Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Isaiah 61, Amos 5 and Tweets from a Mass Revival

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners.
Isaiah 61:1
Albuquerque was just the second stop in the Poor People's Campaign:  A National Moral Mass Revival Meeting.  Central United Methodist Church was packed to capacity. "There are people listening in the parking lot," said Rev. Dr. .William Barber, a renown Civil Rights leader and founder of Repairers of the Breach. This evening was not all about Rev. Barber's inspirational words. We learned about different ways that people in New Mexico are oppressed by the economic system, by the military-industrial complex, by the corporate sector.  And yet, the overflow crowd was hungry for Rev. Barber's words. They heard about Isaiah 10 and Amos 5

Here are some Twitter messages from a few of the folks in the pews.






Tuesday, August 15, 2017

No Kid Hungry Launches Interactive Website

As my fellow teachers and I headed back to school, we anticipated what we’d see in our classrooms this fall. Students excitedly catching up with friends after summer vacations, school supplies and textbooks spread out on desks, art projects proudly hung on the walls. And, sadly, hunger.  -Kimberly Kaye Wilson (quoted in 2012)
No Kid Hungry, a project of Share Our Strength, has launched an interactive website to go along with a report entitled Hunger in Our Schools. The report views hunger among children from different perspectives.  Each perspective asks a question and provides an answer, plus a video. 

The first question is  
If your car broke down tomorrow and you found out the repair cost $1,500, what would happen?  There are five options. 1) It would be a big deal 2) It would suck, but I could pay it 3) Major problem, but I could pay it with help 4) I'd have to take out a loan 5) I would have no way to pay it

The answer
64% of low-income parents say it would be difficult to feed their children if they encountered an unexpected expense, like a car repair or medical bill.


  
The Second Question
What makes you put less food on your plate?
1) Trying to Lose Weight 2) Don't like the dish. Bleah! 3) Um. Nothing, Let's Eat  4) Can't Afford it

The Answer: 
23% of low-income parents have cut the size of their children's meals because of lack of money. Almost half say they can't afford enough food each month.



The Third Question  
If you found $300, what would you spend it on?

The Answer
Most teachers spend $300 of their own money each year buying food for hungry students.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Bread for the World Invites You to Participate in Webinar Tomorrow

In August, Bread members across the nation are talking to their legislators in their home district and states about a budget that can end hunger. The budget proposals Congress has received so far would deeply cut both domestic and international anti-hunger programs.

Register now for the Grassroots Webinar and Conference Call, Tuesday, August 15 at 4:00 p.m. EST, 2:00 p.m. MST.

 In this month's call, Bread will highlight the work that advocates across the country are doing and you'll hear from policy experts about what we expect to happen when Congress returns from their summer recess.

Submit your questions ahead of time to Tyion Miller (tmiller@bread.org)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Voters Select Bread for the World's Official 2017 Christmas Card

Nearly two out of ever three people who participated in the survey to select the design for Bread for the World's official 2017 Christmas card picked this design. The image, entitled Nurture, was created by Doug Puller. 

The inside message reads:

So the shepherds went with haste and found Mary and Joseph,
and the child lying in the manger. 
When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child
…But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.             
-Luke 2:16-17, 19

You can Pre-Order one or more sets of cards. A pack of  cards with envelopes costs $15 (with free shipping). All proceeds are used to support the work of Bread for the World.

By the way, if you voted for one of the alternate designs (Zambian Children, Afghan Siblings, School Children), they are also available for purchase for the same price.  Pre-Order here

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Register Now for New Mexico End Hunger Summit

The Fourth Annunal End Hunger Summit, scheduled for Tuesday, September 26, will examine challenges and solutions to ending hunger in the state of New Mexico. Morning keynote speakers will include experts on the subject of hunger. The afternoon session will be a working group of becoming familiar with the FYY17-21 New Mexico Action Plan to End Hunger.

Schedule
8:00 am—8:30 am   Continental Breakfast
8:30 am—10:15 am  Plenary Session
10:15 am 10:30 am  Break 
10:30 am—12:00 pm  Plenary Session
12:00 pm—1:00 pm  Lunch w/Keynote Speaker
1:00 pm—3:00 pm  Workshops
3:00 pm—3:15 pm  Break
3:15 pm—5:00 pm  Roundtable Reporting

Roundtable
Roundtable discussions will cover topics of what causes hunger. This will include working in groups to collaborate and discuss one of the following contributing factors related to poverty and hunger in our state: economic wellbeing, education, family and community, and health issues.

Goal 1: Pair Data and Resources determining the most recent data regarding the hunger in New Mexico within the next 5 years. Chair: Elizabeth Yakes-Jimenez, Research Associate Professor, University of New Mexico

Goal 2: Engage and coordinate intergenerational feeding programs throughout the state of NM within the next 5 years. Chair: Anthony Futch, Program Manager, Senior Services Bureau

Goal 3: Increase access to conventional transportation throughout New Mexico within the next 5 years. Chair – Dennis Salazar, NCNMEDD

Goal 4: Increase participation among teachers, parents and counselors in the schools to participate in the Hunger Summit and advocate to work on hunger issues in their schools. Chair: Patricia Keane, Associate Scientist- Nutrition Prevention Research Center


Registration Information 
The conference will be held at
Embassy Suites
1000 Woodward PL NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102


Registration Fee (prior to September 23, 2017)
 $35 / $25 seniors 60+
Registration Fee (September 24, 2017 and after )
$45 / $35 seniors 60+

Download Printable Registration Form & Program (the form is on page 4)

Register Online
  • Everyone attending the summit must complete a separate registration form.
  • Group registration will be processed for groups of 10+ and will be available for pickup at the group pre-registration area.
  • On-site registration will be available the day of the event from 7:30 a.m. to noon
Food Drive 
(Help fill the truck--more than once!1)
Organizers are hold a food drive at the summit and suggest participants do-nate non-perishable grocery items. All donations will be picked up and distributed by Desert Harvest (benefitting 17+ organizations)

Acceptable donations: Beans, Canned Entrees, Canned Fruit, Canned Meat, Canned Vegetables, Cereal, Cheese & Crackers, Fruit Cups/Rolls, 100% Fruit Juice, Shelf Stable Milk, Granola Bars, Jelly, Macaroni & Cheese, Pasta & Sauces, Peanut Butter, Pop Top Food, Pudding Cups, Raisins, Rice, Soup, Sugar

Community Sponsors Fair
The Fair is a unique opportunity for attendees to access services and receive personalized information from a variety of sources in a single location. The Fair will feature organizations and agencies who provide the services, assistance, resources and materials needed to begin combatting hunger issues in New Mexico. Please visit the Interfaith Hunger Coalition's Table

Interfaith Hunger Coalition
The Interfaith Hunger Coalition has been invited to present a keynote at the End Hunger Summit. We will showcase the diversity of our coalition as well as present a vision to End Hunger in New Mexico. This will be a collaborative presentation that includes Ellen Buelow (chair of our Advocacy Committee), Kathy Freeze (Catholic Charities of Central New Mexico), Gabriela Marques (Albuquerque Baha'i Community), Carlos Navarro (convener), Rabia Sahin Orhan (Dialogue Institute Southwest) and  Rachel Sternheim (Congregation Albert).   

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

'People of Faith Must Work Together to Improve Systems'

(This Faith and Values column appeared in Aug. 4 edition of The Indianapolis Star. The article is available only in the print edition, but not online. This version is reprinted with permission from the author. David Miner  is a long-time anti-hunger advocate in Indianapolis via Bread for the World, the Interfaith Hunger Initiative and other community activities).

By David Miner

“Dropped again” I mutter in anger. My cell phone carrier’s system has dropped my call once again. I pay them a substantial amount of money each month and I expect that they will provide a better system.

Jesus too paid attention to the systems of his day. “Stand up!” he said to the man with the withered hand in the story recorded in Mark 3. A withered hand was a serious detriment for a man of that time, guaranteeing a life of poverty, but it was the Sabbath and the law forbade healing on the Sabbath. Jesus could have told the man to meet him the next day, but he didn’t. Mark reports that Jesus looked around at the crowd in anger. He healed the man in the synagogue, standing up right in the middle of the political and religious leaders of his day. He knew the law needed changing.

Jesus continued the tradition of Old Testament prophets like Isaiah and Amos who spoke truth to the powerful of their day. In Isaiah 10 the prophet said: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, To those who issue oppressive decrees, To deprive the poor of their rights”.

Our Challenge
There’s an apocryphal story about a person encountering a baby floating down a river. Naturally the good-hearted person grabs the baby out of the swirling river and cares for them. Then another baby comes down the river, and another and another. Finally, someone is dispatched up the river to find out how the babies came to be in the river in the first place.

This is our challenge too, to not only help individuals in need but also to change the systems. Systems that keep a person from healing, or even more importantly systems that contribute to their need in the first place. Some of these systems arose inadvertently and some were sinfully crafted to fleece the vulnerable and less fortunate, but regardless they need fixing. It’s hard work and slow, but it can yield improvements that are deep, wide, just and sustainable.

There are lots of systems that need improvement. My particular focus is to end hunger. I work with churches, food pantries, food banks, and food rescue non-profits. I also work with Bread for the World to change federal policy and programs so that our government plays its part.

I was volunteer executive director for the Interfaith Hunger Initiative. IHI was led by a wonderful group of people of diverse faith traditions, Christian pastors, Jewish Rabbis, a Pakistani Muslim, a Tibetan Buddhist in his long robes and more. We did events and raised money. Over a six-year period we raised $750,000 and were providing a daily school lunch for 3,000 AIDS orphans in Kenya.

Then came devastating news, not from Kenya but from DC. While we were doing all this work there was one vote in Congress – a single act of Congress – that took $800 million out of an international school lunch program. We helped 3 thousand kids, but lunch was lost for 3 million kids! Ouch!

When people of faith work together to improve the systems, we can impact 10’s or even 100’s of thousands of lives. We can even end hunger altogether.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Report Shows High SNAP Enrollment in Rural, Small-Town New Mexico

Map via Food Research and Action Center
A new study released by the Food Research and Action Center on August 2 shows rural and small town households across the country are more likely to participate in SNAP than their metro-area counterparts. The rate is slightly higher in New Mexico than the national average, the same study indicates.

FRAC’s study features a SNAP Map, an interactive data tool that provides county-by-county and state-by-state participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by type of area--rural, small town, and metro. Each county is grouped into one of three census categories: Metro, Small Town (micropolitan), and Rural. And most counties had elements of each of the three categories. Read the meta-analysis.

Illustration via FRAC
New Mexico
In New Mexico, SNAP reaches 200,000 households with 443,000 individuals in an average month (FY 2015), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). SNAP helps more than 1 in 6 rural and small town households, and 1 in 7 households in metro areas in our state afford healthy, nutritious meals.

SNAP participation was 15% in metro areas and 18% each in rural communities and small towns. This compares with nationwide rates of 13% for metro areas, 16% for rural communities and 15% for small towns.  See  fact sheet for the state. Here is the national county-by-county map. The map allows users to zero-in on specific states and counties.

Most counties in our state are classified in the "small town" category, with a handful falling in the rural category and a few clusters of counties grouped around the Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Farmington-Bloomington metropolitan areas. The rate of SNAP enrollment in rural and small-town New Mexico appears higher in the western and southern areas of the state than in the east, particularly the southeast.

Truchas, New Mexico (Mary Singleton)
Rural: Nationwide, nearly one-quarter (298, or 23 percent) of rural counties had at least 20 percent of households participating in SNAP. Of these, 53 counties (four percent) had at least 30 percent participating in SNAP. Catron County (Reserve, Quemado) had a whopping 71 percent of households participating in SNAP. Others included Hidalgo Country (Lordsburg) at 23.9 pecent, Socorro County (Socorro) at 23 percent, Mora County (Mora) at 21 percent, Guadalupe County (Santa Rosa) at 20.2 percent, Sierra County (Truth or Consequences) at 20.1 percent. Quay County (Tucumcari) recorded a 17.5 percent rate of participation, while the rate was 7.9 percent in Harding County (Roy, Mosquero) and 15.1 percent in Union County (Clayton).

Gallup (Richie Diesterheft, Wikimedia Commons)
Small Towns: One county in the "small town" category, Luna County (Deming), came closest to the 30-percent threshold at 29.4 percent. Other small towns with high participation include McKinley County (Gallup) at 25.4 percent, Cibola County (Grants) at 24 percent and San Miguel County (Las Vegas) at 23.9 percent. Grant County (Silver City) reported a rate of 20%. Taos County (Taos) recorded a rate of 18.6 percent. In contrast,participation was lower in Lea County (Hobbs) at 12.7% and Eddy County (Carlsbad) at 12.6 percent. Another eastern "small town," Roosevelt County (Portales), had  a rate of 17.6 percent participation.

Santa Fe Farmers Market
Metropolitan Areas: Nationwide, 11 percent of all metro counties had a participation level of 20 percent or higher. In New Mexico, Torrance County (Albuquerque), at 21%, Valencia County (Albuquerque) at 20.1% and Doña Ana County (Las Cruces), at 20.5%, fell in that category. Bernalillo County (Albuquerque) recorded a 15.2 percent participation in SNAP, while the rate was 10.1 percent in Santa Fe County (Santa Fe).

Note: SNAP Maps is based on American Community Survey (ACS) five-year data (2011–2015) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2015.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Interfaith Leaders Lobby to Preserve Foreign Aid

 “Please don’t get lost in the arguments and the numbers. Think about what’s important to you, and what you want to say, and why this funding matters to people you know, to members of your church, and speak from the heart.”  -Martin Shupack, director of advocacy at Church World Service
For 400 Bread grassroots advocates, Lobby Day occurred this past June 13. The ask was multi-pronged: 1) Oppose any budget cuts that would increase hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world; 2) Fully fund domestic safety-net and international development programs that end hunger and poverty; 3) Oppose harmful structural changes to SNAP, Medicaid, and international development assistance.

Photo: Ari Shaw/Bread for the World
A month later,  a much smaller group of faith-based advocates came to Washington for a two-day fly-in sponsored by the  Interfaith Working Group on Foreign Assistance. Since 2013, the IWGFA has focused on sustaining and increasing US public funding for poverty focused development assistance.

On July 19, 35 faith leaders from 19 states visited Capitol Hill to visit congressional offices to urge their representatives and senators to preserve funding for U.S. foreign assistance programs. "They shared their stories and faith-inspired convictions for why it is important for the U.S. government to maintain its funding support for humanitarian relief and development assistance," said the ELCA blog.

The group included pastors and religious leaders from many faith communities. The timing of the visit was important, as Congress is about to make important decisions on the 2018 budget, amid proposals of deep cuts to foreign aid programs..

The faith leaders who visited Capitol Hill on that day had access to the knowledge and resources of Bread for the World, Church World Service, Oxfam, Food for the Hungry,  and Islamic Relief.  Read full account  of the IWGFA visit in Bread for the World newsletter.

“Faith communities share a common religious call to respond to poverty, hunger, sickness, disasters and displacement,” Lucas Koach, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for Food for the Hungry, said following a similar lobbying effort in 2016. “Our faith traditions and scriptures also testify to the moral imperative of a robust government role in caring for and empowering the impoverished and vulnerable,”  

Lori Walke, Associate Pastor of Mayflower United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, shared her impressions of the 2016 lobbying effort in the newsletter of the UCC Kansas-Oklahoma conference. "Life-saving foreign aid has never been more critical.  We, the faith community and our government, have the resources to enact the Gospel of Matthew’s notes: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.  I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Finding Our Voice Founder Coming to Albuquerque

In this age of upheaval, music is as important an agent of change as ever. Yet so much of our songbook harkens back to bygone days and fewer and fewer of us know the old songs that used to unify and galvanize our spirits.  -Josh Blaine
Josh Blaine is traveling the country to find musicians and artists/creators to contribute to a series of podcasts for a project entitled  "Finding Our Voice."

He is seeking a special kind of musician, one who is writing, reviving and promoting both protest songs and sing-alongs. Each podcast will generally include interviews with musicians about their inspirations, passions and processes; intimate acoustic performances of one or a few of their tunesl and information about a relevant issue and/or organization for followers to support. Here is his pitch on YouTube.

Blaine plans to stop in New Mexico on Aug. 10-16, including a Community Sing Along at St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church in Albuquerque on Sunday, Aug. 13, 3:00-5:00 p.m. This event will feature opportunities to teach and learn songs we can sing together, as well as songs that have a message to uplift and inspire. There will also be opportunities to connect with and support a local organization doing good work in the community. 

Musicians who'd like to share or teach a song (or three!) at the event are encouraged to reach out at findingourvoiceproject@gmail.com

The hosts at St. Thomas of Canterbury invite you to stay for their church potluck at 5:00 p.m. RSVP via Facebook event

Friday, August 04, 2017

A Play on St. Francis of Assisi and the Virtues of Loving One Another

"We Christians are called to contemplate the mystery of Love not loved and to pour out mercy upon the world. On the cross, the tree of life, evil was transformed into good; we too, as disciples of the Crucified One, are called to be “trees of life” that absorb the contamination of indifference and restore the pure air of love to the world.” -Pope Francis speaking in Assisi

David Hoover and Sharon Halsey-Hoover have become well known in our community and around the country for their dramatic portrayals of Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton and St. Francis of Assisi.  Through the gift of storytelling, they introduce and deepen our understanding of these three great figures of the Catholic Church.

St. Francis is again the central figure in an upcoming presentation at St. John XXIII Catholic Community in Albuquerque next month. The presentation will consist of a short scene from the play “St. Francis of Assisi: Face to Face” and reflections to help us challenge our indifference and invite us to become engaged lovers of Love in a world gone awry that desperately needs Love to be loved.

Here are more details on the event:

WHERE: St. John XXIII Catholic Community, 4831 Tramway Ridge (map)
WHEN: Tuesday, September 5, 2017
TIME: 7:00pm to 8:30pm

The public is invited to this free event.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Gayle Smith Urges You to Help Preserve International Affairs Budget

So far this year, ONE has been fighting hard to make sure the foreign aid budget is fully funded next year. And largely because ONE members across the country are raising their voices, we’re winning. And that’s why ONE’s CEO Gayle Smith has a favor to ask of you:



So as we enter August, ONE needs you to pick up the phone, call your senators, and tell them how important it is to fully fund the international affairs budget. Elected officials are going to start making key decisions about the budget, so it’s more critical than ever that they hear from you.  ONE has set up a toll-free number for you to contact your senators 1-888-453-3211.  Follow this link for more information.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Join the Moral and Ethical Call to Justice in Albuquerque on Aug. 15

Santa Fe Rally, September 2016 (hoto: Health Action NM)
You are invited to a Moral Revival Mass Meeting in the style of the civil rights movement on Tuesday, August 15, 7:00 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church., 201 University Blvd. NE (across from UNM). The event is part of a 50th anniversary Poor People's Campaign in 2017-2018 culminating with solidarity actions in May 2018 and beyond.

The revival will feature national religious leader Rev. William Barber, Repairers of the Breach team and New Mexico faith and justice leaders. Rev. Barber has visited Albuquerque in June 2016 to lay the groundwork for the creation of a local fusion coalition. Rev. Barber offered his vision at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July 2016. The New Mexico Conference of Churches (NMCC) helped sponsor a National Moral Day of Action in Santa Fe on September 12, 2016, an event that was held in all the state capitals that day.

The NMCC, New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light, Monte Vista Christian Church and others invite you to join the moral and ethical call to justice focusing us on concerns of economic disparity, out-of- sight military spending, racism and environmental degradation.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Made for Togetherness, Goodness Compassion

Daily Verse and Voice from Sojourners for July 31, 2017

By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. - Luke 1:78-79


Voice of the Day
God's dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.- Desmond Tutu

 Prayer of the Day
God, make your will known to us, and be patient with us.
- adapted from Common Prayer



Monday, July 31, 2017

#Hunger Tweets on the Last Day of July

These are just a handful of important hunger-related issues, as told via Twitter





Sunday, July 30, 2017

'SNAP is One of the Most Effective Federal Programs'

In a floor speech on Tuesday, July 25, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, urged opposition to a proposal by House Republicans to cut $160 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), our country's primary anti-hunger program. “SNAP is not an ATM. It’s not money to be used for tax breaks for the wealthy, additional weapons systems, or any corporate handouts. It is intended to help our most vulnerable neighbors purchase groceries and put food on the table when times are tough. Simply put, SNAP helps people eat.”