Sunday, February 25, 2018

World Day of Prayer Renews Commitment to Earth Globally & in #ABQ

World Day of Prayer is a global ecumenical movement led by Christian women who welcome you to join in prayer and action for peace and justice. The service is celebrated globally on the first Friday of March. Individual communities in more than 170 countries participate in the prayer service.

In Albuquerque, Church Women United will be hosting the event on Friday, March 2, 9:30 a.m., Asbury United Methodist Church, 10000 Candelaria NE (map

Each year, women from a selected country are invited to prepare the prayers that will be used in all of the celebrations around the world. The prayers for 2018 were prepared by women from the small country of Suriname in northeast South America.

Photo: World Day of Prayer site
Through the worship service, we listen to the multicultural and multi-ethnic people of Suriname. They take us to their communities and through their concerns. History is before our eyes! The flora and fauna are remarkable! The everyday life is weaved into the prayers.

The prayers, based on Genesis 1:1-31, invite us to remember that we are caretakers of God’s creation! We are asked to recognize the urgent need to care for the Earth, keeping in mind the commitment of more than 180 countries to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. A pledge to keep the earth cooler depends on public policies implemented by governments, but also on our personal lifestyle.

Photo: World Day of Prayer site
How good is God’s creation? That is the question to meditate and respond to with a personal commitment to care for creation. But it can also be an opportunity for the WDP motto.“Informed prayer and prayerful action” to be affirmed in the community. What is it that we, as the WDP movement, can do to keep God’s creation good?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Article Confirms Threat of SNAP Cuts on New Mexico

Photo NM Voices for Children
We posted information from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) this week on how President Trump's budget proposal would gut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We previously provided data from the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty on the impact that the cuts would specifically on New Mexico.  

The New Mexico Political Report, an online news site about political developments in our state, posted an article on Thursday quoting the director and deputy director of the New Mexico Voices for Children about this topic as well as a senior policy analyst for the Center on Budget Policy Priorities. In the interview, Director James Jimenez and Deputy Director Amber Wallin confirmed what the NMCLP and FRAC. (We are proud to count the NMCLP and NMVC among the endorsing organizations of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition).

 Here are three quotes from the article.
“We have one of the highest percentages in the nation of children who receive SNAP. But even given our high SNAP participation rates and the high coverage rate in New Mexico, we still have the second-highest rate in the nation of childhood food insecurity.” -Amber Wallin, Deputy Director, New Mexico Voices for Children

“This is in an environment where people are already going hungry. In a nation like ours where there’s so much wealth, it’s criminal that we have people going hungry,” James Jimenez, the executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, said. “And we’re not willing to help people adequately feed themselves.” -James Jimenez, Director, New Mexico Voices for Children.

“When I look at the different provisions, I see proposals to force states to require people in high unemployment areas to find jobs, or cut them off after three months,” Bolen said. “That’s the provision that limits the waivers for childless adults who have a three month time limit with SNAP.” -Ed Bolen, senior policy analyst for the Center on Budget Policy Priority.

(The New Mexico Political Report notes that New Mexico, which has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation, has received a waiver for that problem).
Read full article by Matthew Reichbach of The New Mexico Political Report.

As we mentioned earlier, Congress will have the last word on reductions in these programs. But given that the House of Representatives is led by Speaker Paul Ryan, an advocate of major reductions in social spending, the programs that help low-income families in our country are going to undergo some sort of transformation, and not a a good transformation. They may not be as drastic as those proposed by the president, but cuts are coming (especially since Ryan's party holds a majority in the House).

The IHC recently worked on a bipartisan basis with Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes, Rep. Joanne Ferrary and Rep. Debbie Armstrong on a Memorial that would create a Hunger Council to discuss long-term solutions to persistent hunger in New Mexico. The impact of cuts in SNAP on families in our state is  going to have to be one of the topics that we address as we go forward. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

FRAC: President's Budget is a Major Threat to SNAP, Other Programs

The president’s fiscal year 2019 budget eviscerates one of the nation’s most successful programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP). The mind-boggling hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of cuts and the ill-conceived programmatic distortions, if adopted, will mean much more hunger and poverty, worsened health, decreased ability of children to do well in school, and lower productivity for America. The spate of recent research showing the critical importance of SNAP to economic and food security, health, employment, learning, and productivity is jettisoned by the president’s proposal to slash and burn the program.  -Jim Weill, president, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)
The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty recently sounded the alarm about the potential effect of President Trump's budget cuts on SNAP recipients and other low-income families and individuals in our state.

 The Food Research and Action Center offered a broader view. The national anti-hunger organization recently wrote an analysis on how the budget would impact SNAP  and other programs designed to help low-income families nationwide nationwide.  Here are a few snippets on how the president's budget would impact SNAP.
  • $129.2 billion would come from shifting a portion of SNAP recipients’ benefits to the U.S. Department of Agriculture ( USDA ) commodity foods — dubbed “America’s Harvest Box” — affecting households receiving more than $90 per month in benefits (81 percent of SNAP households).
  • $ 57.5 billion would come from eliminating SNAP eligibility for many working families with children and jobless adults who are willing to work, but are unable to find sufficient hours .
  • $23.3 billion in SNAP cuts would make it harder for people struggling to afford to “heat and eat,” by eliminating the state option of connecting the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the SNAP Standard Utility Allowance (SUA) in computing SNAP benef its , and by standardizing the SUA methodology.
  • $9.8 billion would come from capping the federal match of state SNAP administrative costs .
  • $4.7 billion would come from eliminating SNAP Nutrition Education (SNAP-Ed),
Read FRAC Analysis for a detailed report of the full impact of  the proposed SNAP Reductions  An article in The Atlantic makes some of the same points.

Other Cuts
In addition to devastating cuts to SNAP, the budget contains reductions in many other safety-net programs.

Here is a sampling:
  • Funding is eliminated for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). This will harm hundreds of thousands of low-income older adults. 
  • No money is allocated for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. The program provides U.S. agricultural commodities and associated technical and financial assistance to carry out preschool and school nutrition programs in developing countries. 
  • Funding is cut but not eliminated for important programs like the  Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Conversely, no money is allocated for the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program 
  •  Funding for the  Congressional Hunger Center (CHC ) fellowship program would be eliminated. The program  has historically been funded at $2 million.
Significant changes (spending cuts, elimination or new strict requirements) are also made to  other important safety-net programs, such as Medicaid, the Social Services Block Grant, LIHEAP (which provides heating and cooling assistance for low-income households), the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, the Legal Services Corporation, among others.

Silver lining?
Funding is preserved for core child nutrition entitlement programs,The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program and is actually increased for the Nutrition Services under the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

Here is the Full Analysis from FRAC report

What will Congress do?
The president's budget proposal is not the last word, with Congress making the actual decisions. Still, this proposal sets the parameters under which the budget will be discussed. Given that the president's party controls the House (as well as the Senate), the resulting 2019 budget might not bring much good news for low-income families and individuals in our country.

In terms of Bread for the World's 2018 Offering of Letters campaign, this budget represents many steps back rather than any steps forward towards the goal of eliminating hunger in our country by the year 2030. That's why Bread is urging congregations and organizations to join in this year's letter-writing campaign to sway Congress to preserve funding for the programs that help so many of our neighbors.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Field Set for Two Open Seats in House from New Mexico

When  I was up in Santa Fe on Tuesday, February 6, for End Hunger Day, I encountered Damian Lara and Pat Davis in the halls of the Roundhouse. Both were headed to or were in the vicinity of the Secretary of State's Office. Davis and Lara are two of the candidates seeking election to Congress in 2018. Debra Haaland, Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Janice Arnold-Jones, Damon Martinez, Lloyd Princeton, and Paul Moya were probably also in the confines of the Roundhouse at some time during the day to complete the paperwork to formally register their candidacies for the seat in the First Congresional District that is being vacated by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (who is running for governor).

The same situation applies to Madeline Hilderbrandt, Xochitl Torres-Small, Angel Peña, Monty Newman, Yvette Herrell, Gavin Clarkson, Clayburn Griffin, and John Valpato, who were in Santa Fe on Feb. 6 to formally register their candidaies toreplace Rep. Steve Pearce for the seat in the Second Congressional District.  Pearce is also running for governor.

With all candidates required to register, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, Christopher Manning and Jerald McFall also had to go through the process to file for the seat currently held by Lujan.

The 19 candidates seeking election to the House of Representatives had to go through a three-step process to formally register their candidacies.

 "The process was straightforward—there were three stations to verify and confirm paperwork and petition signatures—and took about 20 minutes for most candidates," Andy Lyman wrote in the New Mexico Political Report.

A total of 10 Democrats, seven Republicans and two Libertarians are running for Congress, and only three will eventually succeed. At least two of the three could be new to the job, with Lujan as the only incumbent running. Of these 19 candidates, eight will be on the ballot in November following the June 5 primary in New Mexico.

Other Races
Sen. Martin Heinrich, who is seeking reelection, and his two rivals, Aubrey Dunn and Mark Rich, also had to go through the process as did Lujan Grisham, Pearce and all the other candidates seeking to run in the governor's race. Candidates for lieutenant governor, state auditor, secretary of state, treasurer, land commissioner, and attorney general were also there to complete the required paperwork.

Lyman followed some of the candidates on filing day. Read his very informative piece in the New Mexico Political Report.

Women Candidates
Of the nearly 50 candidates seeking election to Congress or statewide office, 12 are women. There are three women running in each of the races for the U.S. House: Haaland, Sedillo Lopez and Arnold-Jones in the First District and Hilderbrandt, Torres-Small and Harrel in the Second District. There are no women candidates in the races for the Third Congressional District, U.S. Senate, attorney general, or treasurer. 

Interestingly enough, all three of the candidates running for secretary of state are women: Maggie Toulose-Oliver, Sandra Jeff and Johanna Cox. That post has mostly been filled by women since 1912, although the first two secretaries of state were men. Conversely, the decision of State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard to leave her seat in the New Mexico State Legislature to run for land commissioner could break a precedent if elected. That position has been held by men.

Women have run as candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in recent elections, and there is one woman candidate in each of those races in 2018: Lujan Grisham for governor and Michelle Garcia Holmes for lieutenant governor. There is no chance that they would serve together, as each is from an different party, and the governor and lieutenant governor candidates run as a team representing their party. If elected, Lujan Grisham would be the second woman to hold the post, succeeding the first woman to be elected to that office, outgoing Gov. Susana Martinez. Patricia Madrid is the only woman to have served as attorney general since 1912.

The gender question is important this year. According to results in the past year, women (mostly Democrats) have been winning elections where the incumbent party was previously thought to be safe.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Wisdom and Transformation

“Wisdom is a unique manifestation of God, a catalyst for transformation of the human person's life into one of fight and goodness.” ― Joyce Rupp

(from The Star in My Heart: Experiencing Sophia, Inner Wisdom)


Saturday, February 17, 2018

What Hunger Initiatives Were Addressed at the Roundhouse in 2018?

What anti-hunger, anti-poverty and human needs legislation was discussed during the recently concluded session of the New Mexico State Legislature? What legislation needs follow up? Find out at the bimonthly meeting of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition on Tuesday, March 20, at 12:00 Noon at First Presbyterian Church, Martin Luther King Blvd. and I-25, (map) in Albuquerque. Everyone is welcome.

One of the issues addresed in the House Health and Human Services Committee was House Memorial 90, a proposal to create a Hunger Council. The Interfaith Hunger Coalition worked with Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes and Rep. Joanne Ferrary on this proposal. The committee voted to accept the proposal and asked for a formal plan that could be reviewed before the next 60-day session.

There were other memorials and other pieces of actual legislation on hunger and human needs that came before the legislature. A panel of policy analysts from three IHC partner organizations will provide updates on SNAP, nutrition,, the budget, taxes and other issues that were addressed during and outside the recently concluded Legislative Session.

Sovereign Hager: Supervising attorney at the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. Her work focuses on improving access to food and cash assistance, Medicaid and childcare assitance for New Mexico families. Two other attorneys work on her benefits team at the NMCLP.   (Photo: New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty)


Ruth Hoffman: Director of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico. Coordinates advocacy efforts in Santa Fe for Lutherans and members of other denominations and other faith communities on issues related to human needs in New Mexico. "Addressing social issues involves three areas of activity:  service, study and advocacy," says Ruth. "Direct service and study are very important but their companion, advocacy is also very important because advocacy helps to address the causes of social injustice through changes in public policy."

Bill Jordan: Senior Policy Advisor & Government Relations Officer at New Mexico Voices for Children. He leads NMVC's legislative advocacy efforts in Santa Fe and Washington, D.C., working primarily with lawmakers on issues such as raising the minimum wage, creating a state-level earned income tax credit, expanding access to health care, passing the child helmet safety law, and other issues. Bill is relied upon by many legislators for data and information relating to the legislation they are voting on or writing. (Photo: NMVC)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

President's Budget Would Increase Hunger, Inequality in New Mexico

The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty conducted an analysis of how President Donald Trump's recent budget proposal would affect poor families in New Mexico. The conclusion was that the budget would increase hunger and inequality in our state. Here is an analysis put together by the NMCLP team.

President Trump’s proposed federal budget calls for deep cuts to and radical restructuring of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly known as Food Stamps.

SNAP is New Mexico’s Most Effective Anti-Hunger Program

>1 in 4 New Mexicans uses SNAP to put food on the table, including forty percent of New Mexican children.
  • 74% are in families with children.
  • 26% are in families with members who are elderly or have disabilities
  • 51% are in working families
>SNAP is linked to long term health and economic benefits, especially for young children. SNAP is proven to increase long term health and learning outcomes for children as well reduce the medical care costs for adults participating in the SNAP program. Children who receive SNAP have increased earnings over time.

>In 2016, SNAP benefits generated $693 Million in economic activity across New Mexico. Every dollar of federal SNAP benefits spent in local businesses generates $1.70 in economic activity.

What are the proposed cuts and how will they impact New Mexicans?

>Federal SNAP benefits would be slashed by over $213 billion dollars, or nearly 30 percent, over the next ten years. Under this proposal, almost 4 million Americans would lose their SNAP benefits altogether. This will result in increased hunger and poverty. In New Mexico, we would lose over $200 Million in economic activity generated from federal SNAP dollars being spent in our local businesses. Charities and food banks are already operating at capacity and cannot fill the gap.

>Shifting food purchasing from families to the government - families receiving $90 or more in SNAP benefits would no longer be allowed to shop for their own groceries. Rather, the budget proposal calls for a conversion to food packages, which would include only shelf-stable staple foods to SNAP households throughout the state. In New Mexico, over 1,600 local food retailers will lose one of their largest sources of revenue. The average SNAP benefit in New Mexico is $270 a month and $410 for families with children. This means that the vast majority of New Mexicans who participate in SNAP will be denied the basic dignity of buying groceries like everyone else and lose the ability to purchase fresh food and vegetables.

>Increased penalties for certain unemployed adults on SNAP by expanding a rule that limits unemployed adults to three months of SNAP if they aren’t working by increasing applying penalty to adults up to age 62 (it currently applies to adults up to age 50) and ends waivers of the requirements for states with high unemployment. New Mexico currently has the second highest unemployment rate in the United States. This is why the federal government has waived this requirement in New Mexico for over a decade. Under the proposal more than 25,000 SNAP participants, most living below 17% of the federal poverty level would lose SNAP benefits if they cannot find work.

>Eliminate the minimum benefit, which would cut benefits to 2 million individuals, mainly low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

> Penalize large families by capping SNAP benefits at the level of household of six, effectively eliminating SNAP to any additional members.

>Eliminating all federal funding for nutritional education for SNAP households.

Tell NM’s Congressional Delegation to take a stand and oppose these harmful cuts!
  • Michelle Lujan Grisham- (202) 225-6316 Contact via website 
  • Steve Pearce- (202) 225-2365  Contact via website 
  • Ben Ray Lujan- (202) 225-6190  Contact via website 
For more information, please contact the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty at (505) 255-2840 or email William Townley (William@nmpovertylaw.org)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#NewMexico House Committee Backs Plan to Create Hunger Council

Screenshot of Rep. Ferrary, Rep. Meastas Barnes, Ellen Buelow
The Interfaith Hunger Coalition is deeply grateful to Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes of Albuquerque for her leadership in carrying our proposal to create a unit to develop an integrated and long-term strategy to address hunger in New Mexico.

Rep. Joanne Ferrary of Las Cruces was a co-sponsor of the measure, as was Rep. Debbie Armstrong of Albuquerque, who is co-chair of the House and Human Services Human Services Committee.

The proposal to create a Hunger Council, contained in House Memorial 90, was introduced on Monday, February 5, and was the subject of hearing in the House Health and Human Services Committee on Monday, February 12.  Ellen Buelow, chair of our Advocacy Committee, represented the IHC at the hearing.  Follow this link to see a video of the hearing. (The above image is only a screenshot) The discussion about the Hunger Council runs for about 17 minutes.

In her introduction of the measure, Rep. Maestas Barnes alluded to correspondence she received from Samuel Chu, synagogue organizer for Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, about working to address hunger in our state. Mazon is working on some issues with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, an endorsing partner of the IHC. Members of the committee Rep. Armstrong (chair), Rep. Ferrary,  Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences, Rep. James Armstrong of Artesia, Rep. Liz Thomson of Albuquerque, Gail Chasey of Albuquerque,  offered valuable comments. The committee approved the initiative without dissent.

Several allies spoke on behalf of the measure, including the New Mexico Association of Food Banks, the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico (an endorser of the IHC), and the National Association of Social Workers-New Mexico.

Monday, February 12, 2018

OffCenter Arts in #ABQ to Host Coffeehouse on February 23

Bonnie Bluhm and Friends is the featured act at a Coffeehouse sponsored OffCenter Community Arts Project on Friday, February 23. The group will be joined by special guest Seth Hoffman. The free event will be held at OffCenter, 808 Park Ave., 6:00-8:00 p.m.  View and purchase art produced at OffCenter, listen to great music, visit with friends and enjoy refreshments. 


Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Genuine Fast this Lenten Season

Lent is just around the corner. Is the Lenten season an opportunity to prove that you are worthy of God's love by taking on an act of self-discipline (i.e. "giving up something")? Yes and no. Our self-discipline is empty unless we also consider the common good. We prove our love in the manner in which we related to one another. Here are words of wisdom from Pope Francis.


Friday, February 09, 2018

Congregation Albert Event to Discuss Hunger in New Mexico


How big of a problem is hunger in New Mexico? What are the impacts on residents of our state? What is being done to fight hunger in New Mexico?

These are questions that Lisa Spencer of The Storehouse will attempt to answer at a brunch sponsored by the Congregation Albert Brotherhood.

The public is invited to attend the event on Sunday, February 18, at 10:00 A.M., at Congregation Albert, 3800 Louisiana Blvd. NE (map). 

The cost is $12 for members of the Brotherhood/Sisterhood and $14 for everyone else. RSVP is requested.  Please call 883-1818 ext. 3203 or send an e-mail message to brotherhood@congregationalbert.org  For more information, contact Gordon Bronitsky (505) 238-3739, jbartonp@comcast.net

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Legislators Speak at End Hunger Day at State Capitol

The sound echoes through the walls of the rotunda at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe, and my camera is not very sophisticated, so the audio quality of these videos is not optimum. Nevertheless, these legislators had important words to share on End Hunger in New Mexico Day, which brought many organizations together in Santa Fe on February 6 to reaffirm our commitment to work on ending hunger in our state.  The first video is of Sen. Mimi Stewart, who introduced a Memorial in the State Senate that made End Hunger Day an official event. Check out an earlier video we posted of Bill Jordan, Senior Policy Advisor and Government Relations Officer at New Mexico Voices for Children.









Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Legislative Memorials Offer a Vision to End Hunger in New Mexico

Banner from The Food Depot
On February 5, Reps. Sarah Maestas-Barnes and Joanne Ferrary introduced House Memorial 90, which seeks the creation of a "Hunger Council" comprised of legislators, representatives from New Mexico State agencies and local governments and representatives from organizations working to end hunger and poverty statewide.

This bipartisan effort grew out of conversations between two members of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition steering committee, Ellen Buelow and Brenda Sinfield, with Rep. Maestas-Barnes, a Republican from Albuquerque. Rep. Ferrary, a Democrat from Las Cruces (whose sister serves on the board of Roadrunner Food Bank), joined as a lead sponsor.

This effort stems from the IHC vision, presented at the End Hunger Summit in October 2018, in which we urged that we consider the big picture, including how hunger and poverty in rural areas has contributed to our consistently poor rankings for child hunger and overall food insecurity. We recommended the creation of some sort of caucus or commission within or involving the State Legislature that would look at all aspects of hunger (among children, seniors,working families, Native communities, urban areas),

A memorial does not carry the force of law. Rather, this is a document that formally expresses a legislative desire, usually addressed to another governmental body, in the form of a petition or declaration of intent. This was a "simple memorial," which means it did not require the approval or acquiescence of the State Senate.

IHC Display Table at End Hunger Day
If this measure is successful, there is a whole lot of hard work ahead.  Bringing a diverse group  together--legislators, state agencies, anti-hunger organizations-- is the first task. And then agreeing on how to proceed and how to keep the effort sustainable is going to require a significant level of commitment. But we have no choice but to proceed in this manner if we are serious about finding a way to make a significant dent in our levels of hunger and poverty in New Mexico.

A parallel memorial intoduced on Feb. 6 (End Hunger Day),  expressed this desire in a different manner. Sen. Mimi Stewart of Albuquerque introduced Senate Memorial 65, which declared Feb.  6, 2018, as End Hunger Day in New Mexico. This memorial, supported by The Food Depot and the New Mexico Association of Food Banks, supported our efforts at the State Capitol that day to declare to our legislators that a diverse group of agencies and organizations in New Mexico is serious about ending hunger. The NMAFB stepped in admirably after the original planner, the the Non-Metro Area Agency on Aging, was unable to take on the task because of a loss of state funding. 

We will post more photos and videos from End Hunger Day in coming days.  In the meantime, here are excerpts from House Memorial 90 and Senate Memorial 65.

Photo: State Legislature website
HOUSE MEMORIAL 90 

53RD LEGISLATURE -
STATE OF NEW MEXICO -
SECOND SESSION, 2018

INTRODUCED BY
Sarah Maestas Barnes
and Joanne J. Ferrary



Ellen Buelow, Rep. Joanne Ferrary
A MEMORIAL
REQUESTING THE NEW MEXICO LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL TO CREATE A "HUNGER COUNCIL" MADE UP OF LEGISLATORS, REPRESENTATIVES FROM STATE AGENCIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND REPRESENTATIVES FROM ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE WORKING TO END HUNGER AND POVERTY STATEWIDE, TO MEET DURING THE 2018 INTERIM AND DRAFT A SINGLE, STATEWIDE PLAN FOR ENDING HUNGER IN NEW MEXICO.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the New Mexico legislative council be requested to create a "hunger council" made up of legislators from both chambers and political parties, representatives from state agencies, counties and municipalities and representatives from organizations that are working to end hunger and poverty statewide, to meet during the 2018 interim and draft a single, statewide plan for ending hunger in New Mexico; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the New Mexico legislative council be requested to invite to participate on the hunger council representatives from the human services department; the aging and long-term services department; the children, youth and families department; the New Mexico association of counties; the New Mexico municipal league; the interfaith hunger coalition and its partners; and representatives of community anti-hunger and anti-poverty organizations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the governor, the secretary of human services, the secretary of aging and long-term services, the secretary of children, youth and families and the convener of the interfaith hunger coalition.  See Full Text

Sen. Stewart speaks at End Hunger Day
SENATE MEMORIAL 65 

53RD LEGISLATURE -
STATE OF NEW MEXICO -
SECOND SESSION, 2018

INTRODUCED BY
Mimi Stewart

A MEMORIAL
DECLARING FEBRUARY 6, 2018 "END HUNGER IN NEW MEXICO DAY" IN THE SENATE.

WHEREAS, seventy-five percent of households report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food as the most common way to have at least some food at home to eat; and

WHEREAS, there is an urgent need to address New Mexico's food insecurity and to eliminate hunger in New Mexico; and

WHEREAS, nonperishable food items will be collected on February 6, 2018 at the state capitol to benefit the food depot;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that February 6, 2018 be declared "End Hunger in New Mexico Day" in the senate; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the secretary of human services and the executive director of the food depot.   See Full Text

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Bill Jordan: 'A Better Day is Just Around the Corner'

One of the highlights of the End Hunger Day at the State Capitol in Santa Fe was the opportunity to hear from Bill Jordan, Senior Policy Advisor & Government Relations Officer at New Mexico Voices for Children.  Jordan was one of about a dozen speakers at the event, which was held at the Roundhouse on Tuesday, Feb. 6.  Stay tuned for more posts from the event in coming days.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Workshop to Examine Importance of SNAP, WIC to New Mexicans

The 2018 Offering of Letters, entitled For Such a Time as This, urges people of faith and conscience to raise our collective voices to urge Congress to invest in and protect key programs that help improve the lives of men, women, and children facing hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. 
Our annual Offering of Letters workshop in Albuquerque will focus on the importance of a couple of programs that are crucial to low-income residents of New Mexico: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Please join us on Saturday, March 17, 9:30 a.m. until 12:00 Noon at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1100 Indian School Rd. NE (map)

A handful of special guests have graciously agreed to put together brief presentations to help us understand why it is important to keep these crucial programs funded.

Sovereign Hager: Supervising attorney at the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. Her work focuses on improving access to food and cash assistance, Medicaid and childcare assitance for New Mexico families. Two other attorneys work on her benefits team at the NMCLP.   (Photo: New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty)

Sarah Lucero. Program specialist at the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association.  Her focus is on the development, promotion and support for the Double Up Food Bucks program in our state.  The program allows recipients of SNAP benefits to obtain more fruits and vegetables when you spend your SNAP EBT Card dollars at participating farmers’ markets, (Photo: New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association)

Jason Riggs: Manages the SNAP Outreach Program at Roadrunner Food Bank. The program works to reduce some of the barriers that prevent hungry people in New Mexico from participating in this important program. By providing SNAP application assistance and education at food distribution locations, more New Mexicans can become informed about their potential eligibility and learn important information about how they can obtain benefits. New Mexico has an 81% participation rate among eligible SNAP households. There are many barriers that prohibit the remaining eligible 19% from successfully participating in the program.  They are often are not informed about the program and have not yet applied to receive them.

 *A fourth presenter might join us to speak about the importance of the nutrition education component of the SNAP program.  Stay tuned for updates

RSVP via Facebook Event

Here is more information about the Offering of Letters

What is the 2018 Offering of Letters About? 
Every day, millions of people in the United States and around the world feed and support their families in part because of lifesaving programs funded by our government. We are making progress toward the end of hunger, but we live in challenging times. Our gains are increasingly vulnerable due to the actions and inactions of governing officials.   Printable Overview

What is Our Specific Ask to Congress? 
 In 2018, we are raising our collective voice to ask Congress to invest in and protect key programs that help improve the lives of men, women, and children facing hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. Sample Letter (Keep checking the Bread for the World website for updates)

A Couple of Questions
When is the best time to write Congress about hunger and poverty issues? Personal letters and emails to Congress are always welcome and effective. Congress develops budget and spending bills throughout the year with final resolution occurring sometime in the fall. (Keep checking the Bread for the World website for updates)

What is the budget process and timeline? 
The budget process begins when the president’s budget proposal is submitted to Congress in February. House and Senate Budget Committees begin work on a budget resolution in March, which sets yearly spending levels and longer-term priorities. House and Senate Appropriations Committees begin work on annual spending bills in the spring with an expectation of approving 12 spending bills by early fall. If Congress cannot pass necessary spending bills by Sept. 30 (the end of the fiscal year), a continuing resolution needs to be approved to keep the government temporarily funded until a full agreement can be reached.  See Full Questions and Answers document

We Pray 
Time and time again, you have called your people to care for those who are hungry and living in the margins. You have given us a world of abundance and we confess that we have not been good stewards and shared justly. We give thanks for the freedom and power you give us to resist this injustice. By writing these letters to Congress today, we use that power in a small way so that we might answer your call to feed those who are struggling with hunger. 
See Prayers and Litany for Offering of Letters   and Biblical Reflection

Here is the link to the full resources for the 2018 Offering of Letters