U.S. Poverty Weekly Update September 3, 2013
As an infant born in Waterville, Maine, to a single, teenage mother, I relied on food stamps for the first four months of my life. My family's economic status later required me to participate in other federal assistance programs like Head Start and the National School Lunch Program, so that I would have access to adequate nutrition and greater opportunities. Today I am a successful young woman with an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College, a master's degree from Stanford University, and a bright future.
– RESULTS Baltimore volunteer Jami-Lin Williams in an August 23 op-ed in the Baltimore Sun
New and Urgent in This Week's Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
- Got Two Minutes? Join the RESULTS National Conference Call This Saturday at 12:30 pm ET
- Got Ten Minutes? Get Ready for a Busy September (September Action)
- Got Twenty Minutes? Make One Last Face-to-Face Push This Week (August Action)
Latest from Washington, DC
Members of Congress head back to DC next week with a long list of work waiting for them. In addition to addressing the situation in Syria, they will have to finish work on the Farm Bill, the FY 2014 budget, and the debt ceiling. We’re going to have a busy fall. With the House still planning enormous cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as budget decisions impacting early learning programs, on this month’s conference call we’ll talk about what you can do to influence these important budget fights. This will be an important call – we hope you will join us.
Note: this month’s National Conference Call is a week earlier than usual due to the Yom Kippur holiday on September 14.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS monthly national conference call this Saturday, September 7 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 September 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? Get Ready for a Busy September (September Action Preview)
Next week, lawmakers will return to Washington, DC to begin work on a laundry list of items. Two of the biggest will be resolution of the Farm Bill and finishing the FY 2014 budget. Both of these issues must find some resolution, be it temporary or permanent, before the end of this month.
On the Farm Bill, you are well aware that the House is planning to cut $40 billion from SNAP over the next ten years, potentially forcing 6 million people off the program. Republican leaders are classifying this bill as “reform” and simply “closing loopholes,” and blaming recent SNAP enrollment increases on “unprecedented advertising and recruitment efforts.” This rhetoric ignores the fact that SNAP is targeted to the lowest income individuals and families in the U.S. and has been integral in helping families during the Great Recession (the real source of increased enrollment).
The House SNAP bill is expected to be on the floor as soon as September 12. That gives us less than two weeks to get ready. Many of you have already done wonderful work this summer by talking to members of Congress in meetings and town halls, generating media, and writing letters and making phone calls about protecting SNAP. Now we need to spread the word and get others involved. We must make sure the House SNAP bill is put to rest and but good. We also want to make sure that the FY 2014 budget adequately funds Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care. Get a jump on our campaign work this fall mobilizing our networks to protect and strengthen key anti-poverty program. Our September Action will focus on each one of us getting at least five other to take action by directly communicating with Congress about the importance of SNAP and other services.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to plan who you want to engage in the upcoming budget fights in Congress. Our goal is for each RESULTS volunteer to get five additional people to take action this month. That can be attending meetings, making calls, sending e-mails, generating e-mail, etc. Review your local action network lists, your local contacts, and coalition partners who would be willing to help. In addition, reach out to new people to remind them what’s stake and how they’re voice can play a key role in protecting low-income individuals and families here in America. Local food pantries and food banks, religious organizations, teachers, and other allies in your community who care about the impact of hunger and poverty on children and families are natural allies in this work. These connections will also be helpful as we plan another national outreach event similar to our national conference call with Barbara Ehrenreich last year.
The September Action will be available later this week and it will provide you with a number of ideas on reaching out to others and getting them to take action. We’ll also review the September Action on this Saturday’s National Conference Call at 12:30 pm ET.
Got Twenty Minutes? Make One Last Face-to-Face Push This Week (August Action)
This is the last week of the August recess. Many members of Congress are still at home and may even be holding town halls, either in person or online, this week. We thank everyone who has met with members of Congress this month and tried to get a meeting. Even the mere request of a meeting at the very least sends a message to your representatives and senators that their constituents are paying attention to what they’re doing about poverty in the U.S. And if you didn’t get a meeting this month, don’t give up. They will be home again this fall so follow up on that request and ask to be put on their schedule the next time they‘re home.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to call the schedulers for your members of Congress to start or follow up on your meeting requests. See if there are any last minute events you can attend this week and if not, ask to have a meeting with them the next time they are home. Check out the August Action and our August Recess Meeting Request letter to help you get things moving. For your meetings, see our Sample Town Hall Questions and please remember to download and copy our 2013 SNAP, Tax Policy, and Early Childhood Lobby Meeting Requests Sheets to give to members of Congress or their staff. If you confirm a lobby meeting, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) for help in preparing for the meeting. Once you talk with your policymakers, please fill out our Lobby Meeting Report Form to let us know how it went.
It’s that time of year again. This month, the Census Bureau will release 2012 data about poverty, income, health insurance, housing, employment, and more. The releases will be on September 17 and 19. As Congress will be making big decisions around SNAP, Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care, and other important issues in September, this data will be invaluable in reminding them about the importance of protecting anti-poverty programs.
To help us prepare, our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs will be holding a webinar next Tuesday, September 10 at 2:00 pm ET to help you find and use the data in the coming weeks. Presenters for the webinar will be Jared Bernstein, a nationally known economist, now a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, author of the popular blog, On the Economy, and former Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden.; Deborah Weinstein, the Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs, who will guide you through quick and easy routes to the information you need; and Ellen Teller, Director of Government Relations for the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), who as moderator will be a masterful context-setter and handler of questions.
This webinar is 90 minutes with plenty of time for your questions. CHN’s webinar are always informative, inspiring, and fun. You won’t be disappointed. Register for the webinar today at the CHN website!
We are sad to report that RESULTS New England Organizer Jenny Martin will be leaving RESULTS this month. She will be wrapping up her work over the next few weeks. Jenny has moved to North Carolina to support her family and thus is unable to continue her expansion work in New England. Jenny has been an important part of the U.S. Poverty team since May 2012 and has helped us establish a presence in the northeast. During her time there, she has started three RESULTS U.S. Poverty groups (western MA, Boston, and Burlington, VT) and has also made important contacts in Maine and other parts of New England. Jenny has proven to be an expert at relationship building and inspiring volunteers into action. Even though she is leaving RESULTS staff, Jenny is not leaving RESULTS. She is already planning to help start a new volunteer group in North Carolina in the coming months! We thank you, Jenny, for your service, your big heart, and the foundation for success you’ve laid for us in New England. Good luck!
Even though we are sad to see Jenny go, we are excited that Zahara Heckscher, a long-time friend of RESULTS, is stepping in to continue our organizing work in New England. Zahara is the co-author of the book How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas. She also serves as a contributing editor at TransitionsAbroad.com and facilitates the "Writing Staycation" retreat at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, MD. An expert on international volunteering and jobs, Zahara offers workshops on career development at college campuses around the country. She has worked at the Center for Progressive Leadership and the Institute for Policy Studies, teaching classes and developing political leadership curricula, has published articles in a variety of publications, and has 20+ years’ experience with a variety of non-profits, working in the areas of human rights, community development, and social change. Zahara has a M.A. in International Development from the American University School of International Service and a BA in Biology from Wesleyan University. She teaches professional writing at University of Maryland at College Park.
Zahara is already reaching out to leads in Maine and New Hampshire, so if you know people in those areas (or other parts of New England), please contact her at [email protected].
In the meantime, we are working to start new groups in areas around the country. If you know people in the following places, invite them to participate:
- Baltimore, MD on September 4. RESULTS Informational Call, 10:30am ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode 2883622#. This is a planning call to get a new group started in the Baltimore area. Contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for details.
- Waterloo, IA on September 16. RESULTS Outreach Meeting, 7:00 – 8:30 pm CT. For details, contact Jos Linn ([email protected]).
- Kansas City, MO on September 18. RESULTS Outreach Meeting, 6:15 – 7:45 pm CT. Kansas City Public Library – Waldo Branch, 201 E. 75th St, KCMO. For details, contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) and see our RESULTS KC Facebook Event page.
- Albuquerque, NM on September 18. RESULTS Outreach Meeting. Contact Myrdin Thompson ([email protected]) for details.
- Lexington, KY on October 5. RESULTS Outreach Meeting. Contact Myrdin Thompson ([email protected]) for details.
We are also working to build a RESULTS presence in Burlington, VT, Boston, MA, Louisville, KY, Memphis, TN, New Hampshire, and Maine. If you know people in these or other areas, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
Fast Food Strikes Highlight Importance of Higher Wages. Over the last few weeks, workers from many fast food chains have gone on strike. They are demanding wealthy companies such as McDonald’s and Papa John’s pay a living wage of $15 per hour, double the current minimum wage of $7.25. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA-11) (S.460 / H.R. 1010) would raise the minimum wage to more than $10 per hour. RESULTS has updated it Minimum Wage and Living Wage page. Take a look to learn more about this important issue.
Meredith Dodson is Back! After spending the last four months with her new baby Iris and Iris’s big brother Sean (and husband Chris), Meredith Dodson is back from maternity leave and resuming her duties as Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns at RESULTS. To help support both our RESULTS U.S. Poverty work along with her new expanded family, Meredith will be working four days per week (with Thursdays off) through the end of 2013. Welcome back, Meredith!
Wondering how to reach your outreach goals by the end of the year? Fundraising events can be very effective tools for drawing in new people to hear about our mission. We have great stories of strong members and staff who first came to RESULTS through fundraisers: NW Regional Coordinator John Hornby from Kitsap, Grassroots Expansion Associate Myrdin Thompson from Louisville, and Houston partner Ashley Wrape just to name a few. Fundraisers build community support and credibility when you create a fun environment where people can hear our message clearly. Plus, a special guest speaker can help get more people in the room to hear about our mission. Contact Cindy Levin at [email protected] to brainstorm ideas about how an event might help build your group and raise money for RESULTS at the same time!
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: August 5 – September 6. Request face-to-face meetings.
Saturday, September 7: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online. Note: the September call has been moved to the first Saturday of the month because of Yom Kippur.
Wednesday, September 11: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.
Monday, September 16. RESULTS Waterloo, IA Outreach Meeting, 7:00 – 8:30 pm CT. For details, contact Jos Linn ([email protected]).
Tuesday, September 17: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS (7378587, plus #).
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]
- Jenny Martin, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, New England, (413) 772-9596, [email protected]
- Myrdin Thompson, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, South, (502) 295-1315, [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.