By Rick Steves
Over the last few months, millions of Americans, including myself, have been inspired to celebrate and defend what they believe makes our country so…American.
Last Wednesday, I announced that I’d donate a dollar to Bread for the World for every dollar spent at my online shop. An impressive 627 of you responded, spending a total of $17,274 on my Rick Steves guidebooks, DVDs, travel accessories, and travel bags. That’s more than double my normal sales!
As promised, I’m giving an amount to Bread for the World equal to your collective shopping spree. And — further motivated by our government’s threat to drastically cut domestic and foreign aid programs — I’m tripling the amount and upping my gift to $50,000.
Thinking about how this money will help advocate for poor and hungry people in our nation and around the world brings me (and, I hope, all of us) real joy.
Industrialists pay for lobbyists to defend the interests of the extremely wealthy – often at the expense of the poor. But who lobbies for the hungry? With this small fundraiser, collectively we are funding lobbyists to explain to our government what we believe America should be. That’s what advocacy is.
And, while I wish our leaders could simply do what they know in their hearts to be right, the reality is that they tend to do what lobbyists encourage them to do. With this $50,000, we are giving hungry people a chance to have their needs heard in Washington D.C. That’s why, now more than ever, I prefer advocacy to charity.
I’m thankful for your support in this small, but exciting initiative. To me, this is helping to make our country the great land we know it can be. Thanks again and happy travels!
Rick Steves is host of public television’s most-watched, longest-running travel series, “Rick Steves’ Europe,” and the author of more than 50 travel guidebooks.