The More Things Change ...
Bread is marking its 40th anniversary in 2014. For various celebrations this summer, we've been digging through the archives, looking at old photos of former staff members and past National Gatherings. One of our staff members found a newsletter from December 1981.
An article on the front page carries the headline "Food Aid Reforms Pass Conference" under the larger banner headline of "BFW Wins Major Victories."
"In a major BFW victory this year, a House and Senate conference committee passed a strong version of Bread for the World's hunger and global food aid reforms," the article begins.
"In reading this article, I thought about Bread for the World's current food-aid reform proposals and how, while food-aid programs have changed since 1981 and the reforms we are seeking are more advanced, in many respects, our efforts remain the same," said Beth Ann Saracco, international policy analyst in Bread’s government relations department, who had discovered the old newsletter.
The article reported that the inclusion of food-aid reforms in the farm bill in 1981 was directly linked to a "quickline" that Bread members responded to. The quickline — a notification sent out in the days before email — urged Bread activists to call their members of Congress in support of the reform provisions.
Today Bread has the power and immediacy of the internet to communicate with its activists. But staff in Washington, D.C., still use the same techniques — now in communications called action alerts — to generate the political will necessary to change outdated policies and implement more effective programs that better support people living in hunger and poverty.
"I remember that, while much has changed through the years, from staff members, to office locations, to the sheer size of our organization, much still remains the same," says Saracco, a staff member in her mid-20s who joined the organization in October last year. "We are still deeply guided by our faith and belief in the dignity of all human beings, which continues to motivate this important work. And, thanks to all those who have built this organization through the years, we, current staff and Bread members, stand on a solid foundation, committed to offering our contribution to this organization and its mission of ending hunger and poverty."
Bread's 2014 Offering of Letters is on the topic of food-aid reform. Bread is seeking a number of funding and policy changes to the U.S. government's food-aid programs so they can provide assistance overseas in more efficient, effective, and flexible ways.
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