By Jennifer Gonzalez and Puja Basnet
Sitting in a conference room in Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson’s office in Washington, D.C., long-time Bread activist Elaine Davies pulled out a photo of a mother in a wheelchair with her 13-year-old daughter getting food out of boxes provided by a nonprofit organization in Macon, Georgia. She showed the photo to the senator’s foreign policy advisor and informed her that the family was living on $900 a month.
“As a person of faith, I think we can do better,” Davies said.
Justino Moreno, a Bread activist from Florida, told two staffers in Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s office that his family benefited from food assistance during hard times. And at the same meeting, Tiffany Kelly, talked about being impacted by her family’s generational poverty and how having access to food assistance gave her the opportunity to pursue higher education and eventually land a well-paying job.
“If I did not have that program, I would’ve spent a chunk of my time trying to find food to eat instead,” she said.
These were some of the voices, more than 300 strong, that descended on Capitol Hill last week as part of Bread for the World’s 2018 Advocacy Summit and Lobby Day. The two-day event kicked-off with Latino and Pan-African Bread members convening the day before Lobby Day. On the eve of Lobby Day, Bread members were treated to a dinner and legislative briefing.
The annual Lobby Day event is an opportunity for Bread members to put their faith into action and urge their members of Congress to support legislation that will end hunger by 2030.
This year, Bread activists asked lawmakers to pass a bipartisan farm bill that protects SNAP and improves international food aid, and to also co-sponsor and pass the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act (H.R.5129/S.2269).
But before activists headed to the halls of Congress, they spent time in morning worship at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., where Rev. Lori Tapia said: “We have been called to transcend in a time such as this. When the moral compass of our nation is broken, and in some cases lost altogether, we cannot sit by and let people hunger.”