in districts with new members of Congress, this is a very good time to begin setting up visits with local offices to introduce them to Bread for the World and the work we do on behalf of hungry and poor people.  It is through you, the congressional member’s local constituents, that Bread can be the most successful. We want to get the issues on the new policy staff member’s radar and create a good working relationship with each new office. Matt or Robin would be happy to send you a package of Bread materials you can drop by their office.  Let us know if you would like to set up an introductory meeting especially so we can coordinate those who are interested.  We’ve found that a very effective way to introduce yourself is to schedule a teleconference with the staff member in DC who handles foreign aid (since this year’s Offering of Letters focuses on reforming foreign aid). As your support team, we have many resources and these visits are usually a very rewarding experience. 

The goal of the meetings will be:

1.      Introduce the policy staff or member to Bread for the World.

2.      Ensure that they know about our central issues for this year’s campaign (Foreign Aid Reform and the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act.).

3.      Gather information on who is on the policy staff for those issues, and start building a relationship with the policy staff.

4.      Learn how that member might feel about supporting the issues, and encourage them to show leadership to end hunger and poverty.

Please contact me if you would like to work together to schedule a visit with our newest elected leaders.

 

Legislative Update

Economic Stimulus Package

Most of you have probably already been hearing a lot about the economic stimulus package in the news.  Bread for the World does not want Congress to forget low income people in this package.  Our most recent sample letter includes asking for a temporary increase in SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) funding as well and a boost in funding for WIC and food banks.  

Developing Countries are still struggling with the high cost of food and conditions are worsening.  An article on allAfrica.com reports that a school in Uganda closed because the World Food Program was no longer able to provide free lunches to its 600 students.  Foreign aid programs are helping.  Bread for the World President David Beckmann and Board Chair, Dave Minor recently returned from Malawi and Mozambique where they saw first hand how programs are helping the lives of the poorest.  David talks about his experiences in a special video announcement.

*  David Beckmann, Bread President, has a very good opinion piece on the website Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity that discusses these issues.

 

Bread for the World Institute has released the 2009 Hunger Report on an interactive web site (hard copies will be available later for purchase).  The Institute looks at four different key areas of policy in global development, hunger and poverty, reforming aid, and U.S. Poverty.  The website includes interviews of the writers, a companion study guide, and interactive maps and data.   There is a very good section on Foreign Aid Reform.  

February 19, 2009:  Interfaith Advocacy Day in Salem

OCCV is a sponsor of this year’s Interfaith Advocacy Day.  It is an excellent opportunity to bring people of faith together to advocate for those without voices, the most vulnerable and the marginalized.  You can join us in offering our testimony on behalf of Oregon families struggling to keep the faith and pay the bills during hard times.  If you would like to sign on or sponsor the Interfaith Advocacy Day, just send seth@occv.org an e-mail and he can give you more detail on this upcoming event.  More details will follow soon.

 

 

 

2009 Offering of Letters Kits

Many of you or churches in your district have been receiving calls from our office if you did not fill out an evaluation at Bread’s website for last years Offering of Letters.   If you do an Offering of Letters, we want to make sure that you get your complimentary kit the following year.  Kits are sold for $10 normally and Bread has a space on our website for pre-orders.  Please make sure to fill out the evaluation form after your church or group writes letters this year.  Reception of the form makes sure you receive a complimentary kit for the following year, but also helps us to track data of how many letters each congressional member receives.  Kits will be mailed out sometime after the end of January.

 

Update from our Portland based regional organizers 

 

Save the Date – The major advocacy day around poverty issues in Salem!

Announcement: Contact information for our newest elected leaders !

OR

Jeff Merkley

Senate

B40B DIRKSEN

(202) 224-3753

One World Trade Center

121 SW Salmon  Suite 1250

Portland 07204

503 -326-3386

OR

Kurt Schrader

House

1419 Longworth

(202) 225-5711

494 State Street Suite 210
Salem, OR  97301

503-588-9100

 

.

 

2009 Hunger Report – Global Development: Charting a New Course

Hunger Crisis

 

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Sisters of the Road – voices from the street (web database) OCCV Advocacy Training: Sat Feb 7, 10-3

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