Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Skit on Child Nutrition Produces 60 Letters at All Saints Lutheran Church in Albuquerque

Image from OpenClipArt
(There are all sorts of creative ways to promote an Offering of Letters to members of  a congregation. The planning team at All Saints Lutheran Church in Albuquerque has been using skits to encourage people in the pews to stay of the the service to write to Congress. The team prepared skits in 2012 for the campaign on the Earned Income Tax Credit and in 2014 around food aid reform.

For 2015, Lucretia Tippit, Diana Lewis and their team created the skit below to encourage members to write letters to our members of the House and Senate urging them to protect and strengthen child nutrition programs. Rev. Pat Green, offered the sermon period on Sunday, April 19, for the Offering of Letters team to present the skit. The effort yielded 60 letters to Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Steve Pearce and Ben Ray Lujan.  In addition, eight children wrote letters on paper plates). 

Bulletin insert for 2015 Offering of Letters
Script for 2015 Offering of Letters Skit

Cast: Senator Freeman, Sally the Senator’s Aide , Woman reading letter

Aide: Senator Freeman, tomorrow is the vote on the child nutrition programs reauthorization. You know, the school lunch program, WIC, summer feeding programs. How have you decided to vote?

Senator: (Hand on forehead) Sally, I am confused. I thought we voted on the food stamps last fall. Anyway, I understand that with the economy improving like it is, hunger isn’t such an issue now.

Aide: Senator, there are still 16 million children in the U.S. who are hungry. That’s one in five families who struggle to put food on the table. These food programs have to be reauthorized. Our own state is one of the poorest in the country. You’re up for reelection next year remember.

Senator: How can I forget? But these programs are very costly. We can’t ignore budget implications.

Aide: Senator, I’ve been reading through all these letters urging you to vote for reauthorization. But one letter got to me. Would you take the time to read it? It’s from a woman who has experienced hunger firsthand. (Hands senator the letter)

(Senator holds the letter while the woman speaks.)

Dear Senator Freeman,

I am a working mother with 2 children. Aiden is 7 and Leylanie is 9.During the recession I lost my job and was forced to use food stamps. It was a godsend. The food I bought through the SNAP program provided enough to carry us through3 weeks of the month. After that I struggled to find food for us until the end of the month. Sometimes I had to go without anything to eat so my kids wouldn’t go to bed hungry. Thank goodness my children received lunch at school under the School Lunch Program. During the summers things were really difficult until our city began to provide lunches at the playgrounds.

My children still qualify for both breakfast and lunch because the job I have does not pay enough to put us over the poverty line. I don’t like asking for help, but I don’t want my kids to be hungry either. People always think that we’re asking for a handout because we’re on welfare or public assistance. But what we’re really asking for is the opportunity to show them that we’re just like you. We’re smart, we have wants, we have needs, we have dreams. We want the best for our kids. We just grew up in different circumstances. I’m going to night school now and working toward an associate degree. Meantime, our family still needs to rely on the federal child nutrition programs. I hope you will vote to reauthorize them so that my family and others like ours can stop worrying about where our next meal is coming from and stop hearing our children say, “Mommy, I’m hungry.” That’s enough to break any mother’s heart.

Barbie Izquierdo

(Senator puts letter down and looks at Aide.)

Senator: That’s quite a letter, isn’t it?

Aide: It sure is. Does it help you to decide how to vote tomorrow?

Senator: Definitely. We need to reauthorize WIC and increase funding for the school lunch program, but not at the expense of food stamps. Nearly half of all SNAP recipients are children, and so Congress must no longer look to SNAP or any other safety-net programs to pay for investments in our children. No mother should have to see her children go without food when she is working as hard as this woman is to make their life better. Thanks, Sally, for showing me this letter.

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