Conduct an Offering of Letters: Reform U.S. Food Aid
The United States is a leader in providing life-saving assistance overseas in the form of food aid in times of disaster and in long-term economic development. There is an opportunity in 2014 to reform the federal government's food-aid programs so that funds are used more effectively and efficiently.
This year's Offering of Letters, "Reforming U.S. Food Aid," invites you to urge Congress to make changes that would allow food aid to benefit 17 million more people each year — at no additional cost to U.S. taxpayers.
Join us by conducting an Offering of Letters with your congregation, on your campus, or with one of the groups with which you participate. We can provide you with the resources you need to successfully organize an Offering of Letters and engage your members of Congress.
The 2014 Offering of Letters will be available in mid-January. The kit will also be available online at www.bread.org/OL.
Attend the Annual National Hunger-Free Communities Summit
Registration is open for the Alliance to End Hunger's fourth annual National Hunger-Free Communities Summit, which will be held March 1, 2014, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The event is for current and aspiring Hunger-Free Community organizers — nonprofit, religious, private- and public-sector leaders committed to ending hunger in their communities. The day provides a forum to: hear from local and national experts about innovative models for building community coalitions to end hunger; share lessons learned and successful strategies; and learn about best practices to coordinate hunger relief, leverage available resources, and implement multi-year plans.
The early-registration rate of $120 ends on Jan. 17. After then, the standard registration rate of $150 will apply. Conference registration and hotel booking and agenda information are available at www.hungerfreecommunities.org/summit.
Attend The Justice Conference in February
Does your church or campus community want to share God's concern for poor and hungry people? Seek inspiration for the long haul of its social justice journey? Desire to connect with a national, biblically-grounded rising of teachers, business people, artists, stay-at-home moms, and others who have a passion for justice?
For the past three years, Bread for the World has been a sponsor of The Justice Conference, an annual national evangelical gathering that educates, inspires, and connects a generation of men and women around a shared concern for biblical and social justice, and the vulnerable and oppressed.
In February, Bread for the World will again bring its proven Christian legislative advocacy experience to the conference and look to find new ways to collaborate around addressing global hunger and poverty.
Here's how your faith community can get involved with the 2014 Justice Conference, which will take place Feb. 21 to 23 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles:
- Visit Bread for the World’s exhibit and attend its pre-conference workshops on Feb. 21 and 22.
- Become a host site, so that more voices will join this important movement.
- Register to attend a regional Justice Conference host site near you.
- Plan to attend the main conference in Los Angeles.
- Come to the Justice Conference Film Festival on Feb. 23. A Place at the Table will be featured.
Find information at thejusticeconference.com. If you, or your church, are participating in this year's conference, either attending or serving as a host site, please let us know — we'd like to connect with you. For more information, contact Krisanne Vaillancourt-Murphy at email@example.com or 202-688-1117.
Bread's Lenten Prayers for Hungry People
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 5. Churches and communities of faith may order free copies of Bread's "Lenten Prayers for Hungry People" to distribute to parishoners and others. This year's table tent provides Scripture readings, prayers, and suggested actions for the six Sundays of Lent following Year A of the Revised Common Lectionary. To view, download, or order copies, visit www.bread.org/lent, or call 800-822-7323.
2014 Hunger Report Available
The 2014 Hunger Report: Ending Hunger in America was released in November. The report proposes bold steps to end hunger in the United States by 2030. In addition to investing in good jobs as a way of ending hunger, the report recommends ending the political brinkmanship that led to the sequester, or automatic budget cuts, and focusing on investing in people, strengthening the safety net and encouraging community partnerships.
Produced by Bread for the World Institute, the report calls on the U.S. government to work with the international community to establish a universal set of goals to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in December 2015. New global development goals must include ending hunger and extreme poverty and achieving global food security and good nutrition for all by 2030.
Annual Hunger Gala Features Moyers, Honors ProMedica
Bread's Gala to End Hunger celebrated its tenth year in early December at the Union Club in Manhattan. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Catholic archbishop of New York, welcomed nearly 200 attendees and provided the opening prayer.
The featured speaker was noted journalist Bill Moyers. Eleanor Crook, a longtime Bread member, introduced Moyers and noted the close relationship that her late husband, Bill Crook, shared with Moyers. Both Moyers and Bill Crook served in the administration of Lyndon Johnson.
In his talk, Moyers expressed his belief in the possibility of ending hunger with the cooperation and collaboration of our political leaders. At the conclusion of his talk, attendees gave him a standing ovation.
"Bill Moyers has been concerned with what’s good for society his entire career," said Karen Smith, an advisory board member for the event. "To change something as big as hunger in our country, lawmakers really need to be the ones to push for this."
Advisory board co-chair Ravi Sachdev continued the gala’s tradition of honoring a member of the Alliance to End Hunger with its Partnership Award for leadership in fighting hunger. This year, ProMedica president Randy Oostra accepted the award on behalf of the nonprofit healthcare organization based in Toledo, Ohio.
"This is truly an honor to be recognized by the Alliance, an esteemed national partner that has helped show us how important it is for healthcare organizations to be involved in ending hunger," Oostra said. "U.S. hunger is a far-reaching problem that is inextricably linked to health and wellness. We believe it needs to be confronted more passionately than ever before from multiple angles, with healthcare organizations, social service agencies and government leaders all working together."
The event raised more than $1 million for its three sponsors — Bread for the World, Bread for the World Institute, and the Alliance to End Hunger.
In addition to other longtime Bread for the World members and their friends, students from Union Theological Seminary attended the gala. Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, the seminary's president, provided the benediction for the evening: "Though we are in the darkness, let us journey on until the day comes and there is light once more. That light will be for us the end of hunger in our time."
'Lazarus: The Musical' Playing in New York City
Bread for the World's "Lazarus: The Musical" is playing in New York City at The Riverside Theatre for several days in late January and early February. Tickets for the Jan. 25, 26, and 31, and Feb. 1 and 2 performances are on sale now for $20.00 at www.riversideboxoffice.org.
Based on Jesus' parable about the poor man starving at a rich man’s door, "Lazarus" draws both humor and hope from a setting of desperation and greed. Dives, the rich man, is the Bible’s Scrooge, but this musical offers him — and the audience — a Scrooge-like redemption.
Written by Rev. Joel Underwood in the 1980s, "Lazarus" features more than 30 original songs, including “We’re Having a Banquet,” "Where Can I Find Bread," and "Faith of a Mustard Seed." Underwood was a staff member of Bread when he wrote the musical on a sabbatical. The 2013 arrangement by noted composer Bill Cummings provides a lively update to the musical with a wide diversity of musical styles. The new version premiered to a sold-out crowd at the Mead Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in June 2013. A talented cast of singers and musicians has been assembled for The Riverside Theatre production.
Bread is grateful to one of its board members, Chang Park, in his support for the staging of the musical at The Riverside Theatre.
For more information about "Lazarus," please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participate in Bread's Monthly National Grassroots Conference Call (and Webinar)
Bread for the World's monthly national grassroots conference call (and webinar) will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, at 4:00 p.m. EST (adjust time zones accordingly).
The topic of this month's call is the new year — what Bread sees happening in Congress in 2014, what Bread will push for, and introducing Bread’s 2014 Offering of Letters.
Participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring on Super Bowl Sunday
"Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat" is a prayer that began a movement to take action against hunger on a day when Americans come together around football, fun, and food.
The Souper Bowl of Caring takes place every year on the day of the Super Bowl — Feb. 2 this year. The idea is simple: Led by youth, your congregation or community collects money and/or canned goods before or on Super Bowl Sunday. You report your results at tacklehunger.org, where national results are compiled and reported. You then donate 100 percent of your collection to an organization of your choice that is fighting hunger.
Make participation in this national event fun in your congregation. Some congregations serve a soup lunch after worship services. Use football images and sports metaphors to build excitement. Send youth out to collect money and canned goods from homes in the neighborhood.
The event is locally driven — you choose where your collection goes — but why not make broader connections in your participation? Pass on in-kind donations to a local organization, and give part or all of your monetary donations to an organization that works nationally or internationally, such as Bread for the World or your denomination's hunger program. Groups across the country have donated to Bread in the past.
Start planning for your participation now. Promotional materials that you can use and adapt are available at www.souperbowl.org, where you can find information about other events around the Souper Bowl, including a service blitz.