U.S. Poverty Weekly Update June 11, 2013

June 11, 2013

Urge our representatives to stand fast in protecting SNAP to our people and economy!

— Lydia Pendley, RESULTS Santa Fe volunteer, in a June 5, 2013, letter to the editor

Have we become a nation that thinks this is an acceptable way to treat our children? If these are not the values you believe in, then do something!

— Mimi Hatch, RESULTS Santa Fe volunteer, in a June 8, 2013, letter to the editor

Our country needs the political will and leadership to resist short-sighted “austerity” measures that are, as Cook said so well, “unwise, counter-productive and shameful.”

— Kitty Sherlock, RESULTS Santa Fe volunteer, in a June 9, 2013, letter to the editor

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

Got Two Minutes? Submit a Letter to the Editor Urging Congress to Protect SNAP from Cuts (June Action)

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on its new Farm Bill (H.R.1947) next week. This bill contains deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). These cuts would force nearly 2 million people off SNAP, deny free school meals to 210,000 children, and reduce benefits for another 1.7 million Americans. Cutting SNAP sends the wrong message that it’s OK for Congress to put the burden of deficit reduction on children and families who can least afford it. This is on the heels of the Senate passing its Farm Bill last night with $4.1 billion in cuts to SNAP.

Generating media is a powerful way to remind members of Congress that cuts to SNAP are unpopular at home and to build momentum for protecting SNAP in the House Farm Bill.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to send a letter to the editor to your local paper urging Congress to protect SNAP in the Farm Bill. Use our online LTE alert to send your letter today. Once you’ve sent your letter, use our SNAP e-mail alert to urge your representative to cosponsor H.Res.90 opposing SNAP cuts (if they have not already) and to support any efforts to undo the SNAP cuts in the House Farm Bill.

For more information about cuts to SNAP in the House and Senate Farm Bills, listen to the June 2013 National Conference Call. You can listen to the recording, download the slides, and download the summary of the call from our national conference call page.

Got Ten Minutes? Take the SNAP Challenge (June Action)

As discussed on last weekend’s RESULTS U.S. Poverty Conference Call, another way to bring attention to the issue of hunger in America and the devastating cuts to SNAP in the House Farm Bill is to participate in the SNAP Challenge. The Challenge asks people to live on a SNAP budget of $4.50 per day for a day, a few days, or a week.

Beginning June 13, more than 20 members of Congress will take the SNAP Challenge with other members of Congress to stand in solidarity with hungry children and families. Tomorrow, they will be doing a grocery store visit in Washington to highlight the challenges SNAP families face when trying to live on a limited budget. In addition, a number of national organizations including RESULTS are participating in the Challenge. RESULTS Houston volunteer Kathleen Duncan did the Challenge last week (learn about her story by listening to the recording and download the summary of the June RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call from our national conference call page). Myrdin Thompson, RESULTS U.S. Poverty Organizer for the South, is doing the Challenge this week.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to call or e-mail your members of Congress and urge them to take the SNAP Challenge. Our friends at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) have resources to help you, including a Dear Colleague letter. Rep. Barbara Lee’s website also has helpful resources for the Challenge.

We also invite you to participate in the Challenge if you’re able. Do it for a day, a few days, or a week. If you do, be sure to share your experience in your letters, op-eds, and editorials this month. Papers like to print this kind of story, which will bring much needed attention this issue. Be sure to share your experience with RESULTS staff ([email protected]).

Members of Congress doing the SNAP Challenge (as of June 7): Reps. John Carney (D-DE-AL), Matt Cartwright (D-PA-17), John Conyers (D-MI-13), Joseph Crowley (D-NY-14), Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR-4), Suzan DelBene (D-WA-1), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-8), Keith Ellison (D-MN-5), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH-11), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-At-Large), Dan Kildee (D-MI-5), Jim Langevin (D-RI-2), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Sander M. Levin (D-MI-9), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM-1), Doris Matsui (D-CA-6), Betty McCollum (D-MN-4), Jim McGovern (D-MA-2), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH-2), Rick Nolan (D-MN-8), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX-16), Mark Pocan (D-WI-2), Charles B. Rangel (D-NY-13), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Marc Veasey (D-TX-33), and Melvin Watt (D-NC-12).

Got Twenty Minutes? Build Support for Protecting SNAP in the Media (June Action)

Last night, the Senate passed its Farm Bill (S.954), 66-27. The bill passed with the $4.1 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). The good news is that the cuts were not made worse; the bad news is that there are still cuts. As we’ve said repeatedly, cutting a program that is efficient, and vital to so many Americans is wrong. The Senate will now await the outcome of the House Farm Bill.

The House is expected to begin debate on its Farm Bill (H.R.1947) next week. As noted above, it cuts $21 billion from SNAP, which would impact millions of children and families across the country. We don’t know yet if amendments to undo these cuts will be allowed. RESULTS will oppose the passage of the bill if cuts remain.

To help build firm opposition to SNAP cuts in a new Farm Bill, we urge you to use the media this month. Getting letters to the editor, op-eds, and editorials published before, during, and after the House debate will remind members of Congress that what may seem OK in Washington is not OK back home. On this past weekend’s RESULTS conference call, Greg Kaufmann, who writes the “This Week in Poverty” for The Nation was our guest speaker. He shared some great insights on generating media and building the political will to end poverty. He told us that developing relationships with local newspaper writers will go a long way in helping get more coverage of these issues. Relying on e-mails is not enough; you need to sit down with them, get to know them, and make your case. He also said that you have to be persistent. Sometimes people are not as responsive as you like or may not want to print what you ask, but don’t give up. Keep pushing them and reminding them that these issues affect more than just a select group of people; they affect the entire community. When you make the connection between your community and the larger issue, you increase the chances of a positive response.

Our goal is to get 30 pieces of media published this month. This is an ambitious but achievable goal. The participants on last weekend’s call committed to submitting 86 media pieces this month. That, along with others in our network also taking action, will help us make and exceed our mark. Already, we’ve had four letters to the editor published since June 1 (one from Pioneer Valley, MA and three from Santa Fe, NM). Remember, this is not just about influencing how things turn out in the House. We’re looking ahead to when the House and Senate begin negotiating a final bill later this summer. If members of Congress see that you — their constituents — are raising a ruckus in your local media about cuts to SNAP, you’ll be affecting the final outcome.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to complete the June Action — submit letters to the editor, op-eds, and generate editorials in your local papers urging your members of Congress to protect SNAP. The June Action sheet has all the information you’ll need. Be sure to use information in the SNAP state fact sheets from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to connect SNAP to your state and mention your members of Congress by name in your pieces. We also urge you to not only rely on LTEs this month but also submit op-eds and editorials. These pieces are excellent ways to magnify your voice and draw greater attention to the issue of hunger in America. For some excellent tips on writing letters and op-eds, see the RESULTS Blog post from Ginnie Vogts’ media training section on last Saturday’s call. Also, download the conference call slides to find a number of helpful resources and talking points to help with your media pieces this month.

Also, to learn more of what Greg Kaufmann shared with us on our call, listen to the recording of the call and download the call summary from the RESULTS website. We greatly thank Greg for his time on our call and support his efforts to raise awareness of poverty in America. We look forward to working with him again in the future.

Finally, we want to celebrate and tack your success. When you get published, please email Jos Linn the online link or copy of your letter at [email protected].

For more information about SNAP and the Farm Bill, see our Recent Developments in Nutrition and Health Legislation page and our 2013 U.S. Poverty Campaign Summary.

RESULTS International Conference

REGISTER today for this year’s RESULTS International Conference!

If you haven’t registered for the RESULTS International Conference yet, we have some exciting new speakers to announce. As we noted last week, Jim Weill, President, of the Food Research and Action Center will be speaking on Monday. He has dedicated his life to fighting hunger and poverty. He and FRAC are key leaders and allies in the campaign to protect SNAP (formerly, food stamps) and other critical domestic anti-poverty programs. In addition, former Members of Congress and Anti-Poverty Champions Tony Hall (D-OH) and Jim Walsh (R-NY) will also be speaking on Monday. Conference attendees will have the chance to dialogue with these long-time Congressional champions on global and domestic poverty issues about how we can create new leaders in Congress and be more effective advocates in challenging political times.

And don’t forget the conference will include a keynote plenary with Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus and a special day-long workshop and plenary session with renowned author and lecturer Marianne Williamson.

We are grateful to all our speakers for coming to our conference. Show them support by reserving your spot today! And do so by this Saturday, June 15 — after that, our registration rate goes up. Check out these International Conference stories from last weekend’s national conference call on the RESULTS Blog.

For those already planning to attend the conference, please start setting up your face-to-face lobby meetings for Lobby Day, Tuesday, July 23. Once you get them scheduled, please report them so we can help keep track of all our IC meetings. We’ll start setting up pre-conference lobby prep calls in a few weeks. Also, invite your members of Congress to the Lobby Day reception with Prof. Muhammad Yunus. You can find a customizable letter you can send on the RESULTS IC page: https://results.org/events/IC_2013/.

Finally, if you want to get a preview of the conference and how to prepare for your trip to DC< please dial into one of our helpful International Conference Tips calls. We’re holding them twice this month: Tuesday, June 18 at 8:00 pm ET and Friday, June 21 at 1:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. Be sure to bring all your conference-related questions! 

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Campaigns Update

In addition to our Protecting Nutrition and Health Programs Campaign, we want update you on events related to our Economic Opportunity and Early Childhood campaigns. On the Economic Opportunity front, as we noted last week, the Congressional Budget Office released a new report, breaking down the ten largest tax expenditures in the United States, which includes the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The report shows, contrary to Washington rhetoric, most tax expenditures (deduction, credits, etc.) go to the top 20 percent income bracket. The report helps connect the dots between tax credits and other tax benefits given to households with higher incomes. RESULTS U.S. Poverty Campaigns Consultant Katja Kleine has an excellent RESULTS blog post overviewing the report.

TAKE ACTION: Urge them to protect tax credits for working families using our online Tax Credit alert.

On Early Childhood, RESULTS U.S. Poverty Campaigns Intern Errolyn Gray attended an event launching a new report from Mission: Readiness at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Mission: Readiness is a nonpartisan national security organization made up of 350 retired admirals and generals calling for smart investments in America’s children. The speakers, which included retired military personnel and members of Congress, said that an estimated 75 percent of all young Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are unable to join the military. This is mainly because they do not have a high school diploma (or cannot score highly enough on the military’s entrance exam), are overweight, or have criminal records. Because of this, they recognize that the military is out of reach of men and women who could potentially be valuable assets. To address these issues, they have released A Commitment to Pre-Kindergarten is a Commitment to National Security, which calls for more investments in early childhood programs a national security imperative. In today’s military, one must be able to work with advanced equipment, have good communication skills, and have a high state of literacy. They believe that having a high-quality pre-kindergarten education will start kids off with the benchmarks and skills that they will need as they progress ahead in their educations. They also recognize the need for parents to be present in this process as well as for schools to enforce and exercise high-standards of quality education.

TAKE ACTON: Remind Congress that early learning must be a national priority. Urge Congress to protect early learning investments such as Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care in the FY 2014 budget using out online Early Childhood alert.

RESULTS Outreach Update

RESULTS is Coming to Orange County, CA! RESULTS Acting Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Jos Linn is helping host a RESULTS Outreach Meeting in Orange County, CA on June 26. Jos has been working with some fabulous advocates the past few months and we are excited about the prospect of starting a new U.S. poverty group in the Los Angeles area. If you know anyone in the Orange County, Santa Ana area, please invite them to attend. The meeting is Wednesday, June 26 at 7:00pm PT at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, 1100 S Center St, Santa Ana, CA. If you know people in that area, please invite them to attend. You can find more details on the Facebook event page or by contacting Jos at [email protected].

Jos is also working with advocates in Kansas City and New York City to start new groups so if you know people in these or other areas, please contact him.

Also, our two energetic part-time organizers Jenny Martin and Myrdin Thompson are working hard to grow the RESULTS network. Jenny is currently training our new group in Boston and is actively working to start new groups in Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire. If you know people in New England, please contact Jenny Martin at [email protected]. Myrdin is focusing her efforts in the South and Ohio Valley. She is actively working to start new groups in Louisville, Tennessee (Nashville and Memphis) and Cincinnati. She is also working with advocates in Albuquerque to start a group there this fall. If you know people in these or other areas of the South and Midwest, please contact Myrdin Thompson at [email protected].

Also, RESULTS U.S. Poverty Campaigns Consultant Katja Kleine and RESULTS Global Grassroots Associate Lisa Marchal attended the Bonner Summer Leadership Institute at Earlham College in Richmond, IN last week. They met with passionate, civically engaged college students and taught them about all of RESULTS main campaigns on both the domestic and global side. Katja led an EPIC Laser Talk training for a group of Bonners and taught them how to use the EPIC format when they speak, write an op-ed, or post on Facebook! As a result of these presentations, Katja was able to sign up 20 new people to the RESULTS Action Network. We greatly appreciate the Bonner Foundation and staff for including RESULTS in this conference.

Finally, if you want to introduce someone to RESULTS in an easy and fun way, invite them to attend a RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30–45 minute calls provide a brief overview of RESULTS and information on how you can get involved. If you or someone you know would be a great advocate for the end of poverty, invite them to register for the next call tomorrow, June 12 at 9:00 pm ET. People can register for this or another upcoming Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.

RESULTS Fundraising Update — Exciting Match Opportunity

RESULTS Educational Fund has an exciting opportunity to receive $1,000 in match donations! RESULTS Board member Marianne Williamson recently gave a powerful talk as part of 2013 TEDx Traverse City and generously chose RESULTS Educational Fund as her charity of choice. As her chosen charity, all donations made to RESULTS Educational Fund will receive a match, up to $1,000 total, from the Utopia Fund. These donations must be made through the Utopia Fund’s website: http://utopiafound.org/marianne-williamson-results-education-foundation.

We have until July 14 to turn $1,000 in individual donations into a total of $2,000 for RESULTS Educational Fund!

We would greatly appreciate if you could forward this opportunity to your friends and networks. Jen Maurer ([email protected]) would be happy to talk with you directly about your ideas on how we can meet our $1,000 goal. Also, please contact Cindy Changyit Levin, Grassroots Development Associate, [email protected], (773) 236-7758 or Jen DeFranco, Fundraising Events Associate, [email protected], (773) 688-8707 for any help you need in planning your fundraising events in 2013.

RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: July 1–5. Request face-to-face meetings.

Wednesday, June 12: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.

Tuesday, June 18: International Conference Tips Call, 8:00 pm ET (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

Tuesday, June 18: Media Training Call on June 18, 8:00 pm ET. (218) 862-1300 passcode 682494.

Tuesday, June 18: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS (7378587, plus #).

Friday, June 21: International Conference Tips Call, 1:00 pm ET (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

Wednesday, June 26: RESULTS Orange County (CA) outreach meeting. For more details, contact Jos Linn at (515) 288-3622, [email protected].

Saturday, July 13: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Saturday, July 20 &nash; Tuesday, July 23: 2013 RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. Register today!

RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil. Please note that RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson is on maternity leave until Labor Day 2013.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via email to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our U.S. poverty campaigns.

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