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Join Bread Activists for Lobby Day 2012

June 2012

Every year, Bread for the World members gather in Washington, DC, to participate in Lobby Day—a unique opportunity for members to use their collective voices to communicate personally with members of Congress and their staff. This year’s Lobby Day will be held on June 12, and our goal is to make a real difference in the lives of hungry people.

Last year, more than 320 Bread for the World members and friends from 37 states came to Washington, DC, to participate in Bread’s annual Lobby Day. They met with members and staff in 230 congressional offices. In these meetings, they urged their senators and representatives to create a circle of protection around funding for programs for hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad.

We succeeded in our lobbying last year. In the final deal to raise the debt ceiling, Congress exempted programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), school meals, and the Earned Income Tax Credit from across the board cuts. To a large extent, this was due to Bread members personally visiting their members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Still, these programs remain at risk of deep cuts especially in the FY2013 budget.

This year, our Lobby Day message to members of Congress will be to expand upon last year’s work to form a circle of protection around programs that are vital to hungry and poor people in the U.S. and abroad. In light of proposed deep cuts to programs such as SNAP, the Child Tax Credit, and poverty-focused foreign assistance, we will raise our collective Christian voice on behalf of the children and families who will suffer the consequences of these cuts.

Since the 2010 elections, members of Congress have been primarily focused on reducing the federal deficit in order to balance the budget. The budget decisions before Congress could result in the most severe cuts to programs for hungry and poor people in Bread’s history.

Bread’s 2012 Offering of Letters is designed to respond to these challenges by making our advocacy as effective and nimble as possible. Within this broader campaign to create a circle of protection are four mini-campaigns that address specific legislative issues before Congress:

  • domestic nutrition assistance
  • poverty-focused foreign assistance
  • tax credits for low-income families
  • international food aid

As we approach June 12, more specific talking points related to these issues will be shared with all participating activists.

Lobby Day will begin with worship, providing an opportunity to reflect on God’s call to justice and compassion for hungry people.

Next, an issue briefing will give you the status of legislation related to the Offering of Letters campaign, insights from key lawmakers, and tips on effective ways to communicate with Congress.

Then, in the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to join others from your region and speak to your own member of Congress or his/her staff on current legislation impacting hungry and poor people. We will close the day with a reception and evening worship.

For those who cannot attend Lobby Day, Bread will be inviting people to participate in a Virtual Lobby Day -- by making phone calls and sending emails to their members of Congress as others personally visit. We understand that for many, making a trip all the way to Washington, DC, might not be practical at this time. But by participating either virtually or in person, we hope to raise our voices in unison to tell Congress that a budget is a moral document and should not be balanced on the backs of hungry and poor people.

You can find more information about Lobby Day at www.bread.org/lobbyday.

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