Activists in Action: Showing up in Wisconsin

May 12, 2017
Deb Martin uses a public forum to ask Rep. Glenn Grotham to protect foreign aid funding. Photo: courtesy of Glen Grotham

By Bread Staff

When it comes to advocating for an end to hunger, Deb Martin is a seasoned veteran. A member of Bread for the World for over 30 years, faith and the call to ‘love your neighbor’ drives Ms. Martin’s advocacy.  “I want to be a good neighbor to everyone,” she said.

In April, Ms. Martin attended a town hall in  Berlin, Wis. with her member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Glenn Grotham (R-WI-06).  Grotham, like many of his colleagues, held a series of town halls during the Easter recess. 

Ms. Martin, who also leads a chapter of the Global Mission team through the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, is concerned about the deep cuts proposed in President Trump’s budget. Right now, 20 million people are at risk of starvation due to famine, and near-famine conditions, in South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, and Nigeria. U.S. foreign assistance funding, which represents less than 1 percent of the federal budget, means the difference between life and death for these people.

Ms. Martin used the public forum to ask Grotham to protect foreign aid funding. “It is so small,” Ms. Martin said, “and it makes a positive difference around the world.”  Grotham responded that he thought foreign aid funding was likely to take a hit.

Cutting foreign assistance, or any program that helps alleviate hunger, is not inevitable. Cutting funding for anti-hunger programs is a choice — a choice that members of Congress will not make if they hear from enough faithful advocates.

Face-to-face meetings are the best way to influence your member of Congress, according to the Congressional Management Foundation. Town halls offer an opportunity to speak directly to your lawmaker. As a bonus, your question may educate and influence others in your community to think about hunger.  

When the time comes to vote on a budget, Grotham will recall that foreign assistance is an issue that matters back home.

Asked for tips on attending a town hall, Ms. Martin said to prepare questions in advance and write them down, but the most important thing was to attend. “Just showing up shows that you care,” she said.

Cutting funding for anti-hunger programs is a choice — a choice that members of Congress will not make if they hear from enough faithful advocates.

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