U.S. Poverty Weekly Update February 24, 2015

February 24, 2015

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | February 24, 2015

“We cannot balance the budget on the backs of poor people,”

– Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA-2), from the Wall Street Journal, talking about plans to include SNAP cuts in the FY 2016 budget

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Action: Urge Congress to Protect Hungry Children and Families

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Tell Congress to Protect SNAP!

Congress returns to Washington this week and the budget will be on everyone’s mind. One item that is likely to get attention in the coming weeks is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). The attention is not welcomed. It is expected that House and Senate leaders will propose major changes to SNAP in the 2016 budget, potentially putting millions of children and families at risk of deeper food insecurity. It is imperative they hear from you – tell them to protect SNAP!

TAKE ACTION: To two minutes use our online e-mail alert to tell your representatives and senators to protect SNAP in budget negotiations. Once you’ve sent your message, copy and paste the message above, along with the alert link, and send it to your local Action Networks. Urge your friends, family, and colleagues to stand up for SNAP. For more information about SNAP and how you can take an even more powerful action, see below.

Got Ten Minutes? Write a Powerful Letter Telling Congress to Protect Hungry Families (February Action)

As mentioned above, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will share the spotlight in budget discussions over the next few weeks. As you know, Shttp://www.cbpp.org/images/chartbook_images/SNAP/1-8-15fa-f13.pngNAP is our first line of defense against hunger in America. It currently serves over 46 million people – 1 in every 7 people in the U.S. Despite the need, SNAP works. In 2013, SNAP lifted almost 5 million people out of poverty and has been shown to contribute to better health and educational outcomes in children once they reach adulthood. Finally, SNAP boasts one of the highest accuracy rates with 99 percent of benefits going to eligible households.

Despite its success, House leaders will take their first steps this week at attacking SNAP. On Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee will hold its first in a series of hearings about SNAP. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, their goal seems to be cutting SNAP and tightening eligibility requirements. This would mean that countless Americans struggling to put food on the table would find it much harder to do so. One of the primary objections these SNAP opponents have is that the costs of the program have ballooned in recent years. Yes, SNAP costs have increased dramatically, but as a result of the Great Recession. SNAP is specifically designed to expand when the economy is doing badly, and then contract as things improve, which is exactly what is happening right now. If Congress wants to reduce the number of people on SNAP, they should focus on policies that create good-paying jobs, not forcing people deeper into poverty.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to write letters to your representative and both your senators urging them to protect SNAP in budget negotiations. Push back at the myths and misconceptions about SNAP and urge allies to publicly stand up for SNAP during the budget debate (both in committee and on the House and Senate floors). The second part of the February Action has talking points about SNAP you can use for your letters (you can also print off a PDF of the SNAP action separately). Be sure to make your letters personal by sharing a story you or someone you know has about SNAP and using local poverty data (find at: http://talkpoverty.org/poverty/).

Got Twenty Minutes? Follow Up with Kristof Event Attendees (February Action)

Thank you again to all of you who participated in the Nicholas Kristof webinar on February 14. Now that we are about ten days out from the event, hopefully you and your groups have followed up with new people who attended your local viewing of the webinar. This follow-up is all part of your outreach event and important in making your event a success.

TAKE ACTION: To twenty minutes to follow up with new people from your local Kristof outreach event. Here are some things you can do, if you have not done so already:

  1. Contact each person personally (phone or e-mail) and thank him/her for coming to your local event. Include the link to the recording of the Kristof event: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/replay_meeting/f2988286/7037962 (you can find all the Kristof webinar resources on our National Conference Calls page).
  2. Invite them to your next local RESULTS meeting. Whether it’s your next monthly meeting or an upcoming lobby meeting, invite them to come and be part of the experience (don’t forget the date and location). When people see how easy and inspiring advocacy can be, they are more likely to sign up.
  3. Ask them to take an action. As noted above, this is an important time to be talking to legislators about hunger in America. Urge them to send an e-mail or write a letter to their members of Congress about protecting SNAP.
  4. Invite them to attend a RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30-45 minute calls can give them more information about RESULTS and our work. We do the calls twice per month. They can register for an upcoming call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSIntro.

Follow Up on Your Face-to-Face Meetings and Requests

Thank you to everyone who requested a meeting with your members of Congress during last week’s recess. A few groups were successful in getting meetings to talk about U.S. poverty issues:

  • The RESULTS San Fernando Valley group met with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA-30)
  • The RESULTS Detroit group met with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI-13)
  • The RESULTS Detroit group met with Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI-5)
  • The RESULTS Des Moines group asked a question at a town hall with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
  • The RESULTS Bloomington group met with Rep. Todd Young (R-IN-9)

These meetings bring our total for the year to 9 face-to-face meetings. Congratulations! If you had a meeting recently, be sure to follow up with the office thanking the member of Congress for meeting with you, reiterating your request, and asking about the status of your request. If you did not have our 2015 U.S. Poverty Lobby Meeting Requests for Economic Mobility or SNAP, download them and include them in your follow up. You can find aide names and contact info on our Elected Officials page. Remember, follow up is how you hold your elected officials accountable for their commitments.

If you did not get a meeting during the recess, follow up with the scheduler to get on their schedule the next time your members of Congress are home. The House will be on recess March 6-15 and both the House and Senate will be on recess March 28-April 12. Use our online meeting request letter to make your request today. Once you get a meeting scheduled, contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to set up a lobby prep call.

Events Calendar: RESULTS in California Last Week, REAL Change, and More

The past weekend, RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson traveled to Los Angeles to help support our existing groups and introduce RESULTS to young leaders. On Sunday, Meredith spent the day meeting with RESULTS volunteers in southern California for a regional workday to get trained and also to connect with each other. Regional conferences or workdays are a great way to stay connected to other RESULTS volunteers that you may not see very often. If you’d like help with organizing a regional conference, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

On Friday and Saturday, Meredith attended the 2015 IMPACT Conference. IMPACT brings college student and young leaders together to talk about important social issues. Meredith did several presentations to help train and inspire people to advocacy. The IMPACT conference is one way we recruit new people to our REAL Change Fellowship Program. REAL Change is a year-long fellowship program targeted to young leaders or potential leaders between the ages of 18 and 28. It is designed to cultivate the next generation of RESULTS advocates and organizers. They attend the RESULTS International Conference and then go back home to continue their advocacy and organizing work with RESULTS in their local community. Applications for the 2015-2016 program are now being accepted. If you know someone who would make a good candidate for REAL Change, send them to our REAL Change page and urge them to apply.

Here are some other outreach and training events we invite you to be a part of:

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: March 6-15, March 28-April 12; Senate: March 28-April 12. Request face-to-face meetings.

Advanced Advocacy Training: Powermapping and Using the Champion Scale, February 24 and 26. Want to learn how to leverage local relationships and contacts into powerful advocacy? Want to use RESULTS Champion Scale to create champions in Congress? We can show you. Join our Powermapping and the Champion Scale training tonight at 8:00 pm ET or Thursday at 3:00 pm ET. To join online, go to http://fuze.me/27334946. To join by phone, dial 201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 27334946.

Groups Building in Atlanta, GA and Birmingham, AL. We're getting folks trained to take action on EITC and SNAP, and gearing up for group events in early March. Atlanta has a standing training webinar on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. All are welcome. Contact Kristy Martino at [email protected] for details.

RESULTS Introductory Call, February 27. If you are new to RESULTS, learn more about our work by joining our next RESULTS Intro Call. The next call is this Friday, February 27 at 1:00 pm ET. Register for this or another call on the RESULTS website.

Group Start in Colorado Springs, April 9. On April 9, we’re holding a community outreach event to start a new RESULTS U.S. Poverty group in Colorado Springs, CO. The event is 6:00 – 8:00 pm MT at Old Colorado City Library, Meeting Room, 2418 West Pikes Peak Ave, Colorado Springs, CO. Contact Kristy Martino at [email protected] for details.

Attend the RESULTS International Conference, July 18-21. Join us for the RESULTS International Conference at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC. This is the biggest event of the year for RESULTS. Register TODAY!

February 26 NC Event Cancelled. The February 26 RESULTS/MomsRising event in Durham, NC has been cancelled because of weather. We will let you know when we have a new date for the event. Contact Kristy Martino at [email protected] for details.

Find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.


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