Friday, November 30, 2012

The Fight Against Global Poverty Starts With Me

Elaine VanCleave and Michael Gerson are  members of Bread for the World's board of directors.  They both have also been involved with The ONE Campaign.  They were featured in a series of about a dozen videos with ONE advocates, who were asked to elaborate on the statement, It Starts with Me. The videos were released this week.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Mexico League of Women Voters Invites You to a Lobbying Workshop on Saturday

Bread for the World advocates are experienced in the art and science of connecting with our federal (and many times our state) legislators on issues related to hunger and poverty. But it's always a good thing to get pointers, new ideas and approaches and other useful information.  

This coming Saturday, December 1, the League of Women Voters  of New Mexico is hosting its 2012 Lobbying Workshop at Montezuma Lodge, 431 Paseo de Peralta, in Santa Fe, 10:00 a.m. until noon 

The workshop is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required, but you are asked to arrive before 10:00 a.m. to sign up and collect handouts.

The goal of the workshop is to teach interested attendees to be effective in advocating as individual citizens or as members of civic organizations or other groups in interacting with the NM Legislature. Handouts and discussion will also provide information on the legislative process, on lobbyist regulation, and on the tools available on the legislative web site.

The workshop will feature three knowledgeable speakers: 
  • Senator Peter Wirth was elected to the NM House of Representatives in 2004, re-elected in 2006, and since 2008 he has represented Senate District 25 in Santa Fe. 
  • Representative Jimmie Hall has served in the NM House of Representatives since 2004, representing House District 28 in Bernalillo County. 
  • Linda Siegle has been a registered lobbyist in New Mexico since 1992. She specializes in representing non-profits and health care associations.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'Fiscal Cliff' a Danger to Anti-Hunger Programs

The fiscal cliff is the buzzword in the news these days.   It refers to the dilemma facing  Congress and President Barack Obama, who have until the end of the year to come up with a deficit reduction plan.

For the anti-hunger and anti-poverty community this is worrisome because the lack of an agreement by the end of the year would trigger steep cuts in spending for domestic programs (as well as defense).

There would also be across-the-board tax increases that would do away with rates set during the administration of President George W. Bush and restore higher tax rates in place during President Bill Clinton's administration when the economy was robust and the federal government had a budget surplus.   Read more about ongoing debate from the Associated Press and Reuters

So what can you do?  Make a lot of noise!

One way is to Call Congress.

Call your U.S. senators and your U.S. representative today! Use Bread for the World's toll-free number (1-800-826-3688) and tell them to pass a budget deal that includes a circle of protection around programs for hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world.

Explain that any deal must
  • Explicitly protect low-income entitlement programs for hungry and poor people—like SNAP (formerly food stamps), the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child Tax Credit—against cuts or harmful changes. 
  • Include additional tax revenue, balanced with responsible spending cuts, so that our country can reduce its deficits while continuing its commitment to reducing hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world..
  • Prevent further cuts to non-defense discretionary programs, including poverty-focused development assistance, international food aid, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
Or write a letter to the editor. Here is a great piece from the Bread communications staff on how to get started.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Fundraising Party for Albuquerque-based Global Health Partnerships

Global Health Partnerships (GHP), an Albuquerque-based non-profit organization of medical professionals and other volunteers who work in countries like Kenya and Guatemala is hosting a fundraiser this coming Sunday, December 2.  

GHP partners with  local community organizations and health care providers to improve the health and well being of the poor and marginalized throughout the world.  You probably remember this piece that GHP president Angelo Tomedi wrote in August 2009.

A Fundraising Party

Sunday, December 2
Open House, 2-5 p.m.
 1719 Notre Dame NE
(two blocks  west of Carlisle off Indian School)

Buy wonderful calendars, note cards, carved animals from Kenya, jewelry and more...

Please contact Rifka Stern for more information   350-5920

Monday, November 26, 2012

FRAC Webinar to Look at Public Support for Food Stamps, Strategy to Preserve SNAP Program

Recent polling data show that large majorities of Americans believe that hunger is a serious problem that the country must address and that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a program that is important and should not be cut. Join the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and Hart Research for a webinar about this very important top.

When: December 3
Time:: 11:00 A.M. Mountain TIme (1:00 ET, Noon CT, 10:00 PT)

The webinar will address  the latest polling research, implications and messages for anti-hunger advocates, and how proposed cuts to SNAP are met by broad opposition. Speakers: Jim Weill (FRAC), Guy Molyneux (Hart Research)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Excerpts from An Advent Credo

It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction—

This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.

It is not true that our hopes for liberation of humankind, of justice, of human dignity of peace are not meant for this earth and for this history—

This is true: The hour comes, and it is now, that the true worshipers shall worship God in spirit and in truth

So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope. Let us see visions of love and peace and justice. Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage: Jesus Christ—the life of the world.

-Daniel Berrigan,, S.J.
(Excerpts from Advent Credo,  which is based on Testimony: The Word Made Flesh, by Daniel Berrigan, S.J. Orbis Books, 2004).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

For Christmas, Sponsor a Child or Senior in Border City of Palomas (or Help with a Winter Coat Drive)

Esperanza Hope Lozoya has  been a constant and supportive presence for the people of the border city of Palomas in Chihuahua, just across the border from Columbus, New Mexico. Through her tireless efforts,  and with the assistance many other people, she has set up a feeding program, and provided shoes, school supplies, and Easter baskets  for this community.

Esperanza now has another opportunity for you to help. Here is her appeal:

Dear friends: 
I hope you have been blessed with a wonderful year, as you know Christmas is just around the corner and our search is on for sponsors, for the much needy families of Palomas and rural Chihuahua. Due to loss of revenue, families suffer more now than in past years.
Senior meal at Outreach Building in Palomas

Please search your heart and consider sponsoring a child or senior for the holidays. Please make the holidays an unforgettable one for those in need! If you are interested please choose an information card from one of our trees, at the following locations; In Deming NM. Peppers Supermarket, Deming Headlight, Diaz Farms, Deming Arts. In Columbus NM. San Jose Grocery, or e-mail me and, I will send you information on the child or senior needing to be sponsored.

 "The Tree Of Hope" "El Arbol de la Esperanza" will include the name, age, sex, clothing and shoe size, and what toy the child is wanting, or the special need of the senior. All families have been interviewed to determine each individual families needs. We strongly encourage that you personally meet the child or senior beeing sponsored but, if you are unable to you may send a Wal-mart of K-mart gift card to our mailing address, or call for pick-up. You will receive within two weeks of Christmas a Thank You letter and a photo of the child or senior receiving the gifts. 

If you have any questions please feel free to call (575)936-0417 or e-mail me ( Or you can send donations to our mailing address: 
La Luz De La Esperanza Outreach 
P.O. Box 38 
Columbus, NM 88029

Thank you.
Winter Coat Drives for Palomas
Among those who are helping in Palomas are the College of Education at Western New Mexico University School of Education and the Department of Languages and Linguistics at New Mexico State University. WNMU has organized a Winter Coats and Cookies Drive in Silver City again this year. Read about the WNMU efforts last year. The Bilingual Club (BESO) is also participating in this effort at WNMU through Dec. 7. For more information contact Prof. Alexandra Neves or 575-597-0016

New Mexico State University has joined in with a similar drive in Las Cruces through Dec. 14. Professor Spencer Herrera, in the Department of Languages and Linguistics at NMSU, will coordinate a collection in Las Cruces. He can be reached at

Both drives are being conducted in conjuction with the non-profit organization Dos Manos.  For more information contact executive director Victoria Tester,

Friday, November 23, 2012

Making a Diffference with Christmas Cards

In this age of instant communications, most people create their own "e-cards" to touch base with their friends and family. This makes it that much more special when you actually send a card via the U.S. Postal Service. For one, it has your signature on it, so it makes your greeting more personal.

\I would like to recommend these cards offered by Bread for the World. Using dramatic photos to convey a message of peace, joy, and hope, the photographs reflect the world in which Bread for the World seeks to make a difference. Each pack contains 10 cards with envelopes. Shipping is included!    Click here to order this card and three others.

Photo by Nurun Nahar Nargish for Majority World, a global initiative that champions the cause of indigenous photographers from the developing world. She is an award-winning photographer from Bangladesh.

Inside Message:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined. —Isaiah 9:2

May Christ’s birth among us be your source of light and hope throughout the new year. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

On Thanksgiving, Three Essential Prayers

Thanksgiving is a prayer.  

Think about it.  By giving thanks we step outside ourselves and acknowledge that we are vulnerable. 

And as we take time to offer our prayer of gratitude today, I would like to share a book that novelist and spiritual guru Anne Lamott wrote this year. The book, which gives us great insights on prayer, is entitled Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers.  Here is an  excerpt  from an interview with Renee Montagne from National Public Radio about about asking for guidance, offering gratitude and expressing wonder.
"Prayer is not about saying, 'Oh, I think I'm going to pray now.' Or, 'Oh, I see I've made a notation here to pray at 2:15.' It's about getting outside of your own self and hooking into something greater than that very, very limited part of our experience here — the ticker tape of thoughts and solutions, and trying to figure out who to blame. ...

"It's sort of like blinking your eyes open. ... It's sort of like when the Wizard of Oz first — when Dorothy lands in Oz and the movie goes from black and white to color, and it's like having a new pair of glasses, and you say, 'Wow!' "
Read more and listen to audio clip from NPR
  And here is an excerpt from a piece about Thanksgiving that she wrote in The New York Times.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Video on Thanksigiving from Bread for the World

Remembering Bread New Mexico Advocate Laura Richard

Paul and Laura Richard at Bread picnic in Bataan Park in Albuquerque
Paul and Laura Richard were among the first Bread for the World advocates I met when we moved to New Mexico in 1992.  Not only were they regulars at the monthly meetings we had back in the 1990s, but also participated in special activities, such as the Bread for the World picnic at Bataan Park.  (The above picture was taken at the picnic).

Laura and Paul were also very dedicated to the fight against hunger and poverty at the state level, as evidenced by their strong involvement with New Mexico Lutheran Office for Governmental Ministry, (LOGM), which is now the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry, (LAM).

The Richards  used their joint involvement in Bread and LOGM to help us plan a great joint conference in 1994, which featured Bread President David Beckmann and Father Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation.  Laura and Paul conceived of the title for the conference (Feeding the Future) and helped design the brochure.  Our planning team consisted of then LOGM director Nima Ward, LOGM volunteer Steve Werner,  and Paul and Laura. 

After a few years, Paul and Laura left our community for Colorado and lived there many years before returning to Taos, in northern New Mexico.   

As Thanksgiving approaches, I would like to offer thanks for having known  Laura.   It was with great sadness that I recently learned about Laura's death in April of this year from injuries sustained in a motorcyle accident up in Taos.  Here is an obituary from The Canyon Courier

Paul still lives in Taos.  Let me know if you would like to drop him a note, and I'll send you his e-mail address.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pictures of Hope: Greeting Cards Made from Photographs Taken by Homeless Children

By Karen Navarro

This year you just might want to purchase “Pictures of Hope” greeting cards to send as your holiday cards @ $25.00 for 16, or give the boxed cards as presents:  Sixteen children who were either living in the shelter or in housing programs offered by the Barrett Foundation were selected to be ‘guest artists/photographers’ for this project.

Award winning Photojournalist, Linda Solomon of “Pictures of Hope,” taught the 16 children photography skills, and then Galles Chevrolet surprised each child with their own special camera. Their assignment as young photojournalists: to capture their “hopes and dreams” on film. These photos are now beautifully featured on the greeting cards. Hopes and dreams expressed include: 

I hope to care for my family.  
I hope to make a difference in the world. 
I hope for people to have food, water and clothes.  
My dream is for people to get homes.

“When you show children that you care about what they wish for in life, perhaps a child who never felt he or she had self worth, now will,’ says Linda Solomon. Read more about the project in this article in The Deseret News

100% of the proceeds benefit Barrett Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that serves homeless women and children. Barrett House, the emergency shelter, offers 28 nights’ lodging and services to homeless women and children, and Barrett Foundation also has three supportive housing programs. Visit the Barret Foundation Web site  for more information about this wonderful homeless services agency and to view all 16 cards!

To order, send a check in the amount of $25.00 made payable to“Barrett Foundation, Inc.” and mail to:

Barrett Foundation, Inc. 
Attn: Pictures of Hope 
10300 Constitution Ave. NE 
Albuquerque, NM 87112 

Or call the Barrett Foundation, (505) 246-9244 to pay by credit card.

(For more information regarding the Barrett Foundation’s “Pictures of Hope” project contact Barrett Foundation’s Resource Development Officer, Michele Romero at or call (505) 246-9244 and ask for Michele Romero).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Buying Local for the Holidays

If buying local is important to you as a New Mexican during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I'd like to share a couple of items with you. First, Farm to Table, based in Santa Fe, provided these recipes made with local ingredients for Thanksgiving side dishes
Farm to Table also provides sources for New Mexico-Raised Turkeys in the Santa Fe area.  Some of these locations have run out of birds, but others might still have them.  In any case, you might want to save this list for future years or for Christmas.
Jubilee - A Holiday Celebration of Local Food

I would also like to share is a special event put together by  Delicious New Mexico, Edible Santa Fe,  and the Mixing Bowl Commercial Kitchen, entitled Jubilee - A Holiday Celebration of Local Food.  The event-- which will feature local artisan foods and live music--will be held at the South Valley Economic Development Center (SVEDC) in Albuquerque on Friday, Dec. 7, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.  The event will also mark the grand opening of the SVEDC's La Tiendita store and the first ever Edible Santa Fe Local Heroes Awards Ceremony.

Delicious New Mexico has been at the forefront of promoting local foods in New Mexico.  Read more in The Santa Fe Reporter

Here is more information:
We will celebrate the hard working community of food artisans at the Mixing Bowl Commercial Kitchen. Offering samples of their wares and sensational holiday gifts will be Dolores' New Mexico Chili Products, New Mexico Pie Company, Heidi's Raspberry Jam, Tio Franks, Choco Canyon Chocolates, Urban Orchards, Valley Gurlz Goodz, What the Fudge, Nin's Nutz, Agri-Cultura Network, Salsa La Luz, Chispa Brillante and many others.
Delicious New Mexico will also be celebrating the grand opening of its Tiendita. The Tiendita, managed by Dolores Martinez of Dolores’ Salsa, will showcase Delicious New Mexico producers offering a broad range of high quality local artisanal foods. Gift baskets suggestions are Dolores’ Salsas; red or green, seasoned tostada chips, carne adovada and green chili mix or jams, jelly, granola, chocolates, pies, specialty sauces, mustards, honey, bischochitos, and much more.
The Tiendita will officially open its doors on Friday during Jubilee. A holiday market will be held on December 8 and 9, 2012 from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. Order your holiday gift baskets filled with products from the SVEDC “The Mixing Bowl” and Delicious New Mexico food vendors.  Facebook Page

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Squashing Hunger: A Video About a Student's Leadership Efforts in the Fight Against Hunger and Poverty

Brendan Rice, a student at the University of Alabama-Birmingham,  has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the fight against hunger and has a commitment to a life of service in the area of hunger, poverty reduction.  He participated in Bread for the World's Hunger Justice Leaders program (2010) and founded his campus chapter Universities Fighting World Hunger. He also spent a couple of summers as intern at  Bread for the World, the Alliance to End Hunger and at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Washington.  He is currently participating in the U.S. State Department's Virtual Foreign Service as an eintern with USAID Kenya.

So, it was only natural that Brendan would apply for the 2013 President  William Jefferson Clinton Hunger Leadership Award.  This award is sponsored by Stop Hunger Now and the NC State University Center for Student Leadership, Ethics & Public Service (CSLEPS).  Participants were asked to put together a  3-5 minute video detailing their  vision for a world without hunger and their efforts to provide leadership in this area. (The video had to be creative and engaging (i.e. not a live video resume).

Here is Brendan's video:

So what happens next?

A selection committee will pick five finalists, who will then ask applicants to submit more information, including an essay an essay indicating an understanding of the cause of hunger and related issues and a letter of recommendation.

The winner will receive a cash award from Stop Hunger Now to use towards an educational experience that will advance their knowledge and understanding of hunger and related issues. The President William Jefferson Clinton Hunger Leadership Award will be presented to the winner in March 2013 at the Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit in Kansas City.

Good Luck Brendan!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sister Simone Campbell Speaks About Faithful Budget at Harvard Divinity School

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Network's Sister Simone Campbell was invited to speak at Harvard University Divinity School as part of its Religion and American Public Life lecture series.

She engaged with students about how to stand together for the common good in today's divisive political climate.  She described the Faithful Budget that she has promoted through the Nuns on the Bus tour this summer with five words: “reasonable revenue for responsible programs.”

Harvard Divinity School logo
The Harvard Crimson newspaper covered her talk.  Here is an excerpt:
The resounding shrieks of the fire alarm interrupted Mara Willard as the lecturer on religion and society welcomed a guest speaker to the Harvard Divinity School Wednesday night. As a student ran to check whether the alarm was a test or an actual threat, the speaker, Sister Simone Campbell, seized the opportunity and the microphone.

In addition to emphasizing the importance of unity in the face of economic, political, and social instability, Campbell discussed her “Faithful Budget,” a spiritually based alternative to the budget proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan, Gov. Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate.

Campbell took advantage of the fire drill to make her presentation interactive. When the audience was temporarily displaced to the Divinity School courtyard, she created a makeshift aisle—to maintain the lecture’s religious feel, she said.

She then recruited seven volunteers to form a “human bar graph,” to demonstrate the disparities in income created by the nation’s “trickle down” economics.  
Read full article, entitled Sister Pans ‘Trickle Down’ Plans

Friday, November 16, 2012

What Will it Take to End World Poverty? Bono and World Bank President Discuss this Theme

ONE Co-founder Bono and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim drew in hundreds of World Bank and ONE staffers, civil society and media to the Bank’s Washington, D.C. headquarters this week for a discussion on how to end world poverty.  Below is a 55-minute video containing an interview with Bono and Yong King.  (Also check out the video of Bono's speech at Georgetown University this week).  A couple of excerpts from the World Bank session follow the video.

As we go into 2015 and the close of the Millennium Development Goals, it turns out that halving extreme poverty is happening.  And it's happening faster than anyone predicted. And it's not all India and China. There are a dozen countries in Africa that are moving across that line. It may be possible...The launch of the next Millennium Goals 2.0...Instead of this rather half-hearted idea of what did you do with your life?  I committed my life to halve extreme poverty, which is pragmatic but dull. We might actually get to a case [so that] somewhere between 2025 and 2030 where that might actually mean something. And that would be as you Americans say would be Awesome! -Bono

The key in terms of setting a poverty target is that it has to inspire, it has to change the way we work, it has to change the way we feel about our work.  It's not about launching a t-shirt or an idea. It's about trying to garner the forces. We still have more than three years left on the MDGs. And we can do a lot better. As we think about setting a target for poverty, what we're looking is finding ways at is setting a target so that it dramatically changes the way we work. We work faster, we got pace, we've got rhythm in attacking the problem. And we have to make sure that happens.  -Jim Yong Kim

If you want to know what will turbo-charge the fight against poverty, it's open data, transparency.  I think you need to boost your boost. -Bono

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Season of Food Drives has Arrived; Please Give Generously

The driveway is full of leaves.  The air at night is cold.  And the grocery stores are already selling canned pumpkin, stuffing and turkeys.  For some of us in New Mexico, our meal might include some side dish made with green and red chile or squash (calabacitas). 

But we're getting ahead of ourselves a bit. There is one task that we must accomplish before starting to plan our holiday meal.  It doesn't take much effort, just mindfulness. Please remember that  the Letter Carriers Food Drive is this Saturday, November 17.  To help you remember, there is a paper bag inserted in today's edition of the Albuquerque Journal.  Please leave a bag full of food by your mailbox.

The food you donate will go a long ways to ensure that many needy families in our community have sufficient food during the holiday season.  In Albuquerque, the letter carriers will donate the food to Roadrunner Food Bank. So please go to your local grocery store and buy peanut butter, tuna, canned vegetables, beans (dry and canned).  Please don't use the occasion to empty your pantry of old food.

And  as long as we're talking about food collection, there are other things you can do during the season. 
  • ABQ Uptown shopping center will be taking turkeys, hams and other foods on November 17, the same day as the food drive.
  • You don't have to limit your food donation to a single day. Smith's grocery stores have set up barrels for you to place non-perishable food items during the entire month of November.
  • Starbucks locations in Albuquerque will "take the baton" from Smith's. Our friendly coffee shops will be collecting bags of non-perishable food items from Dec. 1 until Jan. 5.
  • And Roadrunner needs your help on Sunday, November 18, 8 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., to sort the food that has been donated...And Roadrunner has also designated December 8 as Volunteer on Saturday. They need folks to sort, repack food and fill food boxes from 8:00 a.m. until noon  Click here to volunteer or call (505) 349-8825 for either Saturday.
Advocacy is important too 
I have a couple of thoughts. With our country still facing an economic crisis, it is important to find ways to donate food during the entire year, particularly during the summer months.  

And I hope we do not confine our solidarity with poor and hungry people to just giving food.  There is a very real danger that programs that help many of these same families during the year, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), will be cut during the budget-deliberation process.  So please take a minute to write to our congressional delegation asking them to save funding for these programs. Click here for more information from Bread for the World.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Jack Nelson Pallmeyer: Existence of Hunger, Poverty a Sign of a Deep Spiritual Crisis

Author and theologian Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer was the keynote speaker at a conference sponsored jointly by the Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry (now Lutheran Advocacy Ministry) and Bread for the World New Mexico exactly 17 years ago.  Here are some excerpts from his thought-provoking address on November 11, 1995.  Even though he made these comments almost two deacades ago, they are more relevant than ever in today's political environment.

Chatting with conference participants

To ground us Biblically I want to share a few points.

I've always found the Biblical writers very helpful in reminding us that hunger and poverty are signs of a dual crisis.  From a Biblical perspective, the existence of hunger and poverty are signs that economies aren't functioning, but they're also signs of a deep spiritual crisis.  I think that we can say with confidence in our present setting in this country that we are in a midst of an economic and spiritual crisis.

Hunger is an indictment of our faith, it's an indictment of our politics, it's an indictment of our economic priorities. Hunger is like the biggest signpost most brightly lit that you've ever seen, screaming at us.  What it's screaming at us to do is to rethink everything.  It's my own view that Newt Gingrich and the politics of meanness won't save us.  That Bill Clinton won't save us.  That Colin Powell won't save us.  The crisis is much, much deeper than that.

The third brief point is also grounded in the Bible, and this is very important for us living in this country right.  The way that we're to judge whether or not an economic system is working is based on what is happening to the poor, not on what is happening to the rich.  It's on what is happening to the most vulnerable in the society, not on what's happening at the stock market level--what's happening in therms of income gains for a few.  So our lens as people of faith is a different lens, and it's one that we must bring to the public debate.
Hunger is like the biggest signpost most brightly lit that you've ever seen, screaming at us.  What it's screaming at us to do is to rethink everything. 
Human beings are created by God as part of the created order.  We are part of and responsible to the broader creation.  And this has all kinds of implications.  Our economic systems and priorities and personal choices must all be evaluated on whether or not they contributed to present justice as well as the viability of life on the planet in the future.  So we should be asking ourselves questions like these: Is how we've organized our  economic and political life good for the people? Is it empowering to the poorDoes it break down inequalities Does it shatter the cycles of poverty and despairIs it sustainable? Do the economic policies and priorities and visions we have leave space for the future? Do they renew the Earth, or do they in fact, contribute to the Earth's destruction?  Is the way we organize economic life, and the political choices we are making, offer hope and possibility of a different future?

A fifth Biblical grounding point for me is that we should ask if our assumptions of economic life contribute or block authentic spirituality.   What is our vision of economic life?  What is the promise? What are all the goods and services that we produce setting out to do?  Let me offer you a quote from Victor LeBeau, retail analyst after World War II, laying out the foundations of our society, determined by market morality.   He said: "Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever increasing rate."  Do our very assumptions of life and economic life contribute to an authentic spirituality, or do they lead us down paths that promise and promise and promise, and fail to deliver on almost every count?

One of the themes that you'll pick up in my talk this morning is that the transformations that are called for in our time are very deep and very profound,. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Radical Christian Life Webcast in Albuquerque Rescheduled for January

Because of complications in New York caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Trinity Institute webcast of the Radical Life Conference has been postponed.  The conference itself will be held on Dec. 7-9 (instead of the original dates of Nov. 9-11). Here's a note from the organizers in New York:
We are fortunate and grateful that Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, will be able to be with us on these new dates. Father Richard Rohr, OFM, will participate in a different way. He will preach and teach at Trinity on November 11, and his talk and sermon will be available on the conference website.
Organizers in Albuquerque had planned to show the taped webcast on Saturday, Nov. 17.  Because of the postponement of the actual conference in New York, the Albuquerque event has been rescheduled to Saturday, January 12, at the Bosque Center (6400 Coors Boulevard NW). The original event locally had been scheduled for St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church. The time will probably be the same (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.--but please check back for confirmation)

"In January we will feature the same great speaker, Sr. Joan Chittister, reflection groups focusing on linking Joan Chittister's words with daily life and scripture, and time for prayer, meditation and worship," said local organizer Rev.Susan Allison-Hatch

Registration Information for Albuquerque Webcast
If you would like to participate in the Albuquerque webcast on Saturday, January 12, 2013, please register by sending the following information along with a check for $30 to the address listed below.  The new deadline in January 7.

Email Address
Dietary Restrictions
Childcare Needs

Cost is $30, payable to St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church. Scholarship Assistance is available. For more information, please contact Kathryn Ravenwood at 345.8147 or Rev. Allison-Hatch,

St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church
601 Montaño Rd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
By the way, the Trinity Institutute's conferences for last year and other recent years are available online.

Friday, November 09, 2012

ONE Campaign Urges Candidates to Invest in Agriculture

In the recent Congressional election, advocates involved with The ONE Campaign urged Senate candidates to invest in agriculture as  a means to protect global poverty. Here is the message on post cards that were delivered to the candidates:  
Investing in agriculture has proven to be twice as effective at fighting poverty as investments in other sectors. 
We can break the cycle of poverty and hunger by tackling their root causes. 
Please commit to protecting programs that can help ensure 15 million children are chronically malnourished and 50 million people are lifted out of extreme poverty.
The election is over, but that has not changed the message.   You don't have to have a post card to contact your newly elected or re-elected senator (and member of the House), and also the senators who were not on the ballot this year.  Drop them a note by e-mail or snail mail.   

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Church World Service Helping Victims of Hurricane Sandy

Most of the appeals to help victims of Hurricane Sandy have asked you to donate to the Red Cross. But the same folks who brought you the CROP Walk, Church World Service, are also involved in disaster relief and need your donations. Here is a video with more information.

Free Screening of Documentary Solar Mamas in Albuquerque

Solar Mamas
Directed By Jehane Noujaim
FREE Public Screening

Thursday, November 15
KiMo Theatre
423 Central Ave NW 
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Doors Open at 6:30 PM

(Please stay for an interactive discussion following the screening)

The documentary Solar Mamas tells the story of Rafea - a 30-year-old Jordanian mother of four - who is traveling outside of her village for the first time to attend a solar engineering program at India's Barefoot College. She will join poor women like her from Guatemala, Kenya, Burkina Faso, and Colombia to learn concrete skills to change their communities.

Barefoot College was founded by Sanjit "Bunker" Roy to provide knowledge and training to the rural poor to empower them to make their communities self-reliant and sustainable.

Read more about producer and director Jehane Noujaim

Here is a trailer of the documentary, a special presentation of the PBS program Independent Lens

For more information about the free screening visit New Mexico PBS or call 505-277-2121

Monday, November 05, 2012

AARP cites Bread as one of the 'Heroes Against Hunger in Maine'

Bread for the World partners formally  with many organizations around the country (as in the Circle of Protection and the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network).  Sometimes there are those unspoken informal networking opportunities.  Take, for example, this note, entitled Heroes Against Hunger in Maine, which was posted in the AARP Maine Web site on August, 23, 2012:  
"Hunger is a problem that affects so many around the world, but it can be hard to fathom how many people in the United States endure hunger despite its reputation for being one of the wealthiest nations in the world. The numbers can be overwhelming. Here in Maine, we are fortunate to have organizations like Good Shepherd Food Bank and Bread for the World who are working toward meaningful solutions."
Incidentally, AARP and the AARP Foundation are involved in many other direct ways to address hunger.  Learn more about the organization's campaign to tackle hunger proactively through a three-pronged approach: Lend a Hand, Find Help, and Learn More.  Among the issues raised by AARP in the articles on its Web site are a proposal to cut the budget for home-delivered meals in Massachusetts, 6 out of 10 seniors in Ohio who qualify for Food Stamps don't enroll, and a meal program that benefits both students and seniors in Washington, D.C.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Pineapples in Sierra Leone and Vaccines for Children in Uganda

I want to take this opportunity to highlight the work (and blog posts) of two anti-poverty advocates in Africa.

First, there is Steven Grudda, who participated in Bread for the World's Hunger Justice Leaders program in the summer of 2012.

Steven is working in Sierra Leone with First Step (a subsidiary of World Hope International).  The company operates Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Sierra Leone to attract industry to the country as a way of advancing economic growth and improving living conditions.

Here is an excerpt of his blog post about efforts to introduce pineapple cultivation in Sierra Leone.
"Working with smallholders to sell a crop they already grow is one thing (that’s what we’re doing with mango farmers). Working with smallholders to grow a new crop is a whole different ball game.
Africa Felix Juice (AFJ) buys both mangos and pineapples. The problem is, Sierra Leone has tons of wild growing mangoes and hardly any pineapples. Almost no one grows pineapples. After gaining sales momentum among mango farmers we decided to introduce pineapple cultivation as well."  Read full post Pineapples
A Shot@Life in Uganda:  Vaccines for Children

The second person I would like to highlight is Cindy Levin, an advocate from the Chicago area, who was  part of  a delegation that traveled to Uganda with Shot@Life, a movement to protect children worldwide by providing life-saving vaccines where they are most needed.  Cindy--who has done advocacy work with RESULTS, Bread for the World, and The ONE Campaign--posted a series of very impressive pieces on her APB (Anti-Poverty Blog) about her week in Uganda at the end of October.

Her accounts are very informative and descriptive.  I encourage you to visit her blog to read all the posts.  In the meantime, I am reprinting a few excerpts here:
It occurs to me that some of the folks reading this post may by interested in my journey, but haven't heard really what I'm doing here in Africa. After all, I never really explained it very well, did I? I am a volunteer champion for the UN Foundation's Shot@Life campaign. This campaign raises awareness, funding, and advocacy for global vaccines. We focus on four diseases, which are the top killers of children worldwide: polio, measles, rotavirus, and pneumcoccal virus. A child dies every 20 seconds from a treatable or preventable disease. Champions spread the word that together we can SAVE a child's life every 20 seconds by supporting global health focused foreign aid and fundraising from individual donors.  Read Shot@Life Trip Blog: Giving Kids a Shot@Life
Children anywhere in the world are entitled to share their feeling with us in their faces and words. The kids in Uganda were no different in that regard. I'm here to say that I saw both the positive and the negative, but overwhelmingly the emotions that I felt from them was curiosity and joy. And that's mostly what I want to show you in my pictures.  Read Shot@Life Uganda Trip Blog: Where are the Flies
The healthcare workers at the Family Health Day told us they are making a special campaign push to encourage husbands and wives to be tested together at worship services because that is often when they are together. At health clinics, they tend to come alone. If they both find out they are HIV positive at the same time, they will probably "have happy lives" says Dr. Edward. Read Shot@Life Uganda Trip: Rosemary's family (note: discussion of HIV testing)
Better yet, here she is telling you another story via a YouTube video.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Run from Malaria Race in Albuquerque Next Saturday

Although great progress has been made in the fight against malaria, the goal of eradicating this disease has not yet been reached. Central United Methodist Churh, Athletes Edge store, and the Albuquerque Road Runners are doing their part to help the global community to reach their goal by hosting the Second Annual 5K Walk/Run from Malaria on  Saturday, November 10, at 9:00 A.M, at Albuquerque Academy, 6400 Wyoming NE. You can either run or walk the five kilometers  Register here

If you cannot participate in this event, you can donate to the Imagine No Malaria campaign at any time. Join with volunteers and supporters of this organization as they work to bring an end to this disease and transform the world.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Catholic Bishops Conference to Host Webcast: Strengthening the Circle of Protection After the Election

No matter how Tuesday's presidential and congressional election turn out, the pressure to cut programs for poor and hungry people here at home and in other countries is going to continue.

Many of the members of the coalition that came together to urge Congress and the President to form a Circle of Protection around programs that help the most vulnerable in our society are planning some sort of meeting or event to take stock of what the election.  The topic is going to be a part of the discussions for our Bread for the World board of directors on Nov. 12-13.

And the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has scheduled a webinar for next Thursday, Nov. 8, to discusss ways to strengthen the Circle of Protection after the election. Here is a note from the USCCB: 
At a time of persistently high poverty and joblessness, programs that serve poor and vulnerable families in their time of need must be protected. Shortly after Election Day, Congress will return to the Capitol to complete its work for the year.
Tune in to our post-election webinar on Thursday, November 8 at 2:00 PM (Eastern Time) to hear what's at stake and what we need to do to ensure that Congress helps, rather than hurts, people at home and abroad struggling to live in dignity. Register here!
On a related note, we look forward to a new document from the USCCB on the moral dimensions of the economy.  The document is scheduled for release at the USCCB's meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 12-15.

Here is another interesting tidbits from the upcoming USCCB meeting. 
Prior to the General Assembly, on Sunday, November 11, USCCB Communications will host “An Encounter with Social Media: Bishops and Bloggers Dialogue,” at which a study on the social media practices of Catholics by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) will be released.
Finally, check out the redesigned Catholics Confront Global Poverty Web site. CCGP is a collaborative effort by the USCCB and Catholic Relief Services.  The new site is more interactive and offers immediate opportunities for action.  The simpler layout also allows for the most important issues to be highlighted.