2018 Offering of Letters: For Such a Time as This

What is the Offering of Letters?

Bread for the World’s annual Offering of Letters campaign engages churches, campuses, and other faith communities in writing letters to Congress. Each year, for the focus of the campaign, we choose specific legislation or a legislative emphasis that can make a real difference to people struggling with hunger and poverty.

People write letters, usually as a group, and present them as an offering to God before mailing them to Congress. Hundreds of Offerings of Letters are held each year, resulting in tens of thousands of letters to Congress. Supported with prayer, these letters are a bold witness to God’s justice and mercy. They have, and continue to have, a significant impact on the decisions made in Congress.

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Right now, the biggest threat to people struggling with hunger and poverty continues to be the threat of large budget cuts. Photo: Bread for the World

What is the 2018 Offering of Letters About?

Every day, millions of people in the United States and around the world feed and support their families in part because of lifesaving programs funded by our government. We are making progress toward the end of hunger, but we live in challenging times. Our gains are increasingly vulnerable due to the actions and inactions of governing officials.

Our great democracy gives all Americans access to powerful decision makers. Just as Esther in the Old Testament was called to be an advocate with the king of Persia for her threatened people, we are called to speak up with leaders in Congress to protect vital programs for people who struggle with hunger and poverty. We must call on our leaders to ensure that all people, regardless of where they live, have the opportunity to reach their God-given potential. 

The actions that Congress takes have far-reaching impact on the lives of millions of people in the United States and around the world living in hunger. The federal budget is the investment of our tax dollars. This investment must reflect our nation’s priorities and values.

You serve God when you put your faith into practice. And just as Esther fasted and prayed as she prepared for advocacy with the king, the people and churches who participate in Bread for the World’s annual Offering of Letters also pray for God’s saving presence and direction in our nation’s life.

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Photo by Joseph Molieri / Bread for the World

Biblical Basis for the Offering of Letters

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 (Esther 4).

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.

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Faith leaders gathered in unified denouncement of President Trumps budget and the GOP's health care bill. Photo: Joseph Molieri / Bread for the World

Take Action

Right now, the biggest threat to people struggling with hunger and poverty continues to be the threat of large 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.

Your messages to Congress will push legislators to make funding decisions that can jump start and accelerate progress against hunger.

Writing a personal message is simple and should take only a few minutes. 

Ready to take action? Urge your members of Congress to invest in and protect key programs that will end hunger and reduce poverty in the United States and around the world.

Write to Congress    View a sample letter

"We support Bread because it magnifies our voice on behalf of hungry people."

Father James Fetscher, St. Louis Catholic Church, Miami

Have a question? Connect with a Bread for the World organizer: 800-822-7323 or organizing@bread.org.

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Fact Sheet: Hunger by the Numbers

    In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

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