U.S. Poverty Weekly Update November 5, 2013

November 5, 2013

"The safety net is fraying. Harsh cuts to programs that keep Americans fed would destroy the net further, hurting millions of men, women and, especially, children and the elderly. Our country — still one of the richest in the world — is better than this.”

November 1 editorial in the Santa Fe New Mexican (RESULTS Santa Fe volunteers worked to get this published)

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

Got Two Minutes? Join the RESULTS National Conference Call THIS Saturday at 12:30 pm ET

Our work on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) continues this month as we keep pushing for more media about the importance of SNAP and start weighing in with our Congressional offices about the need to protect SNAP from deep cuts in the Farm Bill. Join us this weekend for RESULTS National Conference Call, where you will get the latest on SNAP/Farm Bill negotiations, updates on our media push, and guidance on the most important actions you can take this month as our work on SNAP hits the home stretch. We are pleased that Angela Sutton from Witnesses to Hunger to share her story with us (some of you will remember Angela’s powerful story from last summer’s RESULTS International Conference). Join us for this important call.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS monthly national conference call this Saturday, November 9 at 12:30 pm ET. Coordinate with your group where you will meet for the call. To join the call, dial (888) 409-6709 and once connected to the operator, ask for the RESULTS National Conference Call. Plan to call in no later than 12:27 pm ET to give time to the operator to connect you with the call.

We will have the November 2013 Conference Call Overview slides available later this week. You will find them on the RESULTS Home Page in the “Take Action” box in the top right-hand corner.

Got Ten Minutes? Weigh in with Members of Congress about Protecting SNAP (November Action)

The House is out on recess this week. Despite their absence from DC, negotiations over the Farm Bill and the future of SNAP continue behind closed doors. The next few weeks will be critical. The scuttlebutt is that Farm Bill negotiators will have until Thanksgiving to come up with an agreement. If they do not, Farm Bill programs, including SNAP, could get roped into broader budget discussions now taking place (to reopen the government, a budget commission was formed which has until December 13 to draft a budget agreement). This is not great news on either front. On one hand, if Farm Bill negotiators feel pressure to get a deal done too soon, they make be willing to accept deeper cuts to SNAP to get it done. On the other hand, if SNAP gets roped into broader budget discussions, many House leaders will push for cuts to SNAP to help undo sequestration. But you can help stop either of the scenarios from becoming reality. These discussions to cut SNAP are coming on the heels of an across-the-board cut to SNAP that went into effect on Friday. We cannot let Congress do more harm to hungry individuals and families.

By pushing our elected leaders to stand firm, we can bolster leaders in these negotiations to make sure SNAP is protected. Senators will not be home until the end of this month so talking to Senate (and House) agriculture aides about protecting SNAP will be key this month. In addition, House leaders are home through November 11 so setting up face-to-face meetings with them or attending town halls is also a great way to tell them in person to protect SNAP in the Farm Bill.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to contact your congressional agriculture aides to weigh in on protecting SNAP. Assign separate people in your group an aide to contact. Tell the aide to ask him/her 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. The November Action has talking points to help you

In addition, contact House and Senate schedulers to see if you can schedule a face-to-face meeting with your members of Congress during recesses this month. The House is on recess from now through November 11; the Senate will be on recess November 28 – December 6. See our Elected Officials page for scheduler names and contact information. Be sure to the scheduler if your representative or senator will be holding any town halls or public events during the recess. If so, plan to attend. Town Halls are a great way to get your member of Congress to publicly take a stand on the issues. See our Sample Town Hall questions for ideas of questions to ask. Also, once you get a meeting scheduled or learn about a town hall, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected], (515) 288-3622) to help you prepare.

Got Twenty Minutes? Keep Up the SNAP Media Success! (October Action)

Thanks to all of you who have done a fabulous job at generating media the last few weeks about protecting SNAP (food stamps) from reckless budget cuts. In October, we got 15 pieces of media published from all over the country: Here are the successes so far:

  • Letter to the Editor, Hampton Roads Daily Press, Website visitor Melissa Davis (10/1)
  • Opinion-Editorial, Des Moines Register, RESULTS Des Moines (10/3)
  • Letter to the Editor, Chambersburg Public Opinion, Bruce Kessler, RESULTS South-Central  Pennsylvania (10/8)
  • Letter to the Editor, Albuquerque Journal, Marion Seymour, RESULTS Santa Fe (10/15)
  • Letter to the Editor, New Haven Register, Leslie Weinberg, RESULTS Stamford (CT) Free Agent (10/20)
  • Letter to the Editor, Salina Journal, Vic and Kay Streufert, RESULTS Lindsborg (KS) (10/22)
  • Letter to the Editor, Santa Fe New Mexican, Evelyn Cole, RESULTS Santa Fe (10/24)
  • Letter to the Editor, Austin American-Statesman, Alice Vigil, RESULTS Austin (10/25)
  • Letter to the Editor, Austin American-Statesman, Gail Buxton, RESULTS Austin (10/28)
  • Letter to the Editor, Daily Inter Lake, Karen Cunningham, RESULTS Montana (10/29)
  • Letter to the Editor, Santa Fe New Mexican, Mary Rives, RESULTS Santa Fe (10/29)
  • Letter to the Editor, Austin American-Statesman, Ginger Hansel, RESULTS Austin (10/30)
  • Editorial, Baltimore Sun, RESULTS Baltimore (10/31)
  • Opinion-Editorial, Stamford Advocate, Bill Baker, RESULTS Stamford (CT) Free Agent (10/31)
  • Opinion-Editorial, Greenwich Times, Bill Baker, RESULTS Stamford (CT) Free Agent (10/31)
  • Editorial, Santa Fe New Mexican, RESULTS Santa Fe (11/1)

Fantastic! We know there are still many media pieces pending so that number will climb over the next few weeks. If you get published, please let us know so we can add you to the success list.

The Farm Bill conference committee met for the first time this week and negotiations on a final Farm Bill including SNAP are ongoing. That means we still have the chance to influence negotiations through the media. In addition, House members are now home until November 12 and will be paying close attention to what constituents are talking about, especially in their local papers. What better way to welcome them home than will a barrage of media urging them to protect SNAP. And we need them to fight to protect it. Starting today, all SNAP recipients will see the benefits drop, as the SNAP benefit boost from 2009’s Recovery Act (ARRA) ends. For a family of four, that means a loss of an average of $36 per month. This cut will result in nearly 1.9 billion lost meals in 2014. You can see how this cut will affect your state in this SNAP cut state-by-state map from Pew.

TAKE ACTION: There’s still time to use the media to protect SNAP. Submit a letter to the editor, op-ed, or ask your local paper to write an editorial about protecting SNAP in the final Farm Bill. As you prepare your media pieces, here are some hooks that could help increase your chances of getting published:

  • Many TV stations and newspapers are covering the November 1 SNAP cut. Refer to recent stories about it and how wrong it is for Congress cut SNAP even more in the Farm Bill
  • Remind readers that as family’s prepare to give thanks and share bountiful meals later this month, by proposing deep cuts to SNAP, Congress is telling millions of hungry families to pass empty plates at Thanksgiving
  • Tell readers that as we enter the season of giving, we shouldn’t be taking from hungry Americans, we should be protecting SNAP

These are just a few ways you can hook your media piece to something currently happening in the news. And we have resources to help you. Our October Action has talking points about SNAP and tips for getting op-eds and editorials published. Our SNAP editorial memo can help you make a powerful pitch to an editorial writer or serve as the foundation for a strong op-ed. If your pressed for time, you can also send a letter to the editor using our online LTE alert. Our Media Guide provides contact information for media outlets in your state. As always, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) for help.

We’ll have more information about SNAP and how you can protect this vital program from unnecessary cuts on the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call this Saturday, November 9 at 12:30pm ET.

Quick News

Join Half in Ten Webinar on the War on Poverty Tomorrow. The U.S. will mark the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty in January 2014. The debate over the safety net programs that help millions of families nationwide is already heating up, and as an anti-poverty community, it’s important that we are well-equipped to face this rapidly approaching challenge and opportunity. To help with this, our friends at Half in Ten are hosting a webinar on November 7 at 2:00 pm ET. In this webinar, speakers will provide more information on the anniversary and role of the new poverty data out this fall, the latest advocacy resources you can leverage to make the most of the anniversary, and discuss how storytelling can help all of us make the most of this opportunity so that we can push back on misinformation and lay the groundwork for proactive policy that will cut poverty in America. Sign up today! Also, see their new report documenting progress we’ve made in reducing poverty in America.

New Report Highlights Importance of Early Learning. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s latest KIDS COUNT policy report, The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success, presents a strong case for investing in the early years of a child's life. Decades of brain and child development research show that kids who enter kindergarten with below-average language and cognitive skills can catch up — but only if they are physically healthy and have strong social and emotional skills. The report details how a child’s early development across critical areas of well-being is essential to make the effective transition into elementary school and for long-term school success. Send a link to the report to your members of Congress using our online e-mail alerts and urge them to support new investments in early learning.

SAVINGS Act Introduced. On October 30, Congressman Matt Cartwright and 17 bipartisan cosponsors introduced The Save Access to a Valuable Investment Needed to Generate Savings (SAVINGS) Act (H.R. 3385). The bill protects Americans’ ability to purchase U.S. Savings Bonds at tax-time until 2018. Without it, the IRS could discontinue the option after 2014. There are few savings opportunities available to low- and moderate-income Americans, and savings bonds, historically designed for small savers, are one of the best. Since 2009, more than 100,000 tax filers have purchased savings bonds through the tax-time savings bonds policy, setting aside more than $60 million dollars for themselves and their loved ones. Although the option to purchase a bond is open to all tax filers who receive a refund, the majority of bond purchasers have adjusted gross incomes below the national median and nearly one in three is an EITC-recipient.  The Tax-Time Saving Bond Program is a powerful vehicle to enable American families to save, and the SAVINGS Act protects its future. 


Last Days to Vote for Grassroots Board Member. RESULTS is electing a new Grassroots Board Member to serve on the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board. Grassroots Board Members serve for a term of three years, and represent the volunteer body on the Board of Directors and on the Executive Committee of the Board of RESULTS and REF. The three nominees are Frank Gilbert of Louisville, KY, Roger Hudson of Anchorage, AK, and Lydia Pendley of Santa Fe, NM. You can read their candidate bios on the RESULTS website. All active RESULTS volunteers are eligible to vote. You must vote by tomorrow, November 6. Help shape the future of RESULTS – vote for the Grassroots Board Member today

Join the Media Training Call on November 12. Our Media Training Team will be hosting their monthly media training call in a couple of weeks. These calls can help you expand and improve your media advocacy and volunteer-run and volunteer-driven. Mark your calendars and plan to call in. The call is next Tuesday, November 12 at 8pm ET. Dial 218-862-1300, passcode 682494 to participate.

Rest in Peace, Al Sheahen. RESULTS is sad to announce that Al Sheahen, long-time group leader for the RESULTS San Fernando (CA) group died last week. Al was a long-time champion for social justice and for helping people living in poverty. He was a fierce advocate for the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG), which would ensure that everyone in America would be guaranteed a minimum income so as meet their basic needs. He even wrote a book about BIG, which was re-released last year. Al was such a frequent letters to the editor contributor, the Los Angeles Daily News dedicated a page to him last week upon his death. A memorial service is being help for Al on November 10. We thank Al for his years of service to RESULTS and other important causes and we send our condolences to his family. We will miss you, Al.

For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary on the RESULTS website.

RESULTS Fundraising Update

Thank you very much to our partners in Ann Arbor, Columbus, and the Inland Empire, CA area for their fundraisers this past weekend. The donation totals are still coming in, but we are hearing wonderful stories of guests being moved to become monthly donors or increase their typical donations because of the sincere personal shares at the events. Ann Arbor hosted our founder, Sam Daley-Harris, who spoke eloquently on citizen engagement. Columbus hosted a local speaker who spoke of her experiences on SNAP benefits. Inland Empire used their partner shares and our Everyday Heroes video to touch their guests' hearts. No matter the size of the events, fundraisers are helping our partners with outreach and community building. Up next: Albuqerque on 11/10 an Santa Fe on November 15. Contact Cindy at [email protected] if you have questions or want help with planning your own fundraiser.

RESULTS Activity Calendar

(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.

Wednesday, November 6: Voting ends for RESULTS Grassroots Board member. Vote today.

Saturday, November 9: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET… Listen to previous conference calls online.

Wednesday, November 11: 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 #).

Monday, November 18: RESULTS Kansas City training meeting, 6:30 pm CT. If you would like to attend, contact Jos Linn for details ([email protected]).

Tuesday, November 19: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 9:00 pm ET. (267) 507-0370, passcode RESULTS (7378587, plus #).

RESULTS Contact Information

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:

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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