Friday, February 24, 2017

Urge President Trump to Make Ending Hunger a Priority

The following is an action alert from the organizers of  the movement A Place at the Table: Food is Fuel
Forty-eight years ago, a Republican president -- in his first year in office -- declared in a special message to Congress that “the moment is at hand to put an end to hunger in America.”
Here's the thing: The message actually worked, for a while. Members of Congress from both parties came together and strengthened federal nutrition programs. In 1977, one report said that extreme hunger had been virtually wiped out in the places in the country with the lowest incomes.
We've gone backwards since then, but we still know that when presidents set big goals for the country, from putting a man on the moon to ending extreme hunger, great things can happen.
First, we all need to demand action. Just today, we heard more news that the safety net that brought an end to hunger for millions of Americans is under threat. SNAP (food stamps) and other vital programs help put food on the table for children, seniors, veterans, and working families all over this country -- yet our leaders in Washington are talking about slashing these programs so they can no longer be the lifeline that they are to those who need a little help.
This is a time to strengthen our commitment to adequate nutrition for all, not walk away.
On February 28, the senators and representatives should walk out of that presidential address with a clear mission: making sure everyone in this country has the nutrition they need to live up to their dreams.
If they don't hear it from the president, we'll make sure they hear it from us. But first, Trump should use the power of the presidency to put this issue in front of Congress:

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cornel West: 'The Courage to Question the Powers that Be'

The country is in deep trouble. We've forgotten that a rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to leave the world a little better than you found it. We need the courage to question the powers that be, the courage to be impatient with evil and patient with people, the courage to fight for social justice. In many instances we will be stepping out on nothing, and just hoping to land on something. But that's the struggle. To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to have the last word. 

Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public. 
-Cornel West

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Film Shows How Genetically Altered Corn Threatens Mexican Crop

Mexican corn is under threat from the influx of cheap genetically modified corn from the United States. The documentary SUNÚ reveals how corn and everything it gives life to could be lost forever, and shares a generous tapestry of simple, heartfelt messages for the farmers of the world and the city dwellers who could lose the capability to make important choices unless they act soon.
Seen through the eyes of small, midsize and large indigenous and independent Mexican corn producers, SUNÚ knits together a diverse variety of stories from a threatened rural world. This film documents how farmers work the land and cultivate their seeds while being true to their cultures and their forms of spirituality   The documentary has been nominated for several awards.   View Trailer  
Local Screenings
The documentary will be shown on Saturday, February 25, 12:30 p.m. at Center for Contemporary Arts, 1050 Old Pecos Trail, in Santa Fe (map) and on Sunday, February 26, 4:30 p.m. at the Guild Cinema in Albuquerque, 3405 Central Ave. NE (map)  Special guest at both screenings: Director Teresa Camou Guerrero. The Albuquerque screening is part of the Sin Fronteras 2017 Film Festival, sponsored by the Students of Latin American Studies at the University of New Mexico. The Sin Fronteras Festival is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Here is ticket information for the CCA in Santa Fe.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy New Mexico Food & Farms Day and New Mexico School Nutrition Day

Today, Monday, February 20, is the fifth annual New Mexico Food and Farms Day and New Mexico School Nutrition Day at the New Mexico State Capitol. The events are organized by Farm to Table and the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council, plus legislative sponsors (Rep. Rebecca Dow and Sen. Pete Campos for New Mexico Food and Farms Day) and Sen. Pete Campos and Rep. Bobby Gonzales, Jimmie Hall, and Speaker Brian Egolf for New Mexico School Nutrition Day).

Day at a Glance:
8:30am - 11:00am Information tables set up in the East and West Halls

9:00am - 9:45am Press Conference and Awards Ceremony in the Rotunda 
  • NM Food & Farms Day Presentation
  • NM School Nutrition Day
  • 2nd Annual Local Food and Farm to School Awards Celebration
10:00am In both the Senate Chambers and the House Chambers
(schedule may vary)
  • Presentations of NM Food and Farms Day Memorial and NM School Nutrition Day Memorial and Introduction of Rostrum special guests
  • Salads consisting of New Mexico grown produce are delivered to each member of the House and Senate.
12 noon or after NM Food and Farms Day group photo in front of the Capital - West Side

2nd Annual Local Food and Farm to School Awardees

Teacher of the Year

Charlotte Alderete -Trujillo
Principal and Teacher South Valley Preparatory School
Albuquerque, NM

of the Year

La Plazita Institute Albuquerque, NM
School Food Director of the Year

Barbara Berger
Health and Nutrition Specialist
Las Cruces Public Schools

Farmer of the Year

Dale ToyaTraditional Farmer from Jemez Pueblo, NM

Double Up Food Bucks Outlet
of the Year

Aztec Farmers' Market Aztec, NM

Farmers' Market
of the Year

Downtown Growers' Market Albuquerque, NM

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Our Call is to Persevere

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

Interpretive translation of Talmudic texts

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Down on the Corner Where the Cool Cats (Bread Activists) All Hang

California and Hawaii activists
Did you know that the Bread for the World website has a special page for grassroots members? This site is for folks who lead local, regional or state groups, organize Offerings of Letters, make phone calls to their members of the House and Senate and engage in all sorts of activities that keep the organization running like a well-oiled machine. The Activist Corner is updated weekly with the latest information, tools, and resources, so make sure to visit weekly.

Here is an important item on the agenda for folks who are beginning the planning process for the 2017 Offering of Letters. 

National Grassroots Webinar and Conference Call
Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. ET (2 p.m. MT) 
Join us for an informative webinar and also find out how your advocacy can drive change in the coming months. This month we’ll preview of the 2017 Offering of Letters: Doing Our Part to End Hunger.

And here is an opportunity for action (which is what Bread activists do best).

Colorado delegation
Act Now
2017 Offering of Letters: Doing Our Part to End Hunger

Call (800/826-3688) or email your members of Congress and tell them to invest in programs like WIC, SNAP, tax credits for low-income workers, and international development assistance. 2017 looks to be a very dangerous year for programs that help poor and hungry people. Congress could make significant cuts to programs in the 2018 budget and spending bills unless they hear from constituents.

Activists in Action 
 Incidentally, there is a section called "Activists in Action."  Since the page will be updated at some point in the near future, I will cut and pasted right here.  This section highlights our efforts and plans in Albuquerque.

Carlos Navarro, Ellen Buelow, Larry Beulow, Art Meyer
New Mexico Leaders Plan an Offering of Letters Workshop
Carlos Navarro, who joined Bread for the World more than 30 years ago and has been committed to ending hunger ever since, leads our efforts in Albuquerque, N.M. Navarro organizes a yearly workshop designed to introduce the Offering of Letters to local church leaders and anti-hunger activists.

Navarro has scheduled an Offering of Letters: Doing Our Part to End Hunger workshop for March 11. The workshop will teach participants how to conduct a successful letter-writing event, and also how to have an effective meeting with congressional members.

In advance of the panel, Navarro asked New Mexico Bread activists for tips and recorded them in a post on the Bread New Mexico Blog. Asked how to prepare for a visit to your congressional office, Bread member Ellen Beulow said:

"Preparing is half the journey. Bread webinars are great places to learn about issues. The Offering of Letters kit pinpoints why and how to write our congressional representatives. However, to speak to staffers about that issue, we need to gather some personal stories in our community...It’s important to keep conversations concise and to the point while giving perspective on needs in New Mexico."

Indiana, New Mexico activists
Ellen and her husband Larry will travel to Washington, D.C., for Bread’s annual Lobby Day, Tuesday June 13. To increase the impact of their advocacy, Navarro and others will schedule in-district meetings with congressional staff to coincide with the couple’s Capitol Hill visits.

Our work to end hunger is powered by the passion and talent of our activists across the United States. We are louder when we organize and stronger when we take advantage of the wealth of knowledge our members have accumulated in over 40 years of advocacy.

If you need tips or have questions about organizing an Offering of Letters workshop in your region, contact or call 800/822-7323.
"Preparing is half the journey. Bread webinars are great places to learn about issues."
-Bread Member Ellen Beulow

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hunger and Poverty Tweets Under the Radar

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Introducing the 2017 Offering of Letters: Doing Our Part to End Hunger

The 2017 Offering of Letters is focused on urging members of Congress to make funding decisions that put our country and the world on track toward ending hunger. We want Congress to fund and protect programs such as SNAP, WIC, international poverty focused development assistance, and tax credits for low-income workers.

The United States and the world have made substantial progress toward ending hunger and poverty over the past several decades. Worldwide, extreme poverty — living on less than $1.90 a day — has been cut in half over the past 30 years. But more work needs to be done. Nearly 800 million people in the world are still hungry. In the United States, 1 in 6 children lives in a family that struggles with hunger.

Nations around the world, including the United States, have agreed to work for an end to hunger and related goals by 2030. And there is growing recognition among faith leaders, nongovernmental organizations, and business leaders that ending hunger and extreme poverty by 2030 is achievable.

Families, churches and community groups, and businesses all need to do their parts to end hunger. It’s crucial that our government also does its part. Through this 2017 Offering of Letters, entitled Doing Our Part we urge Congress to make funding decisions that put our country and the world on track to ending hunger by 2030. This will be a challenging year. Programs that help families alleviate hunger and get out of poverty are threatened with deep funding cuts. As in years past, your persistent and faithful advocacy will be important in defending the interests of people who are hungry.   Download Full Guide and check out the official video for this year's OL.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Article Highlights Importance of SNAP Supplement for Seniors

As long as the 2017 budget remains unresolved, the threat continues that the State Legislature could cut the State SNAP supplement, which benefits primarily seniors and some people with disabilities. We posted a piece in the Bread New Mexico blog about this concern on Jan. 24.

An article in The New Mexican newspaper in Santa Fe on Feb. 13 offers more insights about the impact that the cuts would have on many low-income seniors in our state. According to the article (posted via The New Mexico Political Report), two influential parties are on opposing sides of the issue. Gov. Susana Martinez opposes the cuts, while the bipartisan Legislative Finance Committee (LFC), which proposed the reduction, is strongly behind the proposal.

Here are some excerpts from the article by Justin Horwath, which features a beneficiary who would be affected by the cuts. The article also quotes a couple of advocates who are friends of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition and Bread New Mexico: Ruth Hoffman, director of the the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico, and Sovereign Hager, staff attorney for the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. 
"[According to The New Mexican], the proposal to slash the state supplement to federal food stamp benefits underscores the difficult choices lawmakers face trying to find solutions for the state’s fiscal crisis, which has been exacerbated in recent years by declining oil and gas revenues,"

"Sovereign Hager [points out that] food insecurity among New Mexico’s elderly, which is among the worst in the nation, has decreased in the past decade with the state’s funding of the program. 'We do not want this to backslide,' Hager said."

 "[Ruth] Hoffman said many seniors receiving monthly Social Security benefits didn’t believe applying for food assistance was worth the trouble if they would receive only $16 per month. But applications for food assistance by those on fixed incomes increased after the state hiked the minimum benefit to $25 per month, according to Hoffman, who said the extra money may not seem like much but can buy eggs, meat and other items."
"Over the past decade, New Mexico has been dipping into its general fund to increase the minimum food stamp benefit for residents on fixed incomes, said Hoffman, who helped state officials develop the program in 2007."
Read full article, entitled Lawmakers propose cutting state food benefit program

Take Action 
The Action Request from Feb. 24 still applies. Contact your state senator and representing urging him or her to oppose elimination of the State SNAP Supplement. Find your legislators via this link (each of the profiles has an address and a phone number at the Roundhouse where you can call).

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Place at the Table...and on the Legislative Agenda

If you agree that our elected leaders need to make it a priority to end hunger in America, sign on.

Policymakers need to know that our growing movement is demanding action. It's the only way they’ll know they need to make change happen.

From the new administration in Washington, D.C., to local governments across the country, A Place At The Table will be ready to demand action.

Sign up if you want to help focus our leaders' attention on the 1 in 5 Americans facing hunger:

Willy Ritch 
Campaign Manager
A Place At The Table

Friday, February 10, 2017

On April Fool's Day...Jazz, Tamales, Networking, Holy Conversing

One definition of a circus is an eclectic collection of artistic, creative and athletic performances. Another definition is out-of-control chaos and disorder. Sometimes the first definition can act to counter the second definition.  At least that is going to be the case in Albuquerque on Saturday, April 1 (yes, April Fool's Day), when the New Mexico Conference of Churches (NMCC) holds its Second Annual Circo for the Community fundraiser.  After all, "When life is a circus, the NMCC throws a party to benefit the community!" There will be two principal elements of creativity at this fundraiser: jazz musicians and skillful cooks (the women's collective Mujeres en Acción).  "Enjoy great networking and holy conversing; and be entertained by smooth jazz with a faithful, you might meet the new director for the New Mexico Conference of Churches!" says the NMCC.

Here are more details about the fundraiser, which will be held at First Presbyterian Church (I-25 and Martin Luther King Blvd.) on April 1, 6:00-8:00 p.m. Tickets are $35 for individuals and $250 for a table of 8  Buy Tickets  via Paypal or send a check made out to NMCC, to  1019 Second St. NW Albuquerque, N.M, 87102. A third option is to buy the ticket at the door, but please indicate your intention to attend by filling out the form at the bottom of this link.

This year the recipients of your donations (including designated contributions and the price of admission) are:

New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, a Santa Fe based effort, mobilizes grass roots promotion of reasonable gun laws as well as educates the public about gun safety and the high emotional and financial costs of gun-related violence against children and adults.

Catholic Charities Migrant Work (Albuquerque) has been working with refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants for years; they currently work with families from all migrant designations to insure graceful new beginnings. 

New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light works for climate justice through churches and faith communities offering inspiration, education, implementation of sustainable practices and advocating for effective climate protection policies.

New Mexico Interfaith Hunger Coalition brings together the advocacy expertise of Bread for the World with the imaginative and nimble capacities of local food banks to work on their goal of ensuring that all New Mexican families have access to healthy and nutritious food. This is a Coalition in-formation and financial support is critical.

And of course, the New Mexico Conference of Churches--your community binding together Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Community of Chirst, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Roman Catholic Church, United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church…all who seek to be obedient to Christ.s call to strive for unity, justice, peace, and the integregity of creation. Together we are people of faith ministering to bring healing and hope to New Mexico.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

An Albuquerque Workshop on 'Doing Our Part to End Hunger"

Bread for the World's 2017 Offering of Letters, "Doing Our Part to End Hunger," is focused on urging members of Congress to make funding decisions that put our country and the world on track toward ending hunger. We want Congress to fund and protect programs such as SNAP, WIC, international poverty focused development assistance, and tax credits for low-income workers.

Please join us for our Offering of Letters workshop on Saturday, March 11, 9:30-Noon at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 601 Montaño Rd NW, Albuquerque (map) We will view the Offering of Letters video, hold a brief discussion on strategies and the content of the video.

Panel on Congressional Visits
As a special bonus, we are planning a panel on congressional visits, featuring local Bread activists Larry and Ellen Buelow from our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Community; Amanda Dezan, formerly of Oxfam Action Corps and currently with The ONE Campaign; and Patty Keane, former chair of Child Nutrition Reauthorization work group (Legislative and Public Policy Committee), of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is currently president of the New Mexico Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (NMAND). The panelists will give us helpful advice as we plan visits to our local congressional offices on Bread for the World's Lobby Day in June (while Larry and Ellen Buelow visit the Washington offices of our legislators).

Here are some reflections from the panelists.

Ellen & Larry Buelow with staffer for Sen. Heinrich in D.C.
Ellen Buelow
What is the best way to prepare for visit to a congressional office?"Preparing is half the journey. Bread webinars are great places to learn about issues. The Offering of Letters kit pinpoints why and how to write our congressional representatives. However, to speak to staffers about that issue, we need to gather some personal stories in our community...It’s important to keep conversations concise and to the point while giving perspective on needs in New Mexico."

What are the differences between visiting an office in Washington and visiting the local field offices? Local connections are important. When we met one-on-one with the five candidates for U.S. representative in 2011 and we asked them how they would support efforts to reduce hunger, that was amazing! Whenever I’ve been part of the team visiting our local offices, I’ve always felt welcome and listened to...The D.C. visits sponsored by Bread bring the whole picture together for me. Hearing from Bread activists around the country gives us motivation to speak out locally."

What is your most memorable meeting with a congressional representative? "Several years ago we were on a late flight from D.C. home, and our representative (Michelle Lujan Grisham) was seated several rows behind us. She hadn’t been able to come to our meeting with her staffer, and I had some specific questions to ask her. I asked if she would take a few minutes when the plane boarded. Although it was very late when we landed, she did visit with us. She thanked us for being advocates and gave some honest answers to my questions about SNAP."

Amanda Dezan, Kathy Chavez met with Sen. Udall staffer in ABQ
Amanda Dezan
What is the best way to prepare for visit to a congressional office?" Know what you are going to say before you get there, and have your persuasive argument at least somewhat laid out....The people you are visiting are generally very busy, so try and get the main idea in the first minute or two, just in case the meeting ends up being cut short.

What are the differences between visiting an office in Washington and visiting the local field offices? The D.C. offices are definitely the more formal of the two. Not to say you have to be stiff and stuffy when you visit, but professional attire and preparation will help even more with the D.C. offices. They tend to be the more busy of the two, so your meeting will likely be shorter, Always show up extra early for a D.C. visit; you might be seen early, times/people might change, and you will have to go through metal detectors to get into the buildings.

What is your most memorable meeting with a congressional representative? "I met Senator Martin Heinrich in the hallway of the Hart Building in DC, after commenting to my visit partner that it was a bit difficult to get the meeting set with the senator's staff. The man in front of us turned around, introduced himself as the senator, and spent a full two minutes talking with me in the hallway."

Rep. Lujan Grisham, Alissa Barnes, Patty Keane
Patty Keane
What is the best way to prepare for visit to a congressional office  "...Do your research - understand your members and the committees they are on; have a good story and good data...."

What are the differences between visiting an office in Washington and visiting the local field offices? "...Understand the importance of developing relationships with staff, and all the different ways that can happen in-district."

What is your most memorable meeting with a congressional representative? "My first Hill visits to Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham's office. I was so green, was totally solo, had never done it before, was somewhat scared...A few years later, I was downtown and Rep. Lujan Grisham was filiming a promo. They needed extras, so her staff asked me if I could do it, since they know I'm always game to help out.....We have definitely grown to appreciate each other over the years of developing a professional relationship with a shared goal of improving the health and wellness of New Mexicans, particularly those experiencing food insecurity.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Lobo Food Pantry Has Served Hundreds of Students and Families

Early promo, LoboRESPECT Advocacy is now a sponsor
The cost of higher education and related expenses (on top of daily expenditures like utilities, transportation, rent, etc...) often limits the ability of students and their families from acquiring nutritious food. This includes fruits, vegetables and other essential foodstuffs necessary to keep those brain cells operating properly.

Enter the Lobo Food Pantry, organized and sponsored by LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center, the University of New Mexico Dean of Students Office, the UNM Office of  Student Affairs, and Roadrunner Food Bank. In the first six months of the program, the food pantry has served over 800 students and families by providing them with free groceries.

The next Lobo Food Pantry distribution is scheduled for 
Friday, February 17, 2017
UNM South Parking Lot on the southwest corner of Avenida Cesar Chavez and Buena Vista.

What to Bring
Valid student ID card
Box(es) or bag(s) to carry your groceries home
Friend/ family member(s) to help carry your groceries*

*Students may have another individual pick up their food for them if needed. Please contact theLoboRESPECT Advocacy Center to make these accommodations at 505-277-2911.

Other Upcoming Dates this Semester
(Same location)
Friday, March 24, 2017
Friday, April 28, 2017

*Dates subject to change – please call 505-277-2911 to confirm.

Thanks to the support of Roadrunner Food Bank, there is often sufficient food to serve clients.  However, financial donations are always welcomed and encouraged to keep the Lobo Food Pantry viable. Make a donation.

Monday, February 06, 2017

A Few Upcoming Immigration Events in #ABQ

People of conscience and faith are coming together to defend the rights of immigrants and refugees in the wake of recent executive orders from the Trump administration targeting these groups. Here is a list of events coming up in Albuquerque. This is by no means an exclusive list. For events that we've missed or that come up, please visit the calendars from the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice, the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice and the New Mexico Conference of Churches.

El Centro de la Raza at the University of New Mexico
Mesa Vista Hall (Bldg 56) Room 1148   (campus map)
For more information contact  or (505) 277-5020

 Interfaith Dialogue
At the next meeting of the New Mexico Interfaith Dialogue, participants  will view and discuss the 22-minute video “Justice for Immigrants: A Journey of Hope.”

This timeless video with discussion guidelines was produced in 2003 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform. Given the recent Executive Order signed by President Trump, an interfaith discussion of these issues is very timely. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, February 15, time and place to be announced soon.  Contact the Interfaith Dialogue for updates and more information.

St. Andrew Presbyterian Church
5301 Ponderosa NE
Albuquerque Forum on Faith and Politics 
March 26: Panel on Immigration, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Stay tuned for more details
For more information, 505-881-9626