What You Can Do for Hungry People during This Election Season

Congress has left the building.

Members have returned to home states to begin campaigning for November elections or to re-connect to voters. What does this mean for Bread for the World activists? Opportunity!

Town Hall meetings, Congress on your Corner, meet-and-greets, and debates will all be taking place during October, and it is our Gospel call to make sure that the most vulnerable and needy are represented. I challenge you to make it your mission to ask a question about hunger and poverty and make this election season about real people—not about elephants and donkeys.

Here are some suggestions:

— Congress has yet to take up tax legislation. I’ve noticed that most of the talk in the media has been about the Bush tax cuts. Little has been said about two important programs: the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), both of which help low-income families meet essential needs, including food and quality child care.

In 2009, the EITC lifted an estimated 6.6 million people out of poverty, including 3.3 million children. (Look here for your own state’s numbers). Will you champion low-income workers when you return to Congress and fight for these tax credits to be made permanent in their current funding? (Read more about the EITC and CTC here).

— The House of Representatives recently adjourned without taking up the very important Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill. The need for strong and accessible child nutrition programs has never been greater. Nearly 15.5 million children are living in poverty—an increase of more than 2.1 million children since the beginning of the recession.

Yet the Senate-passed version of the bill draws from SNAP (food stamp) funds to pay for school lunches. It doesn’t make sense to pay for lunch with funds that pay for dinner. We can and should do better. Ask your member of Congress: Will you champion the needs of America’s children and pass the House version of the Child Nutrition Bill—and make sure funding comes from somewhere other than the SNAP budget? (Read more about the child nutrition bill here).

To find out where your member of Congress will be appearing, do an Internet search for his or her campaign page. You can often find their calendars on their websites, or you can also call their campaign offices to find out their schedules. Another tip is to call your Bread organizer for help.

After you get your answer, tweet it, blog it, or put it on a status update and let us know @bread4theworld or on Facebook at Bread for the World.

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