U.S. Poverty Weekly Update May 24, 2016

May 24, 2016

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | May 24, 2016

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is helping families in our community…. With so many American children at risk of going to bed hungry, we need to build on the success of these programs instead of dismantling them.”

– RESULTS Seacoast (NH and ME) volunteer Denise Wheeler in an April 28 letter to the editor in the Seacoast Online

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Media Action: Tell Congress to Protect SNAP!

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Get Your SNAP Letter Published in Time for Next Week’s Recess (May Action)

Next week, both the House and Senate will be on recess for the Memorial Day holiday. Why not welcome them home with a powerful letter to the editor about protecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). Have them open up their local paper and read over coffee how their constituents are demanding they stand up for Americans living in hunger. If you care about ending poverty, members of Congress need to hear from you.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to send your letter to the editor today urging Congress to protect SNAP. Use the May Action to write your own letter or submit it using online SNAP letter to the editor alert. In your piece, please be sure to tell your members of Congress by name to reject efforts to cut or restructure SNAP. And make sure they read it by sending a copy of your published letter to all your congressional offices.

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Got Ten Minutes? Look for Meetings and Town Halls during Memorial Day Recess

Representatives and senators will be in the home districts and states all next week for the Memorial Day recess. This is a great time to talk to them about protecting SNAP, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, and taking steps to narrow the widening wealth gap. In addition, many of you are attending the RESULTS International Conference in Washington, DC next month and sadly, the House will be on recess that week (announced after we scheduled the Conference). Therefore, next week’s recess will be your only opportunity to interact with House members before July. These personal interactions with lawmakers are the most effective way to influence their decisions.

Also, congressional campaign season is gearing up with many states having House and Senate primaries in the coming weeks. This means that candidates will be making public appearances to court voters. Use these events to ask candidates to lay out their plans to end poverty in America.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to contact your House and Senate schedulers about meetings and town halls they may be holding this week. You can find scheduler names, contact info, and website addresses on our Elected Officials page. If you’re not sure how to word a meeting request, see our sample request letter on the RESULTS website. Once you schedule a meeting or find an event you plan to attend, please review our economic mobility and nutrition assistance requests and contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to schedule a lobby prep call to help you get ready. After your meeting or town hall, please fill out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form to let us know how it went.

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Got Twenty Minutes? Schedule a Lobby Prep Call to Get Ready for the RESULTS Conference

Time is ticking down. The RESULTS International Conference begins one month from tomorrow! We are looking forward to a great event with hundreds of RESULTS volunteers from all over the world converging on Washington, DC to make the case for ending poverty. Making that case will come on Advocacy Day when volunteers meet with members of Congress and their staff to discuss our issues. If you are coming to DC (and it’s not too late to register at www.resultsconference.org), we want to make sure you are prepared for a powerful experience on Capitol Hill. That preparation starts now.

RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns is currently scheduling “lobby prep calls” with volunteers to get ready for their meetings in DC. These calls provide you individualized coaching for each of your meetings you will have, including whom to include, what issues to discuss, and what messages to use. These calls are invaluable as you prepare for the Conference and will save you a lot of time and anxiety when you get there.

Meredith is generally available to do these calls Monday through Friday in the day or evening. In addition, she has blocked out times on June 2 (Thu), June 7 (Tue), and June 16 (Thu) between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET to schedule lobby prep calls. She prefers to do these calls with everyone from your group who will lobby on U.S. Poverty issues, if possible. If there are multiple groups from the same state coming to DC, she will try to arrange a call with everyone from that state. See below how you can get a lobby prep call scheduled and start your Conference experience now.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to schedule a lobby prep call to get ready for Advocacy Day at the RESULTS International Conference. E-mail Jos Linn ([email protected]) the dates you and your group members are available to do a lobby prep call as soon as possible. There are openings on June 2 and June 7 between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET. Please contact Jos to let him know if those days work or if you need to meet at a different time.

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Send in Your Custom LTE or Op-ed about SNAP

Thank you to everyone who has submitted letters to the editor and op-eds, and have generated editorials these last few months about protecting SNAP and expanding the EITC. You’ve had 12 pieces published in May (22 total since April 1). This is an excellent start but if we want to get Congress’ attention about these issues, we need to do more (our goal is 30 media pieces in May). They need to see a steady flow of media urging them to protect programs that lift and keep people out of poverty. Members of Congress pay attention to local media so the more you generate, the more they will listen.

TAKE ACTION: Draft your own personalized letter to the editor or op-ed about protecting SNAP. Let Congress know that Americans support programs that reduce hunger and poverty. The May Action has talking points and a sample op-ed you can use to get started. Here are some other tips to help you get published.

  • Use new local SNAP data and hunger data to make your piece local. Papers want to see how these issues affect people in their area.
  • If you’ve submitted a letter or op-ed already and have not heard back, contact the paper again and ask if they plan to publish it. Be sure to include a copy of your letter or op-ed in your e-mail.
  • Look to other papers in your area. If your local paper won’t publish your piece, does your town have another paper? Perhaps a weekly paper or magazine that prints letters? Send it to them.
  • Branch out into other areas. If you have or have not been published in your area, look to other papers in your state. Larger papers, especially those in capital cities, will sometimes publish letters from around the state.

Contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) if you need help drafting or submitting your media piece.

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Reserve Your Hotel Room for the RESULTS International Conference by May 26

If you have not done so already, please take time this week to reserve your hotel room at the Washington Court Hotel for the RESULTS International Conference. Our discounted block of rooms expires this Thursday, May 26. After that, we cannot guarantee room availability or the discounted price. Go to the Washington Court website using this link to book your room now.

For additional information about the Conference, including our new Conference Checklist, please see our 2016 RESULTS Conference Resources page.

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Quick News

New Ideas for Improving SNAP. It seems all the talk we hear of “reforming” SNAP these days centers around cutting the program and converting into a block grant to states, two things RESULTS strongly opposes (fortunately, the $24 billion in SNAP cuts the House proposed last week seems to have fizzled out as quickly as they were announced). However, there are others taking a more thoughtful approach to how to improve the program. For example, the Hamilton Project has a new proposal out about how to improve SNAP benefits so as to better help families in need. Accounting for geographical differences in food prices and amending assumptions about how teenagers eat are just a few of their recommendations. RESULTS’ Experts on Poverty have shared stories that illustrate some of these same concerns and how Congress could take a deliberate and meaningful approach at improving SNAP that truly helps families. Join us at this year’s RESULTS International Conference where you’ll hear some of these stories during our Experts on Poverty plenary session.

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Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events. Also, find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: May 30 – June 3. Request face-to-face meetings. After your meeting, please tell us how it went by filling out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form: www.tinyurl.com/RESLRF.

RESULTS Introductory Call, May 27, at 1:00 pm ET. If you want to learn more about RESULTS, register for an upcoming Intro Call on the RESULTS website.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, June 11 at 12:30 pm ET. Join the meeting online at http://fuze.me/32255914; or by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32255914#. Listen to previous webinars on our National Webinars page.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, June 21 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. Join online at http://fuze.me/32256018 or by phone at: (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32256018#.

2016 RESULTS International Conference, June 25-28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Register at www.resultsconference.org!

If you have a question, comment or suggestion for the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board, please e-mail them to RESULTS Grassroots Board Member Lydia Pendley at [email protected]. You can download RESULTS’ most recent Annual Report at: https://results.org/about/annual_report/.

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