U.S. Poverty Weekly Update November 12, 2013
No parent should have to send children to school without food.
– Courtney Miskell, RESULTS Kansas City volunteer in a November 1 letter to the editor in the Kansas City Star
Giving a helping hand to our fellow citizens during hard times… helps us all as a nation, strengthening our union by turning away from the divisiveness of parsimony and by sharing the conviction that times can get better. Surely, we owe our children that much.
– Bill Baker, RESULTS Stamford (CT) Free Agent in a November 8 op-ed in the New Haven Register
New and Urgent in This Week's Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
- Got Two Minutes? Call Senate and House Offices about Protecting SNAP
- Got Ten Minutes? Talk to Senate and House Agriculture Aides about SNAP (November Action)
- Got Twenty Minutes? Give the Gift of RESULTS – Invite Five People to a RESULTS Intro Call
Latest from Washington, DC
Now is the time to make our bug push on protecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). Farm Bill negotiators are meeting as we speak to make final decisions on what SNAP and other programs will look like for the next five years. It is up to us to remind them that protecting SNAP must be a top priority.
Our main focus this month is making sure all our groups and Free Agents are talking to agriculture aides about protecting SNAP (see more below). However, we need even more people contacting congressional offices with a simple message of “protect SNAP!” Those contacts will bolster and amplify our message. Hungry Americans need our help in the last weeks of the Farm Bill debate. Let’s make sure we get the job done.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call your Senate and House offices and leave a message with the receptionist about protecting SNAP. You can find contact information for your members of Congress on our Elected Officials page. You can also call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected your members’ of Congress offices. Once connected, leave this message:
My name is ________ and I’m a constituent from ____________. I am very concerned that Congress is making decisions that would increase hunger. SNAP or food stamps is our best line of defense against hunger in the U.S. yet some lawmakers want to throw millions of people, including many children, off the program. We cannot let this happen. Please tell Sen./Rep.______________ to tell Senate/House leaders to protect SNAP in the Farm Bill.
After you’ve called, send the above message to people in your local action network and urge them to call as well. Calls are best but if you are pressed for time, e-mail your Senate and House members telling them to protect SNAP.
Got Ten Minutes? Talk to Senate and House Agriculture Aides about SNAP (November Action)
House members return to Washington, DC today. With both the House and Senate in DC until Thanksgiving, negotiations over the Farm Bill and SNAP will accelerate. The next few weeks will be critical as negotiators work to resolve the differences between the House and Senate Farm Bills. There is tremendous pressure from farm groups and the Obama Administration to get a Farm Bill done this year. With outside pressure building, there is a risk that negotiators may agree to reckless changes to SNAP just to get a bill done. It is therefore imperative that negotiators, especially senators, hold firm and protect SNAP in a final Farm Bill.
As highlighted on last Saturday’s conference call, we are focusing our efforts this month on talking to agriculture aides for senators and representatives about SNAP. We want them urging their bosses to talk to Farm Bill negotiators about protecting SNAP. Remember, agriculture aides in DC are tasked with researching and informing their bosses on issues related to farm and food policy. Some may know a lot about SNAP, others may not know very much. Talking to them about the importance of SNAP helps you not only educate them on the issue, but can potentially create a strong ally in your congressional office that can carry the “protect SNAP” message forward.
Last Saturday’s conference call guest speaker Kate Scull from Witnesses to Hunger reminded us that what we are doing matters to a lot of low-income Americans. With the recent SNAP cut that began on November 1, hungry families are already being stretched to the limit. To add additional, unnecessary cuts to SNAP in the Farm Bill will only exacerbate the problem of hunger and force people deeper into poverty. Kate told us that for politicians to simply write these people off as lazy and unworthy is just wrong; from her experience, these families are working harder than ever just to make it through each day. It is our responsibility to help Congress understand what’s at stake and undo these falsehoods about SNAP recipients.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to contact your congressional agriculture aides about protecting SNAP. Each group or Free Agent should assign separate people (if possible) to contact an aide. Start with the Senate aides and then go to the House. When you call, ask the aide to have his/her boss weigh in with Reps. Frank Lucas and Collin Peterson (for House members) or Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Thad Cochran (for Senators) about protecting SNAP in the Farm Bill. If your member of Congress is on the Farm Bill conference committee, ask the aide to urge his/her boss to work to protect and strengthen SNAP in Farm Bill negotiations. Here are some resources to help you:
- The November Action has talking points and background information for your calls
- Our November Laser Talk provides a sample conversation with an agriculture aide (you can also hear a role play of this conversation from last Saturday’s conference call)
- The Conference Call slides have facts about SNAP as well as answers to objections you might hear in these conversations
- State-by-state information about the November 1 SNAP cut from Pew
And don’t forget to keep pushing for face-to-face meetings with senators and representatives. The Senate will be on recess the week after Thanksgiving. Farm Bill negotiations could stretch into December so these meetings can still have an impact. Follow up on your face-to-face meeting requests with your senators and representatives and once you get something scheduled, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) to help you prepare.
Thank you to Kate Scully and Witnesses to Hunger for speaking on last Saturday’s RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call. We appreciate the important work they are doing to empower low-income families. To listen to a recording of the call and download the slides and summary of the call, see our National Conference Calls page.
Our outreach efforts in 2013 have been going very well. In 2013 we’ve started new groups in Creston, IA, Whitefish, MT, Arlington, VA, Orange County, CA, and re-started our Chicago, IL group. In addition, we have groups in Boston, MA; West Los Angeles, CA, Kansas City, MO; Waterloo, IA; Albuquerque, NM; and Baltimore, MD that are in new group training. Finally, we are working to start seven additional new groups in works in Burlington VT; Portsmouth/Durham, NH; Maine, Lexington, KY; Louisville, KY; Cincinnati, OH; and Indianapolis, IN.
We thank all of you who have helped us build our U.S. Poverty presence around the country. The more voices we have advocating for the end of poverty, the quicker we can achieve that goal. If you know people in the areas above, please contact Meredith Dodson at ([email protected], (202) 783-7100, x.116) to help them get connected to RESULTS. We’d like to introduce them to our work. You never know who will become the next great advocate and you will never know unless you ask.
You, our volunteers, are the voice of RESULTS and just like your work to change public policy, your work to help us expand our network and magnify our voice is a vital component in creating the political will for change. This month, many of us will be spending time with family and friends to give thanks for the many blessings we have received – the blessings of food and resources, the blessings of family, and the blessings of friendship. We consider your work with RESULTS to be a blessing as well. Sometimes it may be hard to see but your work is changing the world. Tens of thousands of people are now enrolling in Medicaid because of your advocacy on health reform. Thousands of families still have access to Head Start and child care assistance because of our work on early childhood education. Millions of families will stay out of poverty this year because of your efforts to expand and protect the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. This is your legacy (and these are only your recent successes). Who better to share the experience of making a difference with others than you? Help us make the end of poverty a reality – share the blessings of empowerment with those you care about and together, we can create the world we wish to see.
TAKE ACTION: Help us grow RESULTS by taking twenty minutes to identify five people you would like to a RESULTS Introductory Call. Surely in your contacts, rolodexes, and Facebook, you have five people who might be interested in ending poverty. The Intro Call is the easiest way to get them connected. All you need do is invite them to be on the call; we’ll handle the rest. We’ll give them a simple and meaningful introduction to our work and help them get involved if they so choose. Are you thankful that someone introduced you to RESULTS at some point in the past? Pay it forward by doing the same for someone else. The next RESULTS Introductory Call is tomorrow, November 13 at 9:00 pm ET. Send your invitees the link to register for this or another upcoming call (we repeat these calls twice per month): www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.
Thank you for your continued advocacy and outreach efforts. It is only because of you that RESULTS gets results.
Congratulations! RESULTS volunteers continue to shatter our media goals and publicly push lawmakers to protect SNAP in the Farm Bill. Since October 1, you’ve gotten 23 media pieces published, including 16 letters to the editor, 5 op-eds, and 2 editorials. This brings us to 123 media placements in 2013 – that’s a 150 percent increase in the number of media placements over 2012 (total of 49 last year)! And we still have seven weeks left in the year. Let’s keep it up.
We have a great resource to help you. The RESULTS Media Training Team is having their next training call tonight, November 12 at 8:00 pm ET. To participate in the call, dial (218) 862-1300 and enter passcode 682494. These calls are a great resource for anyone who is wanting to ramp up their media advocacy work. Tonight’s call will feature a panel of grassroots media champions who have generously offered to be on the call and will engage everyone as a “community of practice” to enhance everyone’s success in getting editorials published, building productive relationships with editorial boards, and empowering others. A community of practice is a group of individuals participating in a shared activity, creating their shared identity through engaging in and contributing to advancing the practices of the group. Individuals learn and teach other and feel greater connectedness and allegiance. At the same time, the knowledge and accomplishment of the entire group increases, yielding a greater accomplishment than could be achieved by just one person. We hope you will join us tonight at 8:00 pm ET.
Also, if you have not submitted a media piece in the last month, please do so today. If you did and it did not get published, submit another one. As discussed above, Farm Bill negotiations are going so the more media we generate, the more influence we generate. Use the October Action to help generate editorials and op-eds about protecting SNAP or our online media alert to send a letter to the editor. And when you get published, be sure to let us know!
President Obama Backs Higher Minimum Wage. Last week, it was reported that President Obama has thrown his support behind efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to above $10 per hour. Last summer, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA-11) introduced companion Senate and House bills to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The president is now supporting that effort. The National Employment Law Project reports that 1 in 5 Americans are currently working in a low-wage job and raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour would create 161,000 jobs (from Economic Policy Institute analysis). RESULTS strongly supports this legislation and applauds the president for throwing his support behind a $10 minimum wage. Check the bills summaries above to see if your senators and representatives have co-sponsored these bills; if not, urge them to do so.
Join Webinar on Promoting Financial Security. In a climate where it’s tough to get a majority of Americans to support government action on anything, communicating effectively about financial security for all is imperative to enacting critical policies. The Ford Foundation and Hattaway Communications have conducted two years of in-depth research to develop communications tools that persuade 7 out of 10 Americans to support an active government role in helping people build financial security. Next week, they will hold a webinar on their findings. This webinar will share practical guides and principles for crafting compelling narratives and language to increase support for a variety of policies and programs. The webinar is Wednesday, November 20 at 2:00 pm ET. To register for the webinar, go to: https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/registrations/new?cid=9tl9j5iy5d2w.
Grassroots Board Member Lydia Pendley Re-Elected. Congratulations to Lydia Pendley of the RESULTS Santa Fe group for being re-elected as a Grassroots Board Member of the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board. Lydia has already served a three-year term and was re-elected for another three-year term. We look forward to her continued leadership and powerful voice on the Board. We also thank Frank Gilbert of Louisville, KY and Roger Hudson of Anchorage, AK for their candidacies and for their strong leadership in RESULTS.
For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary on the RESULTS website.
In this Thanksgiving season of plenty, how can we engage our friends and family to help others without a place at a table? You can join RESULTS groups and Free Agents in an online Virtual Thanksgiving Feast fundraising campaign. RESULTS partners from Inland Empire, Cleveland, North Carolina Triangle, St Louis, Sitka, and Madison are all participating. Register your own fundraising page to ask your friends to support our domestic and global nutrition campaigns this month to help children who don't know when their next meal will be. Contact Cindy at [email protected] if you need assistance.
Congratulations to Albuquerque partners who held a fundraiser for us on Sunday, November 10! We also thank Columbus and New Jersey who held joint global and domestic events, so that their partners could share their strengths and donors could learn about all sides of our work. Good luck to Santa Fe with their fundraiser with our Executive Director, Dr. Joanne Carter, on 11/15. Contact [email protected] for details on Santa Fe's event.
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: October 31 – November 11; Senate: November 28 – December 8. Request face-to-face meetings.
Tuesday, November 12: RESULTS Media Training Call, 8:00 pm ET. (218) 862-1300 and enter passcode 682494.
Wednesday, November 13: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.
Monday, November 18: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 1:00 pm ET. (267) 507-0370, passcode RESULTS (7378587, plus #).
Tuesday, November 19: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 9:00 pm ET. (267) 507-0370, passcode RESULTS (7378587, plus #).
Thursday, November 28 – Friday, November 29: All RESULTS offices closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!
Saturday, December 14: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 2:00 pm ET. Note the different time; this will be a joint U.S. and Global Poverty call. Listen to previous conference calls online.
Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.
RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:
- Meredith Dodson, Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (202) 783-7100, x.116, [email protected].
- Jos Linn, Senior Associate for U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (515) 288-3622, [email protected]
- Myrdin Thompson, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, South, (502) 295-1315, [email protected]
- Zahara Heckscher, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, New England, (202) 489-8908, [email protected]
- Ann Beltran, U.S. Poverty Volunteer Lobbyist, [email protected]
- Cindy Changyit Levin, Grassroots Development Associate, (773) 236-7758, [email protected]
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.