You can start the coming week on the right foot by clicking the on button on your cell phone (I was going to say "picking up the telephone"--but that is so 1970s and and 1980s) and dialing 866-596-7030
This calling campaign is sponsored by the organization Catholics Confront Global Poverty, an initiative by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services
Here is the message:
We ask Catholics across the United States to join a national effort on September 26th that will make the phones in congressional offices in Washington, DC ring all day with a single, unified message: Protect funding for life-saving poverty-focused international assistance in the FY2012 appropriations and debt reduction process.
Raise your voice in support of this effort on Monday, September 26!
Here is some background:
Why should I care about this issue?
As Catholics, we are called to protect people who are hungry, thirsty, seeking refuge and care. Life-saving poverty-focused international assistance that fights hunger, disease and makes drought-prone communities in East Africa and other places more resilient is less than 1% of the budget. While our nation’s leaders must address unsustainable future deficits, your voice is needed now to stop deadly cuts to proven and effective poverty-focused programs.
Why September 26?
In the next week, Congress must make decisions about funding levels for the FY 2012 federal budget, which begins on October 1, 2011. At the same time, Congress is grappling with how to deal with our nation’s deficits. Some proposals would drastically cut international and domestic poverty-focused assistance to people in dire need such as 12 million of our brothers and sisters who are facing starvation in East Africa right now who rely on our nation’s leadership and support to save their lives.
Your action is particularly important now because the funding levels for FY 2012 will become the template for decisions about how much the U.S. invests in life-saving poverty-focused assistance for the next decade. Your voice is critical now to support poverty-focused international assistance so that life-changing and life-saving interventions can continue to reach those who need it most.
Why is poverty-focused international assistance in danger?
Poverty-focused international assistance doesn’t have a large, vocal constituency that will go to bat for it. Instead, it’s one of the easiest areas to cut in the federal budget even thought it only makes up less than 1% of the budget. The House of Representatives proposed reducing poverty-focused international assistance by over 13% in FY 2012 addition to last year’s cut of over 8%.
As Bishop Howard Hubbard, Chairman of the International Justice and Peace Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Ken Hackett, President of Catholic Relief Services recently noted in a letter to the Senate: “This is not a balanced, moral approach to budget reductions.” They declared: “[T]the USCCB and CRS stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that reduces future deficits, protects poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad, advances the common good, and promotes human life and dignity. But we oppose an appropriations bill that places a disproportionate, deadly burden on the poorest people in the poorest places on earth.”
Will my one call make a difference?
Yes! Members of Congress respond to their constituents. Your voice, along with many others throughout the United States, in support of our brothers and sisters around the world, can and will protect poverty-focused international assistance. Call 866-596-7030 to raise your voice in support of this effort on Monday, September 26!
What Else Can I Do?
Spread the world via Twitter using the common hashtag #cutscostlives. Here are some sample tweets:
I just told my members of Congress that careless cuts to poverty-focused international assistance costs lives. Join me to SAY NO to budget cuts that will hurt the world's poor & to SAY YES to shared sacrifice. Will you? #cutscostlives @CatholicRelief Action Alert
URGENT: Tell Congress that Careless Cuts Cost Lives! Stop disproportionate cuts to poverty-focused international assistance that helps fights poverty, disease, and hunger #cutscostlives @CatholicRelief Action Alert
Tell Congress to stop careless cuts to poverty-focused international assistance that saves lives and lifts people out of poverty. #cutscostlives @CatholicRelief Action Alert
<1% of US budget saves millions of lives around the world and lifts up the world's poor. DON'T let Congress take that away! #cutscostlives @CatholicRelief Action Alert
Protect human life and dignity! Tell Congress NO to careless cuts to poverty-focused international assistance that saves lives. #cutscostlives @CatholicRelief Action Alert
Poverty-focused international assistance was cut by 8% last year and the House wants to cut another 13% this year. Tell Congress: these careless cuts cost lives. #cutscostlives @CatholicRelief Action Alert
Spread the word via Facebook by posting a message on your facebook page. Here are some sample posts: o Take Action Now: Tell Congress not to cut poverty-focused international assistance that saves millions of lives, and helps lift people out of crushing poverty. Action Alert
Lives will be lost if Congress votes to cut funding for poverty-focused international assistance that fights disease and hunger. Please tell your members of Congress to stop these disproportionate and careless budget cuts! Action Alert
URGENT: Tell your members of Congress to SAY NO to careless budget cuts that will cost lives among the world's poor and to SAY YES to shared sacrifice: Action Alert
Less than 1% of the US budget goes to poverty-focused international assistance, saving lives and lifting people out of poverty. Don’t let Congress make disproportionate and careless cuts that cost lives! Action Alert E-mail your friends and family members and ask them to make a call.
Write or e-mail a letter to your member of Congress-visit our website for more information-in addition to calling them on September 26th.
Write a letter to the editor in your diocesan and local newspaper. Call your diocesan communications department or the CRS communications office for assistance.
Make an appointment with your member of Congress’ local office and visit them to talk about these issues. Call your CRS regional office for assistance.