Monday, July 17, 2017

Dear Congress: Please Support Food for Kids (and Everyone Else)

Several weeks before parishioners at St. John XXIII Catholic Community sat down to write more than 110 letters to Congress to protect vital anti-hunger programs, the children in Vacation Bible School held their own "Offering of Letters." The young people wrote a simple message on paper plates: "Support Food for Kids."

The 61 messages from the children will be added to the letters that our parish is sending to Congress asking that funding be protected for important programs, including nutrition for women and children, food assistance for low-income families, tax-credits for workers and international assistance for poor countries around the world. The asks are part of Bread for the World's 2017 Offering of Letters: Doing Our Part to End Hunger.

By protecting funding for the programs we seek to stay on track to do our part and work with the global community towards the goal of ending hunger 2030. This Zero Hunger goal is part of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

Our letters on July 15 and 16 were written mostly to Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, although a handful of messages also went to Rep. Steve Pearce and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan.

Letter writers were encouraged to add their own experiences. Among those writing letters were a doctor who works at a low-income clinic who sees a need to boost funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), a staff person from Catholic Relief Services  CRS who works in Ethiopia (and who was on home leave), and our pastor, who is the CRS representative for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. 

The 110 letters were all handwritten or written at home at a computer and brought to the parish on the weekend of the OL. Yes, it's Totally Okay to type your letters or even send your letters by e-mail as long as the message is in your own words and your home address is included.

We will be adding more to the totals, as those who took letters to write at home are starting to send e-mails confirming that they did write the letters  Still, the overwhelming number of our letters were handwritten there on site.

And it didn't hurt that our pulpit announcement mentioned that the letters would be added to the messages from the children when we send them to Congress. All of the paper plate messages and letters that were written on site will be blessed at the 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 Masses on Sunday, July 23.

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