Friday, March 02, 2012

Discussion Guide for Letter Writers in Your Congregation or Group

Bread advocates around the country know by now that our 2012 Offering of Letters consists of four mini campaigns as well as an overall theme based on the Circle of Protection. The choice of which campaign to choose depends on many factors, including the importance of our representative or senator to one of these issues, the timing of an upcoming vote, and the interests of a congregation. Or a congregation or group could choose to base their letters on the overall campaign.

The Bread staff, in conjunction with grassroots advocates in the north-central region, has prepared a great study guide for each of the four mini campaigns.  The study guide contains questions that go hand in hand with each of the four videos.  The guide is just one of many great resources available from Bread to help you put together a successful Offering of Letters.

The guide offers two to five questions for each of the four mini campaigns and also for the overall campaign.  Here is one question from each section.

Overall Campaign Programs that help hungry and struggling people are “critical to the well-being of the whole society,” mentioned Rev. Judith. In what ways is the whole society affected by hunger and poverty? Why would making sure people have enough to eat be important to the well-being of everyone, including those who always have enough?

Poverty-Focused Foreign Assistance Development assistance is a way to focus on long-term causes of hunger and poverty, while food aid meets people’s immediate needs. While both are important, many Americans focus more on charitable feeding than on causes. In what circumstances is food aid appropriate? What makes development assistance more sustainable over the long term?

Domestic Nutrition Private feeding through churches and charities covers just 6 percent of the nutrition needs for low-income and struggling families in the United States. One person has estimated that if churches and charities needed to cover those costs, each church, synagogue, mosque, and charity would need to increase their efforts by at least $160,000 just to cover food, not to mention the structures through which they would provide food. Could your church manage this?

International Food Aid Usually we talk about development assistance as offering the long-term solutions, and food aid as being a band-aid solution for the short term since it involves giving people food directly. How does food aid enable communities to sustain themselves? What is “sustainable” about it, or how might it lead to greater sustainability and development?

Tax Credits for Low-Income Families The video mentioned that the average time on the EITC is two years. Does this seem like a long or short period oftime to receive this tax benefit? What are some tax benefits that you have received? How long did you receive them?

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