Take Action

This year's Offering of Letters campaign focuses on mothers and children. Hunger and malnutrition affect mothers and children more than any other group. Bolstering the nutrition of these groups will help us make great strides toward ending hunger altogether by 2030. 

As an advocate, you can influence lawmakers through persistent phone calls, emails, handwritten letters, video-recorded messages, and in-person meetings. Politely remind lawmakers that, as a citizen and voter, you hold power and that they are accountable to you. Tell them what you want them to do, why it matters to you, and who else in their district/state you represent.

Write to Congress

Many people who are at risk of hunger have jobs—even more than one—and work hard just to get by and put food on the table for their families. Photo: Joe Molieri / Bread for the World

Why Write to Congress?

Members of Congress rely on their constituents to keep them informed of issues and concerns in their districts. By writing your members of Congress, you’ve made yourself a valuable source of information.

Congressional aides figure you represent others, so your voice becomes amplified. Writing letters gives you voice and power.

Taking the time to write tells your members of Congress that you’re serious and that they’re accountable to you. Writing a personal, handwritten letter, even though this seems old-fashioned in the electronic age, shows you care deeply about the issue you are writing to them about.

Persistent letter writing forms relationships with your members of Congress. You might be invited to ask questions at a town hall meeting. Or, as happened to a Bread member in Indiana, your member of Congress might quote your letters to the president of the United States.

Keep your letters brief, polite, and on message.

  1. Include your mailing address. This verifies that you are someone they officially represent.
  2. Be specific. When there is a bill number and title to refer to, include those in your letter. Ask for specific action. For example, “Please co-sponsor H.R. 1567, The Global Food Security Act of 2015.”
  3. Use talking points and/or a brief personal story to demonstrate why this matters to you.

Learn more about the power of letter writing by downloading Advocacy 101 and visiting our Action Center to see what issues you can influence Congress on now.

Over the years, Bread’s Offering of Letters and other campaigns have won far-reaching changes for hungry and poor people. Photo: Laura Pohl / Bread for the World

Talk to the Media

Why?

  1. Media shapes the debate on national policy issues related to hunger.
  2. Every member of Congress relies on local media to gauge public opinion on legislation and determine their constituents' priorities. One letter to the editor in a local newspaper can multiply the power of an individual's voice.
  3. Media raises awareness and powerfully influences lawmakers — whether in small towns, big cities, or rural areas.

Contact your regional organizing team for help with media advocacy.

"Defend the rights of the poor and needy."

Proverbs 31:9

Sign up to receive our newsletter Fresh Bread. Photo by Laura Pohl / Bread for the World

Come to Washington, D.C. for Lobby Day

Lobby Day is an opportunity for Bread members and activists to communicate personally with their members of Congress and their staffs. When activists visit Capitol Hill in large numbers, at the same time, and all talk about the same issue, they have a better chance of being heard in their advocacy.

For many participants, Lobby Day is their first time visiting congressional offices in Washington, D.C.

In-person lobbying on Capitol Hill is another dimension of advocacy — and a fascinating one for both new and veteran activists. It’s democracy in action, and often it’s awe-inspiring to actually be in the halls of power in our federal government and participating in its business. Find out more.

Holly Hight, Bread for the World Organizer, at the 2011 Gathering. Photo: Rick Reinhard for Bread for the World

Action Tools

Just like building a house takes many tools, building the will to end hunger requires more than a nail. The personal letter is only the first step for advocates committed to ending hunger by 2030. Bread for the World offers of variety of tactics and resources to influence you members of Congress. The following are some tools to help you get started:

Regional Organizer – Bread for the World has staff stationed throughout the United States. Regional organizers are connected to communities, support Bread teams, and are uniquely equipped to help you plan effective strategies to influence your members of Congress. 

In-District Meetings – An in-district meeting with constituents is by far the most powerful tactic to influence a member of Congress. Participating during town hall meetings is another way reach out to your legislator. Even if you think your member agrees with you on an issue, it is critical to give them the constituent support they need to be effective on Capitol Hill.

Vote to End Hunger – Join our elections work and help make hunger a priority in the 2016 elections. Electing leaders willing to prioritize hunger as an issue before they get to Washington, D.C., is key to ending hunger by 2030.

Action Center – Sign up for our action alerts by entering your email in the box at the very top of every page on our website. You'll be able to respond quickly when Congress is voting on issues that impact hunger is as important as the preparation. In the action center you will find sample letters on all the issues we are working on. And be a multiplier: Encourage your friends and family to act as well.

Stay Informed – Subscribe to the monthly newsletter, read stories about hunger, and find out what Congress is doing by reading the Bread Blog each day. Follow Bread for the World’s social media feeds to get the most up-to-date news and connect to others anti-hunger advocates across the nation.

Monthly Webinar Series – Each month the government relations and organizing department conduct a National Grassroots Webinar and Conference Call.  Join us and get the latest legislative update, as well as your questions answered, from our experts in Washington, D.C.

Resource Library:  Find updated fact sheets and briefing papers on hunger. Get state-specific statistics to help you better communicate with your member of Congress and community about hunger in your neighborhood.

Media Center – you will find many resources and how-to guides in this section to help amplify your message and make it public. 

Video

About Us

February 21, 2013

Learn about Bread for the World and our work to end hunger.

Video - running time: 1:13

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

    ...

  • 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...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.

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