Growing Bread Teams
Listen: Interview with Ched Myers
Building an anti-hunger movement
Bread for the World has always brought advocates together. We encourage churches to do Offerings of Letters, help constituents coordinate congressional lobby visits with others from their districts, and bring activists to Washington, DC, for our Hunger Justice Leaders training program.
Our goal is to build a movement against hunger. Hunger is a complex, long-term problem, and we need to work together so that we don’t become overwhelmed or discouraged.
Over the past couple of years, both community Bread activists and staff have begun to think about strategies to establish Bread’s state and local presence in a more visible and sustainable way. We call this effort Growing Bread Teams.
In November 2009, activists from around Washington state met to learn more about grassroots organizing and consider what they would want a Washington Bread Team to be like. They invited a trainer from the Washington Civic Engagement Project to present skills needed for advocacy and media outreach.
“I learned a lot about advocacy and what we can do locally,” says Sara Colling, a Bread activist and Hunger Justice Leader from Seattle. “Being a part of the team keeps me updated on hunger issues and what I can do to help.”
Since then, several regions around the country have held retreats or workshops so that interested Bread members could get to know each other better and brainstorm ideas for a Bread Team if they decide to form one.
For example, in October, activists gathered in Davis, CA, for a day-long workshop sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Synod Hunger Network. Bread activists Edie and Denny Lott set up the event, which featured trainers from Bread’s California office.
“[Bread organizers] made [it] clear that our stories are our calling cards as we add our voices and talents to the movement to fix the broken food system,” says participant Patricia Bidar. This is sometimes called “public narrative”—using your own story to connect with potential new advocates.
In the Davis workshop, participants also focused on identifying the talents and skills they could bring as team members. Some of the other topics explored at regional team-building workshops are “Hunger 202” (hunger at the state as well as national and global levels); additional strategies for outreach to new people; identifying and supporting new leaders; and nurturing team effectiveness.
Working in Bread Teams can help both new and experienced activists build knowledge and confidence for advocacy. It strengthens Bread’s impact as part of an active, participatory, long-term movement to end hunger.
If you are interested in starting or joining a Bread Team, please contact your Bread organizer or visit www.bread.org/go/teams for more information.