New York Activists Issue a Challenge
Listen: Interview with Ched Myers
The ‘10 by 10’ campaign
Bread members are always looking for new ways to spread the word and get people involved in ending hunger. While Bread’s annual Offering of Letters campaign is our biggest effort—introducing the members of thousands of churches to Bread and advocacy on hunger issues by inviting them to write letters to their members of Congress—activists are also reaching out in other ways.
This year we have an energizing example in the New York Pastors’ Challenge. A group of New York Lutheran pastors wants to recruit 10,000 new Bread members by October 2010. Led by Pastor J. Elise Brown of Advent Lutheran Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the “10 by 10” campaign seeks to mobilize current Bread members and recruit new people to work on hunger issues.
To aid in the recruitment efforts, Bread is currently offering a year’s free membership to non-members who would like to learn more about hunger and what we can do to end it. Often, people’s interest is sparked either by the free membership itself or the information, resources, and calls to action on hunger they receive during their first year of membership.
Pastor Brown is particularly interested in reinvigorating Bread’s Lutheran base, which is not as strong as it once was even though Bread founder Rev. Art Simon is a Lutheran pastor. In fact, her inspiration for the campaign came after she heard Rev. Simon speak on Long Island about his 2009 book, The Rising of Bread for the World.
She explains, “When I read his inspiring and provocative book which talks about his years of ministry on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, I asked, ‘What happened to the Lutheran support base for Bread here in New York?’ … That’s how the campaign began.”
Brown and the nine other pastors who issued the challenge are working church by church to get people involved. Although so far the new members they’ve recruited number in the hundreds rather than the thousands, they are off to a great start. “It’s been a slow, steady effort, and we’ve had a great time reconnecting with Bread,” she said.
This is the kind of grassroots effort that created Bread for the World in the first place. People who joined Bread near its beginning always mention that they were first introduced to the organization by a friend, relative, or pastor. Today, we can use the power of the personal connections we all have to help win greater victories for hungry and poor people by building Bread’s influence in Washington, DC.
For more information on getting involved—or getting your church involved—please visit www.bread.org/10by10.