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.

Tools
from our Resource Library

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  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • The U.S. Contribution to Ending Global Malnutrition

    We have a new opportunity in 2017 to speed up global progress against malnutrition among pregnant women and young children. Worldwide, maternal and child malnutrition causes millions of deaths each year. In some countries, it holds entire generations back from reaching their economic potential....

  • Fact Sheet: Nutrition During Famine

    Famine means that 20 percent or more of the households in an area have “an extreme lack of food and other basic needs where starvation, death, and destitution are evident.”

    Famine has been declared in two counties of South Sudan, while other areas of South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and...

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.

    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

  • Bread Newsletter January 2016

    In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
     

  • Interfaith Religious Leaders’ Pledge to End Hunger

    A wide array of the nation’s faith leaders have come together on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States to commit ourselves to encourage our communities to work for the end of hunger by 2030 and, toward that end, for a shift in U.S. national priorities.

    We are deeply pleased...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

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  • The State of Black Poverty: A Pan-African Millennial Perspective on Ending Hunger by 2030

    Over the past year and a half, about two-dozen young adults from the United States and countries in Africa and the Caribbean, have gathered virtually and in person to reflect on the effects of hunger and poverty in black communities. The working group has been considering socio-political and...

  • Fact Sheet: The Hunger-Medicaid Connection

    Congress is considering proposals that would jeopardize healthcare coverage for millions of poor and near-poor adults and children. 

    The bill under consideration, the American Health Care Act, would gut...

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