Monday, February 05, 2018

Workshop to Examine Importance of SNAP, WIC to New Mexicans

The 2018 Offering of Letters, entitled For Such a Time as This, urges people of faith and conscience to raise our collective voices to urge Congress to invest in and protect key programs that help improve the lives of men, women, and children facing hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. 
Our annual Offering of Letters workshop in Albuquerque will focus on the importance of a couple of programs that are crucial to low-income residents of New Mexico: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Please join us on Saturday, March 17, 9:30 a.m. until 12:00 Noon at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1100 Indian School Rd. NE (map)

A handful of special guests have graciously agreed to put together brief presentations to help us understand why it is important to keep these crucial programs funded.

Sovereign Hager: Supervising attorney at the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. Her work focuses on improving access to food and cash assistance, Medicaid and childcare assitance for New Mexico families. Two other attorneys work on her benefits team at the NMCLP.   (Photo: New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty)

Sarah Lucero. Program specialist at the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association.  Her focus is on the development, promotion and support for the Double Up Food Bucks program in our state.  The program allows recipients of SNAP benefits to obtain more fruits and vegetables when you spend your SNAP EBT Card dollars at participating farmers’ markets, (Photo: New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association)

Jason Riggs: Manages the SNAP Outreach Program at Roadrunner Food Bank. The program works to reduce some of the barriers that prevent hungry people in New Mexico from participating in this important program. By providing SNAP application assistance and education at food distribution locations, more New Mexicans can become informed about their potential eligibility and learn important information about how they can obtain benefits. New Mexico has an 81% participation rate among eligible SNAP households. There are many barriers that prohibit the remaining eligible 19% from successfully participating in the program.  They are often are not informed about the program and have not yet applied to receive them.

 *A fourth presenter might join us to speak about the importance of the nutrition education component of the SNAP program.  Stay tuned for updates

RSVP via Facebook Event

Here is more information about the Offering of Letters

What is the 2018 Offering of Letters About? 
Every day, millions of people in the United States and around the world feed and support their families in part because of lifesaving programs funded by our government. We are making progress toward the end of hunger, but we live in challenging times. Our gains are increasingly vulnerable due to the actions and inactions of governing officials.   Printable Overview

What is Our Specific Ask to Congress? 
 In 2018, we are raising our collective voice to ask Congress to invest in and protect key programs that help improve the lives of men, women, and children facing hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. Sample Letter (Keep checking the Bread for the World website for updates)

A Couple of Questions
When is the best time to write Congress about hunger and poverty issues? Personal letters and emails to Congress are always welcome and effective. Congress develops budget and spending bills throughout the year with final resolution occurring sometime in the fall. (Keep checking the Bread for the World website for updates)

What is the budget process and timeline? 
The budget process begins when the president’s budget proposal is submitted to Congress in February. House and Senate Budget Committees begin work on a budget resolution in March, which sets yearly spending levels and longer-term priorities. House and Senate Appropriations Committees begin work on annual spending bills in the spring with an expectation of approving 12 spending bills by early fall. If Congress cannot pass necessary spending bills by Sept. 30 (the end of the fiscal year), a continuing resolution needs to be approved to keep the government temporarily funded until a full agreement can be reached.  See Full Questions and Answers document

We Pray 
Time and time again, you have called your people to care for those who are hungry and living in the margins. You have given us a world of abundance and we confess that we have not been good stewards and shared justly. We give thanks for the freedom and power you give us to resist this injustice. By writing these letters to Congress today, we use that power in a small way so that we might answer your call to feed those who are struggling with hunger. 
See Prayers and Litany for Offering of Letters   and Biblical Reflection

Here is the link to the full resources for the 2018 Offering of Letters

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