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Advocacy in Action: Ecumenical Advocacy Days Provide Prologue to National Gathering

April 2013

More than 700 people gathered April 5-8, in Washington, D.C., for Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2013—and Bread for the World members and staff were well represented among them. This year’s conference began with three days of worship and workshops on the theme “God’s Table: Food Justice for a Healthy World.”

The faith- and fact-filled weekend, cosponsored by Bread for the World, culminated in a Capitol Hill lobbying effort. Participants told their members of Congress that a faithful farm bill will alleviate hunger and malnutrition, support farms and communities, and protect God’s creation.

This year’s Offering of Letters focuses on ensuring a place at the table for all people. So Bread members are closely following farm bill negotiations and calling for robust funding for prime anti-hunger programs: international food aid and the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps).

Bread for the World’s Women of Faith for 1,000 Days Movement hosted an opening night reception, with David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, addressing the importance of nutrition during the critical thousand-day window from a woman’s pregnancy through her child’s second birthday.

One highlight of Ecumenical Advocacy Days was a conversation with Barbie Izquierdo, whose story illustrates the importance of domestic nutrition programs. She is featured in the documentary film A Place at the Table and in Bread’s 2013 Offering of Letters. Izquierdo has turned her experience with hunger into advocacy for others.

“A person who’s angry, who’s tired, who’s fed up is going to want to tell you why,” Izquierdo said. “And if you give them the opportunity to express that, not only do they feel that you care about their situation, but they feel a connection to your program and that [by] working together you can probably make a change.”

Izquierdo will be one of the featured speakers at Bread for the World’s 2013 National Gathering: “A Place at the Table,” which will be held June 8-11 in Washington, D.C. The event will be packed with informative workshops, as well as opportunities to hear world-renowned preachers, development and nutrition experts, and government officials.

Pastor Bob Wilson of Colbran, Colo., who was also profiled in A Place at the Table, will talk about his firsthand experience with rural hunger. Other speakers include Rev. Dr. James Forbes from the Riverside Church in Harlem; Rev. Luis Cortes, Jr., head of Esperanza, the largest evangelical network in the United States; Rajiv Shah, administrator of USAID; and Robert E. Black, M.D., chair of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The National Gathering also includes the premiere of a new arrangement of the musical Lazarus.

God calls all of us to be involved in the movement to end hunger. Join us as we worship, learn, engage, network, and take action during Bread for the World’s 2013 Gathering. Whether you can come for the entire weekend or just to Lobby Day on June 11, we welcome you. Find out more and register on the Bread website: www.bread.org/gathering.

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