2010 Offerings Get an Early Start
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Congress Hears from Bread Activists
This article originally appeared in the April - May 2010 Newsletter.
Of the 100 letters presented during February 14 Masses at St. Casimir Catholic Parish in Lansing, MI, one-third were written by children.
The children—and the adults in their lives—wrote to Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Representatives Michael Rogers (R-MI) and Mark Schauer (D-MI) to urge them to protect and strengthen tax credits that help low-income families—the focus of Bread’s 2010 Offering of Letters.
“The children know about hunger from seeing all of our parish activities, and from hearing our educators talk about hungry people,” said Rita Klein, a member of the parish social ministry commission. “We just expanded on that by writing letters.” St. Casimir regularly provides meals through its food bank, Sunday dinners, house meals, and food baskets.
The Offering was part of several weeks of activities that were centered on hunger. “One of the most interesting things was the number of people we talked with who are directly affected by hunger, tax issues, and joblessness,” Klein said. “This really brings it home. As Christians, we need to take care of our brothers and sisters.”
Mount Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in University Place, Washington, had those people in mind when members organized an Offering during a Sunday focused on hunger.
During coffee hour on Feb. 7, they served only bread, and invited people to write letters to their representatives, church member Rebecca Hoffman tells Bread. The worship service incorporated themes of bread and hunger into its music, Scripture, and sermon, and a “Souper Bowl Sunday” held later included a collection of money for hunger organizations.
The Offering generated 44 letters to Washington Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Representatives Norm Dicks (D-WA), Adam Smith (D-WA), and Dave Reichert (R-WA).
At Jonesboro First United Methodist Church in Jonesboro, GA, longtime Bread member Elaine Davies spoke to a gathering of United Methodist women about the 2010 Offering. She shared Bread’s video and prepared a sample letter to senators that the women could put into their own words.
“Much to my surprise and glee, I got everyone to write a letter in under 30 minutes,” Davies laughed.
The group sent 20 letters to Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), expressing their hope that the senators would protect and strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.
“We’re desperate in Georgia because the unemployment rate is high,” said Davies. “We’ve got to do more, more efficiently, and with much more respect.”
For more information about hosting or organizing an Offering of Letters workshop, contact your Bread regional organizer. To learn more about Bread’s Offering, see www.bread.org/OL2010.