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Teamwork—for Hungry People

Bread Teams emphasize grassroots organizing

April 2012

Bread is truly a grassroots organization—and nowhere is that more obvious than in the work of Bread Teams. These groups are organizing events and leading Offering of Letters workshops in churches and communities across the country, spreading the word about effective ways to advocate for hungry and poor people.

Rev. Lyle Anderson, associate pastor and director of worship ministry at Tuality Community of Christ church in Tigard, OR, received Bread Team training during his graduate school days in Cleveland and after he moved to Oregon. He and other members of a Portland team recently held an Offering of Letters—the first that he was part of leading.

“When I’m engaging in and helping people understand these issues and address them, I feel like I’m fulfilling my calling as a minister. That’s what motivates me,” Anderson said. “For me, it’s just part of my calling as a disciple of Christ.”

Anderson said he’s found a personal connection to many of the issues in this year’s Offering of Letters, particularly the domestic campaigns.

“I see how the Earned Income Tax Credit has helped family members and people I’ve worked with to get back on their feet and get things organized,” he said. “And as I’ve gotten more involved with hunger-related issues, I’ve heard stories from my mom about our childhood—that programs like WIC were sometimes the only way we had food.”

The team is planning more Offerings in the area, as well as visits to the local offices of their members of Congress.

Mary Johnson, member of a Bread Team in Holland, MI, was introduced to Bread in the 1980s after receiving a book that explored many of Bread’s issues. She remembered one section that compared spending on defense with spending on hunger.

“When you put the two next to each other, the light bulb goes on,” she said. “I always think of Bread as part of my conversion experience.”

Johnson and team members from three different cities recently planned and conducted an Offering of Letters in Kalamazoo, MI. Her church will also hold its Offering in May, and she and other team members are planning for David Beckmann’s visit to western Michigan in September.

It’s work that requires organization, persistence, and patience. “Do what you can with the time you have,” Johnson advises other teams. “And remember to do this in prayer. None of us sees everything clearly, so we need to pray that what we do is consistent with God’s truth.”

Join Our Monthly National Grassroots Call!

Bread hosts a national grassroots conference call and webinar every month for activists across the country. Join us to hear updates on our work from Bread’s organizing and policy staff. The calls take place the third Thursday of every month at 4 p.m., EST. The next call will be Thursday, April 19. Contact your local organizer for more information.

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