Saturday, July 25, 2015

If One Hand-Written Letter Makes a Difference, How about 150 Letters?

Molly Lannon & Ginny Flanagan write to Congress
It’s mid-morning on a school day, and Sophia is trying to pay attention to her teacher. But all she can think about is food. Her parents both work, but they don’t earn enough to pay for housing, utilities, and transportation–and enough food to feed their family.

In Sophia’s own community and across the country, churches are doing a lot to help. They sponsor food pantries and host community meals. But these and other private charities provide only one out of every 20 bags of groceries that feed people who are hungry. The federal government provides the rest.

That’s why Ginny Flanagan and Molly Lannon and nearly 80 other members of St. John XXIII Catholic Community in Albuquerque took part in Bread for the World’s 2015 Offering of Letters on July 18 and 19. They urged Congress to renew our federal government’s major child nutrition programs, including those for school meals, summer feeding, and the WIC nutrition program for pregnant and new mothers along with their small children.  Parishioners wrote more than 150 letters, mostly to Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Sen. Martin Heinrich and Sen. Tom Udall.  A few letters also went to Rep. Steve Pearce and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan.

Every five years, Congress must re-authorize the law that funds these programs, which have helped so many children over the years. Thanks to the leadership of Bread for the World and its church partners, the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act expanded and improved these programs. Even with those changes in 2010, only a little more than half of children receiving school lunches benefit from breakfasts. Summer meals are available for less than 10 percent of those children who count on lunches during the school year. Overall, one in five children lives at risk of hunger.  According to one study, 30% of children in New Mexico lack reliable access to healthy and nutritious food.
(Text adapted from Bread for the World's 2015 Offering of Letters bulletin insert)

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