Tuesday, June 27, 2017

New Mexicans Urge Senators to Preserve Funding for Foreign Aid

Sen. Udall's aide takes petitions, letters from Kristina Sowar
Through June 28, U2 and Bono had performed at 18 venues as part of the group's Joshua Tree Tour 2017. And everywhere that U2 performed, ONE volunteers were out in force to gather signatures urging the U.S. Senate to save funding for foreign aid programs. People from all 50 states added their signatures to petitions and wrote letters requesting that their senators help preserve "the American legacy to helping those around the world who are in need."

While organizers could have waited until after the last concert to send the request to senators, there was urgency to send the message as soon as possible in order to have an impact on the appropriations process.

Petitions brought to Sen. Heinrich's office
Hundreds of ONE supporters in New Mexico made this request to Sen. Tom Udall and Sen. Martin Heinrich. "President Trump's dangerous budget proposal, which included cuts of nearly 1/3 to foreign aid, would jeopardize progress that America has made in the fight against poverty and disease," said a letter to our two senators and 48 other members of the U.S. Senate.

According to the letter, the reductions proposed in the Trump budget would also cut food aid to those suffering from famine, turn girls away from school, and leave children without critical medication for treatable diseases.

"Foreign aid is not only an essential part of America's legacy, but also a wise security and economic decision," the letter added. 

Sen. Udall is especially important because of his membership in the Senate Appropriations and Foreign Relations committees. Here is a letter that ONE supporters Kristina Sowar and Carlos Navarro brought to Sen. Udall's office on June 26, along with more than 740 signatures from New Mexicans who attended recent U2 concerts in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and other venues.  Below the letter to Sen. Udall is a letter that a ONE supporter wrote to Sen. Heinrich.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Natural Foods Project in Silver City Embraces Mesquite Beans

Wikimedia Commons
The Native Foods Project at The Volunteer Center (TVC) of Grant County in Silver City is studying the benefits of mesquite beans and mesquite honey. The small desert tree has surprisingly nutritious properties. (Surprisingly, for those of us who who only thought of mesquite as a good source of wood). Did you know there are 40 species of mesquite trees in an area spanning from Texas to California (and all across northern Mexico)?

According to New Mexico State University,  a variety of mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa Torr) is found in bottomland areas of the high plains and central plateau of our state, growing at elevations of 3,000 to 8,500 feet ."The plant is aggressive, adapted to a wide range of habitats, and extremely hardy.The leaves are grazed only when there is no other forage, but the beans are sought out and eaten avidly, presumably because of their high sugar and protein content," said NMSU

The trees produce beans that can be eaten in various forms. “When our provisions and coffee ran out, the men ate [mesquite beans] in immense quantities, and roasted or boiled them!” George W. Kendall wrote in his journal, describing how the men in the 1841 Texas Santa Fe Expedition kept themselves alive. Kendall is quoted by Ken E. Rogers in The Magnificent Mesquite).  Read more in DesertUSA

Wikimedia Commons
Part of the Native Diet in the Southwest
While the reliance of mesquite for those 1841 explorers might have come as an "accident," the  Papago, Pima, Chemehuvi,Yuman, Cocopa, Mohave and Cahuilla peoples of Arizona and California used the mesquite beans and many other parts of the tree (bark, leaves, thorns, sap) in their daily lives.

"But it was the mesquite pod, with its nutritious, bittersweet pulp, that provided the greatest benefit to indigenous desert peoples. They collected pods each fall, often eating many of them green from the trees. The rest they dried in the sun and stored in large baskets for future use," said DesertUSA in an article entitled Cooking with Mesquite.

The 1900s picture on the left shows two Chemehuvi grils making a drink from mesquite beans.

  "Usually, the beans (pods and seeds) were ground into a coarse meal, then by adding water, were transformed into a gruel or a cake without cooking. Some cultures are said to have taken the seeds from the pods and ground them into a flour called pinole, from which a bread was actually baked," added the article.

 A Milling Event in Silver City this Fall
The process of transforming beans into mesquite flour is a topic that has attracted the interest of the Native Foods Project at TVC. The project recently received a donation of a hammermill from Steven Zerbach to process mesquite beans. This spring, organizers of the project sent seven members to Tucson to attend the  Desert Harvesters Mesquite 101 and Hammermill Trainings. Desert Havesters has published a cookbook that contains only  mesquite recipes.
"We learned everything we need to know for best harvesting practices and how to use our amazing hammermill to grind mesquite beans into a sweet, nutritious, and delicious flour," said Kristin Lundgren," garden coordinator at the TVC.  "Now that the trainees have all shared our own insights and dynamic ideas, we're excited to start planning a fall milling event here at The Commons for community members like you to start utilizing this nourishing regional food crop. And, you know what? Everyone from Tucson was very excited about how sweet and delicious our Honey Mesquite is here!"

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Three Offerings of Letters Scheduled this Summer in #ABQ

At Sen. Tom Udall's Albuquerque office
As of June 11, almost 1,100 letters had been written to Congress from nine congregations, one school and two organizations urging Congress to make funding decisions that put our country and the world on track to ending hunger by 2030.

The letters, written as part of Bread for the World's 2017 Offering of Letters,urged Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Martin Heinrich, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Rep. Steve Pearce and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan urging them to ensure that Congress invests in key programs that have a proven track record and improve the lives of hungry men, women, and children. In conjunction with this year's OLs, local advocates organized a visit to the Albuquerque offices of our Congressional delegation on June 16, coinciding with Bread for the World's national Lobby Day. We delivered the letters written at St. Michael and All Angels to the local offices.

Three other congregations are scheduled to hold Offerings of Letters in the summer months: Central United Methodist Church, St. John XXIII Catholic Community and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Below is the poster that Mellie Myer prepared for parishioners at St. John XXIII. The parish is coordinating the Offering of Letters with an effort to stock the parish's food pantry, thus illustrating the importance of both advocacy and direct service in the effort to address hunger.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Religious Congregations Cannot Compensate for Federal Budget Cuts

 “There is no way our country’s 350,000 religious congregations can make up for the cuts in the services that help hungry, poor, and other vulnerable people. Congress should not justify budget cuts by saying that churches and charities can pick up the slack. They cannot.”  Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the more than half -- or $2.5 trillion over 10 years -- the budget cuts proposed by  President Donald Trump administration’s will come from programs that help low- and moderate-income Americans.

"President Trump’s budget should lay to rest any notion that he’s looking out for the millions of people that the economy has left behind," the CBPP said in a recent analysis. "He proposes steep cuts in basic health, nutrition, and other important assistance for tens of millions of struggling Americans even as he calls for extremely large tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest people and profitable corporations. Inequality and poverty would grow significantly worse while deficits, when honestly measured, would rise."

Some politicians have suggested that religious communities can help make up  much of the difference. Churches, synagogues, mosques and houses of worship are already deeply engaged in programs that feed hungry people in their communities. They host food pantries, meals for homeless individuals and families, and provide other forms of support to people in their community. So, it is inconceivable that the faith community at large can step in for federal programs that provide a safety net to the community. According to a Bread for the World analysis, the country’s religious congregations would have to add $714,000 to their annual budgets each year for the next decade to make up for the drastic cuts found in President Trump’s federal fiscal year 2018 budget 

 “There is no way our country’s 350,000 religious congregations can make up for the cuts in the services that help hungry, poor, and other vulnerable people,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “Congress should not justify budget cuts by saying that churches and charities can pick up the slack. They cannot.”

Christian leaders who represent The Circle of Protection  expressed opposition to federal budget cuts that would harm people living in hunger and poverty. “The Trump Administration’s budget proposal has now been presented to Congress. We believe budgets are moral documents; they reveal our values and show our priorities, whether for families, churches, organizations, or governments," the Circle of Protection members said in a June 21 news conference. "Budgets show who and what we view as important, and, likewise, who and what are not. We have deep moral concerns about the way this budget would impact those we are called to protect…”

The problem would be worsened by the proposed drastic reductions in in healthcare under consideration by the House and Senate. The proposed American HealthCare Act would eliminate $2,000 a year in healthcare services from every man, woman, and child in or near poverty for the next 10 years. “The healthcare cuts and the fiscal year 2018 budget cuts – both of which are being negotiated in Congress -- are a double whammy for America’s struggling families," said Beckmann.

Here is a statement from St. Vincent de Paul about the healthcare initiative in the Senate 
“The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, long known throughout the country for providing emergency assistance to the poor and the vulnerable on a daily basis, is stunned by the Senate's proposed health care legislation. After making such significant advances as a country in extending this fundamental human and moral right to health coverage to all, regardless of one's economic status, it is inconceivable to me that we could be on the verge of rolling this all back. It is callous and mean-spirited, and not consistent in any way with my Catholic faith and Jesus's call for a preferential option for the poor. We know firsthand from our daily work with the poor how devastating the loss of coverage would be to them, their families and their children. And we know we will also be poorer as a country and a civil society that professes to care for the least among us if we follow the path laid out by the Senate legislation.”  Sheila Gilbert, National St. Vincent de Paul President,

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Event Cancelled: Blessing, Open House for New Catholic Charities Site

[Editor's Note:  Catholic Charities has cancelled the July 22 Blessing Ceremony and Community Open House for its new building. 

"We regret to announce that the Catholic Charities Building Blessing & Community Open House has been cancelled due to scheduling conflicts and concerns about summer heat. Please look for future communications regarding a new date. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Development (development@ccasfnm.org or 505-724-4637).]

Here is the original post
Catholic Charities of Central New Mexico invites the local community to a very special occasion: a blessing and an open house for its new facilities on 2010 Bridge Blvd. SW (map) on Saturday, July 22.  Archbishop John C. Wester will preside over a Blessing Ceremony for the building from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.  Ecumenical leaders have been invited to take part in the blessing.  RSVP for the blessing requested, development@ccasfnm@.org The Open House, Noon to 3:00 p.m., will feature tours of the new facility, local fare from food trucks, music, and dancing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ramadan: Scarcity, God's Generosity, Community Building

The temperatures surpassed 100 degrees in Albuquerque on a scorching day in June. This type of weather creates an additional challenge for the Muslim faithful who are fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Fasting not only means abstaining from food, but also from water. One purpose of the fast is to recognize the fellow human beings who have no access to food and water. The extreme thirst caused by 100-degree temperatures certainly brings to mind those who live in places where water is scarce. The scarcity is not the point. Ramadan is not only about sharing the Earth with those with lesser means but also recognizing that God gives us bountiful resources to share.
It's becoming an annual tradition. (Do two consecutive years make a tradition?) The Turkish community in Albuquerque (via the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest and the Turkish Raindrop House) again invited the Interfaith Hunger Coalition to share an iftar meal on a Tuesday in June of 2017. Iftar is the meal served at sunset during the holy month of Ramadan, as Muslims break the daily fast.

A year ago, we also shared an Iftar meal with the Turkish Raindrop Foundation and the Dialogue Institute (which is an endorsing member of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition). We are so thankful to have this relationship with the local Turkish community.

According to  institute director Necip Orhan, sharing this fast-breaking meal with friends is a tradition for Muslim families in Turkey.

Among those who broke bread with the Turkish families in Albuquerque were members of United Methodist, Quaker, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Baha'i congregations. Sarah Rahman, a member of the Islamic Center of New Mexico (and the steering committee of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition), was also in attendance.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

If You Can't Attend Lobby Day in Washington...Visit the Local Offices

Back: Gilbert Gallegos (staff), Harvey Sternheim, Carlos Navarro, Larry Buelow, Ellen Buelow:  Front: Rachel Sternheim, Terri Christiansen, Terese Rand Bridges, Brenda Sinfield, Joy DInaro
By Joy E.C. Dinaro
On Friday, June 16, 2017, several Albuquerque residents involved with Bread for the World met with representatives of Senator Tom Udall, Senator Martin Heinrich, and Albuquerque area’s Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Carlos Navarro, Bread’s volunteer state coordinator for New Mexico, organized the visits to be in conjunction with Bread for the World’s Lobby Day which took place in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Ellen and Larry Buelow, parishioners at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Community, even arrived back in time from Capitol Hill to join us on Friday for our Albuquerque lobby visits. (Thank you, Ellen and Larry for representing New Mexico Bread for the World in D.C.!)

Samuel Chu, synagogue organizer for MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, also arrived directly from the airport to be with us that afternoon. He flew in from Southern California to work with Congregation Albert this weekend in their local efforts to end hunger at the Erev Shabbat later that evening and again on Saturday for a strategy session.

Meeting at Sen. Martin Heinrich's office
Two members of Congregation Albert, Rachel and Harvey Sternheim, joined local Bread members Terese Bridges, of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, Terri Christiansen of St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, Brenda Sinfield of First Presbyterian Church, and Joy Dinaro of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. The group met with Bill Woldman at Senator Udall’s office, Miguel Negrete at Senator Heinrich’s office, and Gilbert Gallegos at Representative Lujan Grisham’s office.

The group’s talking points at each office included expressing gratitude because each of the three politicians, including Udall, Heinrich, and Lujan Grisham, has a strong track record of supporting initiatives to help those who are hungry here in New Mexico and in the U.S. as well as abroad.

Samuel Chu joined us for our meeting with Sen. Tom Udall's staff
First and foremost, the local Bread members asked that each continue to oppose any budget cuts that would increase hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world, especially when the 2018 federal budget comes up for a vote. They also asked that both domestic safety-net programs as well as international development programs that end hunger and poverty be fully funded. Domestic safety-net programs includes everything from SNAP (formally called food stamps) to Medicaid, refundable tax credits,WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) and others. During the discussion on preserving funding for foreign aid, the group alluded to statements from the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff advocating for continued U.S. funding of international development programs because those programs have a direct and positive impact on safety and security worldwide.

Lastly, the group stressed that no structural changes should be made (such as addition of block grants) that would change the amount and manner in which federal aid is given to those who are hungry across the country. On the international front, we talked about how international food aid should come from within the country in need whenever possible (as shipping food from the U.S. across the world is both more costly and less nutritious from utilizing local food sources).

The high temperature for the day approached 100 degrees, which made us glad that all three congressional offices were in the same building!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

In Thanksgiving for the Opportunity to Create Bread

We offer thanks to God not only for providing us with food (wheat, barley, oats and even potatoes), but also for the opportunity to make something of that food. (paraphrased)  
-A prayer at Erev Shabbat

Saturday, June 17, 2017

"I Have Been Searching for You"

"I  have been searching for you," Samuel Chu said to open his reflection before members of the congregation gathered for the Erev Shabbat at Congregation Albert in Albuquerque on a warm Friday evening in June.

What did this son of a Hong Kong Southern Baptist minister and former Presbyterian pastor mean by this statement? There is a simple answer: We do not know where our path will lead us; we only know that when we end up some place that is where God wanted us to be.

Chu spoke about the series of steps in his life that eventually led him to become the synagogue organizer at  Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger. He was often what would many would consider an "outsider" helping to build the core efforts of an organization. After graduating from Fuller Theolgical Seminary in Southern California, he became a  pastor at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Koreatown in Los Angeles. (There were more Latinos than people of Korean descent in his congregation). Then he served as the executive director of California Faith for Equality and California Faith for Equality Action Fund. As a straight person, he fully embraced the role of promoting the rights of the LGBT community in L.A. Later, as a Chinese-American Presbyterian, he landed the role as synagogue organizer for a Jewish anti-hunger organization.

Building the Grassroots
Chu was invited to Congregation Albert to facilitate a discussion among members on enhancing and expanding the congregation's anti-hunger efforts. He complimented synagogues and churches around the country for their direct feeding efforts via food pantries and other programs. (Congregation Albert has been involved in feeding efforts at St. Martin's Hospitality Center and the Family Promise homeless program) However, he noted that "this only meets 3% of the hunger needs in America." 

As examples, Chu spoke about the efforts of synagouges in Minnesota to work with the State Legislature to end the horrendous practice of lunch shaming in the state, years before it became an issue in New Mexico. As a result of the Minnesota effort, the legislature passed a bill providing 61,000 free lunches to low-income students in the state. And another synagogue in Southern California became involved in protecting the rights of homeless youth in the state.

Samuel Chu, Harvey & Rachel Sternheim at local Lobby Day
So what can Congregation Albert do? That is what Chu and members of the congregation were scheduled to chat about the next day. The congregation has already taken an important step through its recent endorsement of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition and the congregation is planning to host an IHC Hunger 101 Workshop, focusing on youth, on Wednesday, Sep. 13. 

As evident by the Minnesota school-lunch case, advocacy is an important element of anti-hunger efforts. Chu, Congregation Albert Education Director Rachel White Sternheim and her husband Harvey Sternheim joined a group of Bread for the World members on June 16 for visits to the local congressional offices of Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Sen. Tom Udall, and Sen. Martin Heinrich  (More on this later). Our visits were an extension of Bread for the World's National Lobby Day on June 13.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Meals on Wheels is All About Relationships

Jason Riggs (Roadrunner Food Bank) listens to Sharon Rogers
Sharon Rogers, a long-time volunteer with Meals on Wheels-Albuquerque and a fabulous story-teller, was the featured presenter at the bi-monthly meeting of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition on June 13. She said relationships are what keep meals on wheels vibrant. This means relationships with the clients, relationships among volunteers and staff, relationships with the community, relationships with other agencies and service providers.

Everyone gets a meal, including breakfast. Some clients can pay for all or part of the meal; others on fixed income get their meals free. Medical needs are also an important consideration during the preparation of the meals. "Meals on Wheels of Albuquerque is the only home delivered meal program in our area preparing special diets," MOW-Albuquerque said on its website. "We prepare these special diets for a variety of needs, including diabetes, renal failure, heart issues, chewing and swallowing problems, etc." The volunteers who deliver the meals develop a strong bond with the clients. According to Ms. Rogers, there are occasions when a client's only contact on a given day is with the Meals on Wheels delivery person. 

IHC Education Committee chair Joy Dinaro
An Early Presbyterian Connection
Meals on Wheels in Albuquerque has had a "Presbyterian" connection since its inception. The organization started in the kitchen of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Nob Hill in 1972. Operations later moved to First Presbyterian Church and then to Presbyterian Hospital downtown. Meals on Wheels now has its own site, but the distribution points are all at the various Presbyterian Hospital locations in Albuquerque.

Volunteers serve most of the greater Albuquerque area, including Rio Rancho and Corrales. The East Mountains and Valencia County are not currently served. While increased funding could help expand services to these communities, the most important need is volunteers, said Ms. Rogers.

On the subject of funding, Meals on Wheels Albuquerque is one of the few local affiliates of the national organization that does not receive direct funding from the national Meals on Wheels organization.  According to Ms. Rogers, while the national funding would be helpful, the local board decided it would be better to raise funds locally, allowing greater control over Meals on Wheels-Albuquerque's finances. "We did not want to be in a position where the [national] money would suddenly go away," said Ms. Rogers. That was a prophetic decision on the part of the Meals on Wheels-Albuquerque board. The national organization is funded in part by federal community grants, which are on the chopping block in the Trump administration's initial budget.

Even without the national funding, the local affiliate still receives plenty of support from national Meals on Wheels, including training and networking opportunities and access to programming information and ideas.

While delivering food to homes remains the biggest part of  Meals on Wheels in Albuquerque, the local organization also provides several important services.

Local Harvest: Through this program, Meals on Wheels of Albuquerque purchases locally farmed fruits and vegetables for use in its meals. "The program allows us to support local farmers, our economy, and the environment while providing our clients with fresh and healthy produce that they would be unable to obtain on their own,"

Weekend Pantry Box:  This allows low-income clients to eat food on days when meals are not delivered. "This collaboration between Silver Horizons and Roadrunner Food Bank provides us small boxes of shelf stable, non-perishable items that are delivered to our clients once a month. These boxes include items like crackers, pudding cups, microwavable meals and more. We are grateful to Silver Horizons and Roadrunner Food Bank and thank them for their partnership."

Love on a Leash:  The program provides healthy food and more to the pets of Meals on Wheels Clients. "Having a pet is proven to ease depression and relieve feelings of isolation—something many of our clients struggle with daily. Help our L.I.F.E. program clients keep their furry friends by their side. Services include food, veterinary care, and mobile grooming."

Read more about the Three programs. 

Volunteers Needed
Meals on Wheels currently has 400 volunteers, but more part-time and full-time volunteers are needed to continue the high level of service and to expand operations to other parts of the metropolitan area.  Learn about Volunteer Opportunities

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Before You Make that Phone Call to Congress Today...

Bread for the World advocates and supporters around the country were asked to make phone calls to Congress as a way to support the nearly 500 Bread members who are visiting Capitol Hill today.

Before you rush into your three phone calls (to your U.S. House members and two senators), please pause for a minute or two and connect with our Creator. Take a few long and deep breaths and enjoy the silence.

Then say this prayer from Bread for the World's Offering of Letters booklet.

Heavenly God, in these days of anguish and despair, of hunger that is both spiritual and physical, we ask you to be the living expression of your love and charity for all. We ask that in a hostile climate, we plant your peace and love; that we may be your light during the darkest days; and that in serving the neediest we are a living reflection of your compassion and mercy. We ask that these phone calls arrive with the blessing of your Holy Spirit and that they touch the hearts and minds of our leaders. We also pray in solidarity with our fellow Bread members who are visiting Congress today. We thank you, beloved God, for allowing us to serve as the voice of your people. 
Use this toll-free number to call your Members of Congress. 800/826-3688  The Capitol Switchboard will connect you to their offices.  (This, of course, applies to Bread members anywhere in our country)

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Once you are connected,introduce yourself and where you’re calling from. The office will want to know your zip code to make sure you’re a constituent! Congressional staff take hundreds of calls a day. Make your points clearly and succinctly.Remember, you’re not expected to be an expert. Share your concerns clearly and briefly and then follow up with an email or le tter if you wish to share additional resources with the office.

Virtual Lobby Day Script 

Hi, my name is __________ and I’m calling from __________ as part of Bread for the World’s lobby day. My zip code is __________.

I urge Senator __________ /Representative __________ to:
  • Oppose any budget cuts that would increase hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world. Worldwide, nearly 800 million people are hungry, including 20 million at risk of starvation in Africa and th e Middle East due to famine.
  • Fully fund domestic safety-net and international development progra ms that end hunger and poverty. This includes providing at least $60 billion for international affairs in the fiscal year 2018 budget and adequately funding programs like SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, and summer EBT.
  • Oppose harmful structural changes to SNAP , Medicaid, and international development assistance.
Thank you for relaying my message to Senator __________ /Representative __________.

Fifth Annual Kids Count Conference Scheduled for June 26

CHI St. Joseph's Children and New Mexico Voices for Children cordially invite you to the

Fifth Annual Kids Count Conference
Monday, June 26, 
7:15 AM-3:15 PM 
Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North, 
5151 San Francisco NE (off I-25)

Featured speakers include Nick Johnson, Senior Vice President at Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, and Dennis Campa, Associate Director, State Policy Reform and Advocacy, External Affairs at The Annie E.CaseyFoundation.

This year's conference will examine linkages between women's economic security and the well-being of children, and how to advance opportunities for New Mexico's children, women and families in a new political era.  NewMexicoWomen.org will present its report on gender justice, and three panels will address the issue: 
  • Heart of Gender Justice: Intersectionality, Economic Security, Health Equity 
  • Women’s Economic Security in NM & Child Well ‐ Being
  • Policy Solutions for Women and Child Well ‐ being in New Mexico
Several individuals will be honored with the Amy Biehl Youth Spirit. Alice King, Polly and Patty Citizen Advocate and Spirit of Hope awards.

A number of state legislators are scheduled to take part in panel discussions, including Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, Sen. Mimi Stewart, Rep. Georgene Louis, Rep. Christine Trujillo, and Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton.

See full schedule

Registration (including lunch) is $75 for individuals and $1,000 for a table  Register here

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Lujan Grisham, Other House Members Promote Bill to Protect SNAP

Rep. Lujan Grisham (left) with local anti-hunger advocates
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and 42 other members of the House of Representatives have co-sponsored H.R. 1276, which would increase SNAP benefit amounts and ameliorate the harsh time limit on jobless adults willing to work. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, SNAP provided food benefits to a monthly average of 453,146 people in New Mexico in Fiscal 2015. A USDA analysis breaks down the benefits by congressional district.

Many of the co-sponsors of H.R. 1276 are members of the House Hunger Caucus, including Rep. Lujan Grisham and caucus co-chair Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts. We wish the list of co-sponsors was more bipartisan, but the reality is that we live in a deeply politically divided country.

H.R. 1276 is a bit of good news in the midst of very discouraging initiatives.  According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC),  there are efforts in Congress to block grant SNAP. Also, the The House Freedom Caucus is planning to push for changes to SNAP and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) that would yield $400 billion in ten-year spending cuts as part of a tax reform bill, according to Politico

FRAC has put together an analysis of President Trump's budget proposal to cut $193 billion from SNAP over ten years. "These cuts, which would slash SNAP by an unprecedented 25 percent, will dismantle a proven and effective program that provides a path out of hunger and poverty, and leads to improved diet, learning, productivity, and health," FRAC said in a statement of opposition to the president's budget proposal.

Bread for the World Lobby Day
These developments are occurring just days before a group of about 400 members of Bread for the World prepare to visit congressional offices on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, June 13, for Lobby Day 2017.  Bread advocates will ask their members of the U.S. House and Senate to oppose any budget cuts that would increase hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world, to fully fund domestic safety-net and international development programs that end hunger and poverty. and to oppose harmful structural changes to SNAP , Medicaid, and international development assistance.

Larry and Ellen Buelow will be among the 400 advocates in Washington on Tuesday.  There is an opportunity for other New Mexico Bread members to participate. The first is simple: make a phone call to our congressional offices Washington on Tuesday. For those of you who live in Albuquerque, you can join us for our local Lobby Day visits on Friday, June 16. We have scheduled visits to the offices of Sen. Tom Udall and Rep. Lujan Grisham, and are working on an appointment with Sen. Martin Heinrich's office.  Here is more information about these two options.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

World Refugee Day Events in Albuquerque

Volunteers Needed on June 17
at Highland High School in Albuquerque in the courtyard.
  • Set up teams at 4:00 pm
  • Greeters and parking help 4:30 to 6:30 pm
  • Trash duty (2 teams 5:00 to 7:00 and 7:00 to close)
  • Clean up teams 8:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Food and drink stations people (4:30 – 6:30 or 6:30 – 8:30)
  • Art room assistance (4:30 – 6:30 or 6:30 – 8:30)
  • Donations of Polaroid Film are also needed (for a Dress up Box and picture station).
If you cannot join us that night, consider donating film.
Please email Kathy Freeze  (freezek@ccasfnm.org) if you can help.