Sunday, December 28, 2008

America's 6th Child- by Marian Wright Edelman

I had the honor of hearing Marian Wright Edelman deliver this essay as part of her keynote speech on Dec 9th to the Governor's Poverty Summit in IL (yep...as in Blagojevich...he didn't show as he was taken into federal custody that morning. Go figure.) She was dynamic, inspirational, well-informed, stern, passionate and simply amazing. I took furious notes for the first 1/3 of the talk, but eventually had to put down my pen as my poor long-hand note taking abilities were no match for the quick pace of her oratory. I wondered how I would distill this info to you in this medium to give the basic idea of her talk, but lo and behold it appeared on the Huffington Post and in the San Francisco Bay View So here it is, edited much better by Ms Edelman herself than by me...America's 6th Child:
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On the day he died, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called his mother to give her his next Sunday's sermon title: "Why America May Go to Hell." In his 1968 call for a Poor People's Campaign, he warned that "America is going to hell if we don't use her vast resources to end poverty and make it possible for all of God's children to have the basic necessities of life."

As Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of the most famous poor baby in history, imagine God seeing our very wealthy family blessed with six children. Five of them have enough to eat and comfortable warm rooms in which to sleep. One does not. She is often hungry and cold. On some nights, she has to sleep on the streets or in a shelter and even be taken away from her neglectful family and placed in foster care or a group home with strangers.

Imagine this rich family giving five of its children nourishing meals three times a day, snacks to fuel boundless energy, but sending the sixth child from the table to school hungry, with only one or two meals and never the dessert the other children enjoy.

Imagine this very wealthy family making sure five of its children get all of their shots, regular health checkups before they get sick, and immediate access to health care when illness strikes but ignoring the sixth child, who is plagued by chronic respiratory infections and painful toothaches, which sometimes abscess and kill for lack of a doctor or a dentist.

Imagine this family sending five of their children to good stimulating preschools and making sure they have music and swimming lessons after school but sending the sixth child to unsafe daycare with untrained caregivers responsible for too many children or leaving her occasionally with an accommodating relative or neighbor or older sibling or alone.

Imagine five of the children living with books in family that is able to read to most of its children every night, but leaving the other child unread to, untalked and unsung to, unhugged, or propped before a television screen or video game that feeds him violence and sex and racially-and gender-charged messages, intellectual pabulum, interrupted only by ceaseless ads for material things beyond the child's grasp.

Imagine this family sending some of their children to high-quality schools in safe neighborhoods with enough books and computers and laboratories and science equipment and well-prepared teachers but sending the sixth child to a crumbling school building with peeling ceilings and leaks and lead in the paint and asbestos and old, old books--and not enough of them--and teachers untrained in the subjects they teach and with low expectations that all children can learn, especially the sixth child.

Imagine most of the family's children being excited about learning, and looking forward to finishing high school, going to college, and getting a job, but the sixth child falling further and further behind grade level, not being able to read, wanting to drop out of school, and being suspended and expelled at younger and younger ages, because no one has taught him to read and compute. And no one has diagnosed his attention deficit disorder or treated his health and mental health problems or helped him keep up with his peers.

Imagine five of the children engaged in sports and music and arts, in after-school activities and summer camps, and in enrichment programs, but the sixth child hanging out with dubious peers or going home alone because Mom and Dad are working, in prison, or have run away from their parenting responsibilities and escaped by using drugs and alcohol, leaving him alone or on the streets during idle nonschool hours and weeks and months, at risk of being sucked into illegal activities and the prison pipeline or killed in our gun-saturated nation.

This is our American family today, where one in six 13 million of our children lives in poverty in the richest nation on earth, more than 40 percent in extreme poverty. It is not a stable, healthy, economically sensible, or just family. Our failure to invest in all our children before they get sick, or drop out of school, get pregnant, or get into trouble is extremely costly. Every year that we let 13 million children live in poverty costs $500 billion in lost productivity, crime, and health costs.

As our political leaders ponder our nation's choices over the next 60 days, let them remember the millions of children living in poverty and extreme poverty and without health coverage and put their needs first and not last. Our economic futures depend on it and so does our nation's soul. Marian Wright Edelman, whose latest book is The Sea Is So Wide And My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation, is president of the Children's Defense Fund.

For more information about the Children's Defense Fund, go to http://www.childrensdefense.org/.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Love towards the orphaned at Christmastime

A seasonal word about the Christian response to orphans from Lawrence Temfwe of the Micah Challenge in Zambia...
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It is difficult to imagine Joseph’s feeling when the angel of the Lord told him to go ahead and marry Mary even though she was expecting a child that was not his biological. He may not have wanted to do it, but he obeyed. God often requires extra ordinary obedience from His servants who are facing extra ordinary times. Joseph was a man with strong beliefs. He obeyed God and accepted the fact that the pain involved in obedience may benefit others and not him personally.

Think of the pain Joseph had to endure as a result of his obedience. First he had to marry Mary, honour her virginity and provide nursing care for her until the baby was born. Just in case you don’t get it, the baby Mary was carrying was not his. Second, Joseph had to relocate from his home and his people to go and live as a refugee in Egypt in order to protect the life of a child that was not his. Third, Joseph had to live his role as Jesus’ earthly father, training him in the trade of carpentry and making sure he had good spiritual foundation (Luke 2.52).

Joseph knew Jesus was someone special from the moment he heard the angel’s words. His strong belief in that fact, and his willingness to follow God’s leading empowered him to be Jesus’ chosen earthly father. Joseph knew that children “are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him” (Psalm 127.3).

Zambia today has 1,000,000 orphans. These are children without an earthly father or mother. Can you imagine? Almost 10% of Zambia’s populations are orphans. Some live in our homes and sometimes we treat them like second class citizens. Others live in the streets and are ill-treated and abused. Christians in Zambia are facing extra ordinary times that require extra ordinary obedience. How have we as church responded to this challenge? How have we as Christian individuals responded? Have we obeyed Him like Joseph did? Have we trusted God that He knows everything and has special purpose for these children? Jesus, said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sends me.” This Christmas if you act with compassion, justice and love towards any of these children you will be welcoming Jesus and you will be giving a special present to Him. After all, it’s His birthday isn’t it?

Lawrence Temfwe
Wishing you Joy and Peace this Christmas and the year to come (Isaiah 9:6)
From Jubilee Centre Staff and Board

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How To Pick a Charity

Some of you may remember we had a recent book discussion in the Let's Talk Bread series run by Bread for the World members in Oak Park, IL. The last one was centered on Paul Colliers' book, "The Bottom Billion." One of the aspects of the discussion seemed rather timely as many of us prepare for making decisions about end of year giving. The question came up, "How do you pick a charity for your donations?"

I'll admit to not having read "The Bottom Billion" (I just acquired it yesterday), but we talked about the idea that to solve the thorny problems of extreme global poverty, risks must be taken. The same old solutions are not working, so some organizations are going to have to go out on a limb and probably make some mistakes. Other solutions that are working need to be scaled up in order to build capacity and reach the bottom billion people. In either case, risk-taking or capacity-building, that doesn't bode well for the criteria many of us use for deciding where we give our donation dollars. Program expenses and administrative expenses are data points we look at when we use tools like Charity Navigator to help us know how a prospective charity might use our hard-earned cash. But if a good org is scaling up, might it look like it has abnormally heavy administrative costs for a while? If a ground-breaking org is taking risks, would those numbers look pretty iffy when it makes mistakes?

What do you think? How do you pick a charity? Will you use different criteria this year? Feel free to shamelessly plug your favorite charities here!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Empty Bowls Event

Join us for the Empty Bowls event on Saturday, December 6, 2008 from 10:30am to 2:00pm at Oakton Community College, 1600 E. Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016.

This event is sponsored by the Ceramics Club at Oakton. Empty Bowls is a non-profit, global movement that has raised millions of dollars for food banks, soup kitchens, and other meal programs. Their philosophy, quite simply, is that no one should have an empty bowl.

Here's how it works. Stop by on Dec. 6th between 10:30am and 2:00pm. For a $12 donation, you can choose your favorite bowl from among hundreds of beautiful bowls, lovingly made by local ceramics artists, and share in a meal of soup and bread.

The bowl you have chosen is yours to keep as a reminder of the need for food throughout our area.

Last year, the Niles Township Food Pantry received $4,700 from the Empty Bowls event. This year, additional food pantries will be receiving funds, reducing the funds we will receive unless there is a significant increase in attendees and donations.

Please support our raffle of unique ceramic artwork. Tickets are $3 each or four for $10. Come to the Empty Bowls event to bid on additional silent auction prizes. Entertainment will be provided by Patchouli (www.patchouli.net), an acoustic duo whose songs about healing and compassion inspire the human spirit.

Please make time for this wonderful event for this wonderful cause!

Monday, December 1, 2008

2008 World AIDS Day

The 1st of December, World AIDS Day, is the day when individuals and organisations from around the world come together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Here's an excerpt from a press release about the history of the day off of the website for World AIDS Campaign. Click on the link for the full article.

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World AIDS Day marks 20th anniversary of solidarity
Sara Speicher 19/11/2008 1:09 pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 19 NOVEMBER 2008 For Eric Sawyer, the late 1980s was a “war time situation”. “People with AIDS were fighting for their lives and for their friends”, says Sawyer, an AIDS activist and co-founder of ACT UP New York.
By 1988, seven years after the first case of AIDS was reported, AIDS was causing more deaths in the US then there were in the Vietnam War, and between 5 and 10 million people were estimated to be infected with HIV around the world. Yet governments, media and society in general were not giving AIDS adequate attention. So, “people with AIDS had to literally take to the streets and block traffic and take over government buildings”, Sawyer recalls.
]Sawyer had been on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic since developing his first HIV-related symptoms in 1981, before AIDS was officially identified. For him and for thousands of other activists around the world, the formation of World AIDS Day in 1988 was one of the few moments in the year where the growing tragedy of AIDS would finally get attention around the globe.
Now at its 20th anniversary, World AIDS Day continues to be the focus of global solidarity for a pandemic that has led to over 25 million deaths with an estimated 33 million people currently living with HIV worldwide.

World AIDS Day was reportedly the brainchild of the late Jonathan Mann, at the time the director of the Global Programme on AIDS (GPA) at the World Health Organization. After positive reactions to the idea of World AIDS Day by over 100 health ministers at the January 1988 London gathering focused on AIDS and at the 1988 International AIDS Conference in Stockholm, the World Health Organization declared 1 December 1988 as the first World AIDS Day, which was recognised and supported by the UN General Assembly in October 1988. “We wanted to provide a platform so that people who were working on the issue at any level could get involved”, says Tom Netter, who worked with Mann as the head of the GPA’s public information office. Fostering a sense of solidarity was paramount, says Netter, “so that people could do things at the grassroots level and feel part of the global response at that time.” Netter recalls that in 1988, despite the short planning time, an event was held in every member state. “That was eye opening”, he said, “It showed that people wanted to have something that they could grab on to, to feel part of the overall response.” In the World Health Organization itself, panels from the AIDS quilt were displayed. “People found that very moving . . . it showed the individuals affected.” Within three years, the activities around the day “became something that was going to happen spontaneously…People on the ground took off with it”, says Netter.

Unique momentum

The energy behind World AIDS Day, and the activism that has characterised the response to AIDS among civil society, is unique.
Prior to AIDS, Netter states, “there wasn’t really so much of an advocacy movement regarding diseases or people who were ill. AIDS really was the first that mobilised people.” It was the people most affected who brought the urgency, passion and accountability to the movement. Sawyer recalls, “Early on the most significant leadership was actually done by people with AIDS themselves”. Whilst early activists targeted authorities’ slow response to AIDS, that didn’t mean that scientists and activists were on opposite sides, says Professor Lars Kallings, the first president of the International AIDS Society, also founded in 1988. “If you think from the beginning, before there was any treatment, the doctors felt very helpless. They suffered by not being able to help their patients. Therefore, even scientists have been on the front lines, on the barricades, very often against the authorities, the government.” World AIDS Day has been a symbolic focus for this activism. It “gave people a sense that they were part of a larger movement than what they were involved in individually and locally”, Netter states.
But this doesn’t mean that one day is enough. “For me”, says Frika Chia Iskandar, a young woman from Indonesia working with the Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (APN+), “it doesn’t seem like ‘World’ enough, it is not public enough”. For activists now, she reflects, the day itself doesn’t make a difference when “our days are filled with AIDS”. Yet, she emphasises, “For the public, though, it is at least one day where we think about AIDS, and it is still needed.”
Greg Gray, an APN+ advisor who also carries a supporting role for the NGO delegation to the UNAIDS governing board agrees, “World AIDS Day has real value for raising awareness with the broader public. But when you are working with the grassroots community affected by HIV it doesn’t connect as much. When you do it day in and day out, it becomes the norm. World AIDS Day is trying to get a bit of that message home to a much broader community.”

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Disappearing Wages

Posted by Carlos Navarro on November 15, 2008 on Bread Blog
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In the midst of our U.S. (and global) economic crisis, much of the recent discussion in the media has focused on job losses and saving jobs and not as much on whether those who are employed are getting a fair wage. And in those instances where wages are mentioned, the discussion turns to asking workers to accept a pay cut in order to save jobs or save a company. While saving and creating jobs should certainly remain a priority for our country's leaders, the issue of just wages and a fair minimum wage should not be ignored.

And there are many good people who are not letting us forget about this issue of fair wages, including Kim Bobo, director of the Interfaith Worker Justice network. Kim, who served as Bread for the World's director of organizing from 1976 to 1986, recently published her new book Wage Theft In America: Why Millions in America Are Not Getting Paid - And What We Can Do About It.

Here's is paragraph from the promo of the book:

In what has been described as "the crime wave that no one talks about," wages are stolen from millions of workers in the United States every year. Between two and three million workers are paid less than the minimum wage. More than three million are misclassified by their employees as independent contractors when they are really employees, allowing employers to shirk their share of payroll taxes and to illegally deny workers overtime pay. Even the Economic Policy Foundation, a business-funded think tank, estimated that companies annually steal 19 billion dollars in unpaid overtime.
Read the rest of the description of the book

If you want to learn more about this book, Kim has scheduled a book tour in the following cities:

Nov. 19-20 New York, NY
Nov. 21-23 Columbus, GA (SOA Vigil)
Nov. 25 Washington, DC
Dec. 1-3 New York, NY / Montclair, NJ
Jan. 21, 2009 Twin Cities, MN
Jan 28-29 Boston, MA
Jan 30-31 Phoenix, AZ
Feb 6 New York, NY

Click here for exact locations

Order a copy

Kim also authored another great book Lives Matter: A Handbook on Christian Organizing, which is based partly on her experiences at Bread for the World

And if you want to know about the great things she has accomplished since her days at Bread for the World, here is her bio on Wikipedia.

(And she is on Facebook, in case you want to befriend her).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sex for Garbage

Sometimes a shocking story (shocking to those living lives of comfort) sweeps around the anti-poverty circles, that succintly highlights the urgent need for aid and advocacy. The last one I featured here was the story about nursing mothers eating mud cakes just to fill their stomachs. Horrible. This next one comes from Bread for the World who has staff traveling abroad in Central America. Here is an excerpt from Brian Duss' experience in Nicaragua...

"Have you ever heard of people trading sex for garbage? In the La Chureca landfill just outside of Managua, children scavenge 100 acres of garbage for anything that can be sold for pennies. Sometimes girls have sex with the truck drivers who dump refuse at the landfill in exchange for bottles or aluminum cans -- instead of the 20 cents they might otherwise get. What can you even do with information like that? Seriously. Well, a good first step would be to write your senators and representative in Congress and let them know that you want them to make foreign assistance a priority. "

Read the entire entry here

Their trip is still going on, so you can check into the Bread blog at www.breadblog.org to see what other countries they visit and what they are up to.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ONE: "Get to Work!"

From the ONE campaign...
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ONE members got President-elect Obama "On the Record" with historic commitments to fight global poverty and disease. Now, it's time to get to work turning those commitments into hope and dignity for millions struggling to survive around the globe.

Champions in Congress are writing to President-elect Obama to urge him to request a robust Fiscal Year 2010 International Affairs Budget. This bipartisan letter will be a critical first step in fully-funding the proven, effective and affordable solutions needed to save and improve the lives of those suffering from poverty and preventable diseases worldwide. We need you to call your Members of Congress now and urge them to add their names to this important letter:

Then, please report your call by clicking here

Obama's commitments may be impossible to keep unless his FY10 budget priorities put us on the right track now, because each year's goals get progressively harder to meet for every year we fall short. That's why we're teaming with the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign in asking Members of Congress to support President-elect Obama’s vision for fighting global poverty and set the stage for fulfilling all his promises to the world's poorest people. Please show them your support by calling now.

The next Administration and Congress face tough choices as fiscal constraints and mounting deficits impact always difficult budget decisions. The letter from Congress calling for a robust FY10 International Affairs Budget will send a strong message to the new Administration that doubling foreign assistance is in the best interests of the United States and the world, even in these difficult economic times.

Thank you for your voice,

Josh Peck, ONE.org

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ctrl.Alt.Shift

Here's an anti-poverty resource with a different flair than most that I stumble upon. Ctrl.Alt.Shift is more than a web site or a magazine. It's a new movement, designed and executed by young people for young people. It is a platform for 18-25 year olds to voice their beliefs and opinions. It allows them to demonstrate their talents, needs and ambitions in whatever medium suits them. Ctrl.Alt.Shift consists of a web community, events and stunts, and a quarterly magazine that aims to speak to young people and stimulate them to take action against global issues of poverty and injustice.

Get involved; join the fight, the protests and campaigns at www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk

As shows in their url, they seem to be based in the UK, so that also gives it a bit of a different feel from a lot of the US based orgs I know about. Here's a little release from them about what they are currently up to...
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VICE magazine and CTRL.ALT.SHIFT launch international all-star photographic project

VICE Magazine has collaborated with youth initiative Ctrl.Alt.Shift, to launch a unique photographic project that explores the global issues of Gender, Power and Poverty. The creative collaboration takes the form of an international competition, educating young people around the world on this major global development issue and inviting them to create photography
inspired by this theme. Participants will also get the chance to be mentored by a group of all-stars including UK TV presenter Alexa Chung, Vogue and GQ contributor Ben Rayner, Arena and i-D contributor Valerie Philips and Vice’s Andy Capper and Alex Sturrock. Competition winners will have their work featured in VICE and Ctrl.Alt.Shift magazines, displayed on CtrlAltShift.co.uk and exhibited in a major London gallery in 2009– alongside work from campaign ambassador, legendary New York photo artist Nan Goldin. The overall winner will receive £1000 plus a brand new digital SLR.

Paint Your Picture
Engage people, push the boundaries and provoke thought and action through your cutting edge photos surrounding the issues of gender, power and poverty. Final entries are on November 19 so GET SNAPPING!!

For more information on the competition, submit your entry, and to join the fight against issues of global development visit www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk/vice.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Holidays are a time to act locally

A reminder from the Greater Chicago Food Depository about the upcoming holiday season:

During the holiday season, the Food Depository is the beneficiary of more than 500 food drives, and we couldn't thank you enough for your support. But with demand at pantries steadily increasing—already up 30 percent compared to this time last year—and an economy in turmoil, never has your commitment to providing food for hungry people been more crucial than now.

Get involved by being a part of
One City, One Food Drive.

Stay on the lookout for these community food drives this holiday season:
» Dominick's & ABC 7's Holiday Food Drive (now through Jan. 3)
» Chicago Bulls food drive (plus reduced ticket prices)
» Boy Scouts food drive
» Turkey Trot

Check the event calendar often to see where the next community food drive is taking place.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Let's Talk Bread- Chicago Dec 2

NOTICE FOR 2ND MEETING

Let’s Talk Bread

Extreme poverty. Microfinance. Foreign aid. Charity vs. self-help. Public vs. private.

These are just some of the subjects likely to be pursued at the next meeting of the Let’s Talk Bread discussion group on Dec. 2 in Oak Park. “The Bottom Billion,” a book by Paul Collier (under $10 on Amazon.com or free at your library) and a series of articles in the Christian Science Monitor by Mark Lange (www.csmonitor.com/2008/0310/p09s01-coop.html?page=1) will be the catalyst for this session’s conversation.

Join the conversation at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at United Lutheran Church in Oak Park, 409 Greenfield Street (Greenfield and North Ridgeland, two blocks south of the Ridgeland-North Avenue intersection).

Let’s Talk Bread is a Chicago-area group that, guided by Christian convictions, hopes regular conversations—whether centered on a topical book, article or current event—can help illuminate the problems of poverty and hunger and shed light on just which possible solutions hold promise and which do not.

For more information contact John Stumme (johnrichst@comcast.net or 773-777-3907) or Rich Liefer (rl.liefer@sbcglobal.net).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

America Serves

Hey all you idealistic, Hopefans out there. Where are you going to put all that Obama-fied energy now that all the canvassing and phonebanking has come to a screeching halt?

President Elect Obama has put forward this statement on his transition website www.change.gov So, go ahead and take a break, but don't let all that good energy atrophy for the next 4 years. Volunteer, advocate, do whatever, but stay engaged!!!!

"America Serves

"When you choose to serve -- whether it's your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood -- you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That's why it's called the American dream."

The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

IL Poverty Summit moved from Peoria to Evanston (12/9&10)

Opportunities for Change: Taking Action to End Extreme Poverty in Illinois
December 9th and 10th in Evanston, IL. Registration opens today, October 27th at 12 PM.

NOTE: The location of the Opportunities for Change Summit has moved from Peoria, IL to Evanston, IL.

This summit, occurring in conjunction with International Human Rights Day, is part of the new Commission on the Elimination of Poverty's work and is a direct result of all of your hard work as part of the From Poverty to Opportunity Campaign.

This event will bring people from across Illinois together to hear from national experts and to begin developing the short-term and long-term plans for ending poverty in Illinois. Speakers include Gov Blogojevich and Marian Wright Edelman.

Registration is limited, so register now!

http://www.illinois.gov/povertysummit/

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How to Help the GCFD Meet Increasing Need

Last night, I attended the Greater Chicago Food Depository's Bag Hunger auction. It was, as it is every year, a very fun event. Seeing old friends, hearing about GCFD programs, and picking up a $140 bottle of wine for a mere $25 in the mystery Wine Grab were some of the highlights for me! But I wanted to share a few items from the remarks that Executive Director Kate Maehr addressed to the crowd. She gave a few statistics that were really quite staggering.

Kate expressed the deep feeling of gratitude she and her staff feel for the donors and at this time, especially when last month the need increased by 38%. The month before that was up 20%. And the month before that was up 30%. She assured us that the money we contributed that night would help GCFD continue to give a strong response to this situation and urged us to spread the word about how people can be involved to make sure no one in Chicago goes hungry.

With that in mind, I want to remind Chicagoans of some things to engage you in the fight against hunger in our community. You can find help doing all of these activities at www.chicagosfoodbank.org

You can:
- Donate now on-line
- make a contribution at the check out when you see GCFD $1 or $5 vouchers at the grocery store cash register
- participate in or organize a food drive
- organize a virtual, on-line food drive
- Volunteer for a special event at GCFD like the June Hunger Walk
- volunteer for a re-pack session to break down bulk donations into usable amounts for hungry families
- Advocate and let elected officials know you support hunger relief programs (click on "Advocate" button)
- Contact the GCFD policy director and volunteer to go to their Lobby Day on Feb 25 to advocate in Springfield in person

Thank you!
ccyl

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bag Hunger Auction Oct 22

Act now to help the Greater Chicago Food Depository!

The 15th Annual Bag Hunger Auction is the premier culinary event of the season, and it's just two days away—Oct. 22.

Don't miss the chance to get your tickets so you can enjoy delicious cuisine prepared by Chicago's top chefs, while bidding on an array of auction items like these:

» Cubs Dream Day: Four field box tickets to a 2009 regular season game and pre-game photos on the field
» Hey, barkeep!: A guest spot as the bartender on WTTW's "Check, Please!"
» Kitchen makeover: Includes Electrolux appliances

Your ticket and auction purchases will help provide food for hungry people throughout Cook County.

Get your tickets here

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Bad Examples" Concert to benefit New Lenox Pantry 10/18

THE BAD EXAMPLES

THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! October 18th, 2008

Ralph Covert's rockin' band for adults will play their final outdoor show of the season:

Mayor Tim Baldermann's
BEER, BRATS & BONES BASH
Commons Park
1 Veterans Parkway
New Lenox, IL

This 21-and-over event starts at 4pm with the Examples performing soon after 7pm. There will be more live music earlier in the day. The park closes at 10pm. Beer, brats, and ribs available for purchase.

Admission is a food donation to the New Lenox Food Pantry. Collection of items will be onsite – no monetary donations will be accepted.

Attendees with the last name from A – M should bring a breakfast or lunch item
Attendees with the last name from N – Z should bring a lunch or dinner item

Suggested Breakfast Items:
Breakfast bars, boxed cereals such as Kellogg's Rice Krispies With Real Strawberries (TM ), Oatmeal

Suggested Lunch/Dinner Items:
Soups such as tomato, chicken noodle and vegetable (the Pantry has an excess of cream of chicken and cream of mushroom); canned tuna; mayonnaise; spaghetti and spaghetti sauce; Instant potato or rice dishes; canned chili, Saltine crackers, canned ravioli, peanut butter, jams and jellies.

For more details visit: http://www.newlenox.net/news.asp?id=167 or call Bonnie in Mayor Baldermann's office at 815-462-6425.

This is also part of the Daniel Pearl Music Days, part of an ongoing initiative for achieving world peace. For more information please visit:

http://www.danielpearlmusicdays.org/index.php

Are you a Ralph's World fan who doesn' t know The Bad Examples? Go to www.waterdogmusic.com to hear some of the music.

World Food Day- Oct 16

Oops! I'm a bit late in posting this, but the site should still be up!

World Food Day, October 16th, is a worldwide event designed to increase awareness, understanding and informed, year-around action to alleviate hunger.

http://www.worldfooddayusa.org

Thursday, October 16, 2008

ONE poverty petition to the candidates

From the ONE campaign...

In the past week, more than 30,000 ONE members have signed our petition to Barack Obama and John McCain asking them to keep their poverty-fighting commitments to the world’s most vulnerable people. Together, we’re proving that, even in tough times, we stand up for our principles. And so far, it’s working. Since our campaign began, the candidates have continued to stand by the promises they made earlier in the campaign.

Now we need to keep the pressure on, and to do that we’re going global and breaking records. This Friday, October 17th, through Sunday the 19th is the “Stand Up and Take Action” weekend against poverty, when we’ll join the Global Call To Action Against Poverty and the U.N. Millennium Campaign to set a new Guinness World Record of 67 million people standing up, literally, against poverty – 1% of everyone on earth.

Click the link to add your name to the petition below. Show John McCain, Barack Obama and the world that Americans are serious about keeping our commitments to meet the Millennium Development Goals and halve extreme poverty and global disease by 2015. When you do, we’ll also add your name to the millions around the globe who are standing up against global poverty this weekend.

Dear Senators Barack Obama and John McCain,

As you work to find a solution to the global financial crisis, please do not waver in your support for the world's poorest people. It is now more important than ever to stand up for effective, efficient solutions that save millions of lives, strengthen the global economy, and win the hearts and minds of people around the world. I’m keeping my commitment to fight global poverty, and I ask you to do the same.

Tonight, John McCain and Barack Obama will take the stage at Hofstra University to debate one last time. At each of the last two debates, they’ve been asked what should be done to solve the current financial crisis. That’s a difficult question, but backing away from poverty-fighting commitments is absolutely not the right answer. Cutting off investments in life-saving solutions to some of the most wrenching global issues of our time would devastate millions of people and do nothing to get us out of the current financial mess.

A faltering economy doesn’t change who we are or what we believe in. And, just as we expect our elected leaders to help our neighbors here at home during these tough times, we also expect them to extend a helping hand to our global neighbors in their struggle against poverty and preventable disease. It’s the American thing to do and it’s one investment we know will pay off in the form of a safer, more prosperous world for all of us.

You can stand up for effective, affordable commitments to end extreme poverty and global disease by clicking the link below to add your name to the petition:

http://www.one.org/keepourcommitments/


Barack Obama and John McCain have already gone On The Record in response to the call from ONE members like you, and made historic commitments to end extreme poverty and global disease. In two weeks, we’ll deliver your petitions and give them one more chance to reaffirm where they stand on our issues. Between now and then, let’s Stand Up, set a world record, and make our voices heard as Americans, and as part of a global movement against global poverty.

Thank you for making a difference,

David Lane, ONE.org

Monday, October 13, 2008

Huffington Post on Poverty ('bout time!)

Finally in all this political discourse comes a poverty article in a popular blog about poverty. Huffington Post is pretty far to the Pro-Obama left, so if anyone sees something similar published from the right, please post it in the comment section and I'll give it an entry.

Huff Post:
Obama's Innovative War on Poverty


Sam Stein correctly points out that poverty never came up in the first 2 presidential debates.

"Indeed, as economic observers fret that the ripple effects of the market meltdown could result in greater numbers of underemployed and unemployed, the focus of the campaign remains firmly on businesses and the middle class. During the first debate, when the financial crisis was first coming into focus, "poverty" went similarly unmentioned.

It is, in many ways, regrettable. Not simply because the number of those living in poverty - 37.3 million in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau - demands more attention. But because those who have studied poverty-eradication programs say that Barack Obama has a plan that could be historic in its reach and innovation."

It goes on to highlight some of Obama's anti-poverty programs. I will not enumerate them here, but I encourage everyone to look at that post as well as both candidates web sites to learn what they can about how the candidates plan to tackle domestic poverty. I'll leave global poverty out of this post just now, but a visit to http://www.onevote08.org/ontherecord/ can get you started on that issue as well.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Live Blogging at Breadblog.org

Breadblog has been running a series of live blogs from the Idaho Hunger Summit. It's got a lot of nice state level stats in it and some great quotes from the blogger and the speakers. Here are a couple...

"Why do I love being around anti-hunger advocates? Because no where else in the world can the announcer say “eliminate the asset test for Food Stamps SNAP” and have the crowd go absolutely bonkers wild."

"I LOVE Nancy’s enthusiasm, and the crowd is getting into it. She has a contagious laugh and a very warm presence. She started out the session talking about what it means to be an advocate. Sometimes simple is better: Advocacy just means speaking up.
So true."

Click here for Idaho Summit blogs

Friday, October 10, 2008

Stand Up and Take Action against hunger and poverty

Soon, millions of people around the world will get on their feet at the same time to STAND UP and TAKE ACTION against global poverty and show their support for the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Last year, the event set a Guinness World Record, with 43.7 million people from 127 countries standing up. The goal this year is to top that number, mobilizing 1% of the world's population, or 65 million people. 65 million pairs of legs standing would be impressive, but a more sobering number is 1.4 billion. That is the number of people worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day.

There still time to register and be counted! http://www.standagainstpoverty.org

From campus rallies, to prayer vigils, to blogging about the issue, to living on $2 a day for just one day, thousands of Americas will STAND UP and TAKE ACTION. In Washington, DC, STAND UP activities include:

· A luncheon discussion on Taking Action on Hunger and Poverty, hosted by UNA-USA's Council of Organizations in commemoration of World Food Day and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 12:00-1:30 PM, Fri. Oct. 17, 2008 at the United Nations Information Center, 1775 K Street NW, 4th Floor (UNIC Conference Room), with speakers Michael Curtin, CEO, DC Central Kitchen and Margot Hoerrner, Vice President for Outreach, Friends of the World Food Program and moderated by Anita Sharma, North American Coordinator, United Nations Millennium Campaign (details attached).

· A STAND UP and TAKE ACTION happy hour from 5:30-7:30pm, Friday, Oct. 17th at CafĂ© Citron, 1343 Connecticut Avenue, NW, and from 5-7pm. Sponsored by the UNA-National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) Young Professionals for International Cooperation (YPIC) chapter (details attached).

We're standing up for the impoverished and the UN-led action plan for cutting poverty in half by 2015. The Millennium Development Goals set eight concrete objectives for enhancing quality of life around the world by preventing diseases, providing education, ending extreme hunger, creating economic opportunities and protecting the environment. The UN Millennium Campaign and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, co-sponsors of Stand Up, have teamed up with an array of voices, from clothing company G-Star RAW, to rapper Will.i.am, to help spread the word about the MDGs and hold world leaders accountable to their promise to end extreme poverty. The Better World Campaign has commissioned an expert paper, written by Woodrow Wilson Center scholar John Sewell, on how the next president can most effectively combat global poverty and support the MDGs.

Some ways (but not limited) to TAKE ACTION include:

· Signing ONE campaign’s pledge to the Presidential candidates to keep their commitments to fight global poverty;

· Joining faith services in worship for the Millennium Development Goals with groups such as ONE, the United Methodist Church, Micah Challenge, among others;

· Living on $2 a day and donating what you would normally spend on global poverty efforts;

· Telling the next U.S. President that you want him to improve American leadership in the world by fully supporting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

Even in the midst of a major financial crisis, the United States must support the world’s efforts over the next seven years to reach these ambitious goals. Be sure to join millions of people around the world on the weekend of October 17-19 as we Stand Up against poverty and in support of the MDGs.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Let's Talk Bread- Chicago Discussion Group

A new Chicago-area group aims to satisfy your appetite for greater understanding of hunger and poverty issues will hold its initial meeting on Oct. 23 in Oak Park. Called Let’s Talk Bread, the book club-like discussion group grows from the premise that while many thoughtful, compassionate citizens feel obliged to try to alleviate hunger and poverty, they don’t necessarily grasp the many complex facets of the problems, let alone any solutions.

Guided by Christian convictions, Let’s Talk Bread hopes regular conversations—whether centered on a topical book, article or current hunger-related event—can help illuminate the problems and shed light on just which possible solutions hold promise and which do not. Ideally, concerned people who have taken pains to inform themselves then can act to ease hunger and poverty at a local, national and even international level. Let’s Talk Bread is being started by two Bread for the World members but is not a formal BFW offshoot; some BFW materials as well as other sources of information will be used. The first meeting will be a time to become acquainted, look together at Luke 10:25-37 and make future plans. The formula or format for these regular conversations—and even their location--will not be rigid, but will evolve in line with the wishes of participants.

The Let’s Talk Bread conversation will begin at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at United Lutheran Church in Oak Park, 409 Greenfield Street (Greenfield and North Ridgeland, two blocks south of the Ridgeland-North Avenue intersection). For more information contact John Stumme (johnrichst@comcast.net or 773-777-3907) or Rich Liefer (rl.liefer@sbcglobal.net).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Candidates Speak Out About Global Poverty

"When I am President, I will strengthen the health care infrastructure crucial to reducing the spread of tuberculosis and increase U.S. funding for the Global Fund — a partnership that's already saved millions of lives from HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB. We'll meet the Millennium Development Goals, which include halving the number of tuberculosis deaths. And we will live up to our commitment to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a successful program that my running mate Joe Biden and I have long supported…As President, I will live up to our commitment to fighting this epidemic, and together, we will make it clear that America is ready to lead again."

— Sen. Obama, October 3 statement on the launch of the XDR-TB photo exhibit by TED Prize winner James Nachtwey

"The lives of citizens of nations around the globe will be less prosperous and fulfilling without help to combat entrenched problems, such as tuberculosis, which afflicts poorer nations severely. It is critical that we face this crisis head-on with a committed global partnership. As President, I will ensure that treatment and prevention programs are funded at levels befitting a wealthy and great nation. I will have a sustained commitment to helping people in need in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere cope with the ravages of this devastating disease."

— Sen. McCain, October 3 statement on the launch of the XDR-TB photo exhibit by TED Prize winner James Natchwey

Friday, October 3, 2008

Poverty Summit in IL, Dec 9&10

Opportunities for Change: Taking Action to End Extreme Poverty in Illinois
December 9-10, 2008
Peoria, Illinois

This summit, occurring in conjunction with International Human Rights Day, is part of the new Commission on the Elimination of Poverty's work and is a direct result of all of your hard work as part of the From Poverty to Opportunity Campaign.

This event will bring people from across Illinois together to hear from national experts and
to begin developing the short-term and long-term plans for ending poverty in Illinois.

More information to come. Registration will begin in mid-October.

From Poverty to Opportunity Campaign: Realizing Human Rights in Illinois
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights
4411 N. Ravenswood, 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60640
773.336.6084
773.506.6649 (fax)
frompovertytoopportunity@heartlandalliance.org

Chil Tax Credit Passes w/ Bailout bill

In case some of you were thinking the additional riders attached to the Wall Street bailout bill were all sweeteners for the Rich and Famous, here is some good news from RESULTS today...
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As you have probably heard, the House of Representatives passed the Wall Street bailout bill this afternoon, 263-171. President Bush has signed the bill into law. The bill does include the $8,500 threshold for the Child Tax Credit that RESULTS has championed these last few months, which will benefit 13 million children and their families in 2008. Also, in a separate bill, the House approved an extension of unemployment benefits (an additional seven weeks of benefits), 368-28, an issue RESULTS has also pushed as part of an economic recovery package in recent months. That bill now goes to the Senate, which is not expected to act on it until after the election.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bono on Wall Street

"I am not qualified to comment on what has happened in the last week where this city has changed shape, certainly psychologically, and in terms of some people's wallets. And I'm not qualified to comment on the interventions that have been put forth. I presume these people know what they're doing. But it is extraordinary to me that you can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can't find $25 billion to save 25,000 children who die every day of preventable, treatable disease and hunger." -Bono at the Clinton Global Initiative

Link to Clinton Global Initiative (Dig that Rocketeer music that introduces Pres Clinton!!!)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bag Hunger event for Greater Chicago Food Depository 10.22.08

Created 15 years ago to bring together Chicago's culinary industry to help fight hunger in our community, the annual Bag Hunger Auction celebrates the city's hospitality and culinary diversity while raising money to feed the more than 500,000 men, women and children in Cook County who turn to the Food Depository for food each year. Chicago’s top chefs prepare savory creations, and live and silent auctions feature an array of travel packages, gift certificates and other enticing prizes.

The 15th Annual Bag Hunger Auction takes place Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008.

When: 6 to 10 p.m.,
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008

Where: Sheraton Chicago
Hotel and Towers,
301 East North Water St.
Chicago, IL 60611

Click Here to buy tickets

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

CALL CONGRESS to support short-term economic recovery package

I hardly know what to think about the current economic crisis. But I offer this advocacy action from RESULTS, an organization that always has the best interests of Americans in poverty in mind...
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Since last January, RESULTS and its allies have been pushing for a short-term economic recovery package that would serve two purposes: to help those most in need in this economic downturn and jump start the economy. On Friday, the House passed its version of the economic recovery package (H.R.7110) 264 to 158. Earlier last Friday, the Senate economic recovery package failed to get the 60 votes needed to proceed. The vote was 52 to 42. The House package includes state fiscal relief, including an increased federal match for state Medicaid programs, a temporary boost in food stamps, Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and extension of unemployment benefits.

We are hearing a lot about another economic recovery package, but this one focuses on Wall Street banks, not the poor. Over the weekend, leaders of both parties in the house and Senate announced agreement on a plan to buy up “toxic” securities from financial firms in an effort to turn the tide of the recent economic upheaval. The original Bush plan was essentially a blank check to Wall Street, with little or no protection for taxpayers (who are footing the bill), an unprecedented expansion of power for the Secretary of the Treasury, preclusion of any congressional or judicial oversight, and no guarantee that it will work. The House rejected a modified plan 205-228 yesterday and it’s not clear what will happen next on Capitol Hill.

RESULTS is working with many national, state, and local groups to say yes to fixing the economic mess by passing an economic recovery package like that passed by the House last Friday, but no to a blank check for Wall Street. Congress is under tremendous pressure to act this week and we must push for inclusion of help for everyday families through passage of an economic recovery package as a part of any deal.

TAKE ACTION — SEND A LETTER TO YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER TODAY: Adapt this sample letter (also available in our online Media Alert) and send it off to the editor of your paper:

Congress must act to avoid an economic catastrophe, one that is real for millions of families already. But it must fix the problem, not perpetuate it through no-strings-attached handouts. An effective solution means getting something back for the billions that taxpayers will have to pay to bail out Wall Street. It means oversight of who gets the billions and how the funds are used, as well as compensation limits on executives who profit from this crisis. It means helping homeowners and renters caught up in the foreclosure crisis. And it means protecting millions of Americans who are losing jobs and cannot afford necessities because of a crisis not of their own making by boosting Food Stamp benefits, Medicaid assistance, heating help and unemployment insurance. Unfortunately, economic recovery legislation that would help low-income families by investing more in Food Stamps and Medicaid is stalled in Congress after passing the House last Friday. We need stern public oversight, no more golden parachutes, and investments to help everyday families rebuild and recover.
Our Activist Toolkit includes tips on how to get your letter to the editor published and be sure to check out RESULTS volunteer Ted Mintun’s letter in Sunday’s Salina Journal. And, when you write your letter to the editor, please send a copy to your senators and representative — call their offices and ask how to email or fax the letter to an aide working on the bailout package.

TAKE ACTION — KEEP CALLING CONGRESS: Please call your U.S. representative and both of your senators toll free (888) 245-0215 and deliver this message (also in our online alert, which we’ll keep updated as events transpire this week): Families here and across the country are struggling and need a REAL economic recovery package. Please support efforts to temporarily boost food stamps, increase Medicaid assistance to states, provide low-income heating assistance, and other policies to stimulate the economy and cushion the financial squeeze on struggling families. And, please push to extend the Child Tax Credit to 3 million low-income children by lowering the income threshold to $8,500 THIS YEAR in any final tax legislation.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Call in to ask a poverty question on Worldview today!

Here's an immediate opportunity for some Chicago media advocacy. The WBEZ program, "Worldview" will be talking about foreign policy tomorrow and they are actively inviting listener questions. This would be a good opportunity to call in and ask a question about global poverty and/or poverty-focused development assistance and what part they play in US foreign policy.

A question might point out that in November 2007 Secretary of Defense Robert Gates declared a need for “a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security" which included foreign assistance and development because this would make it less likely to need military force to solve crisis problems. We could ask the panelists to comment on how we are doing almost a year later on those civilian instruments, particularly poverty-focused development assistance. Or we could ask the panel how they think US lack of commitment to the UN Millennium Development Goals might be affecting our foreign relations.

Even if you can't call in, several poverty questions submitted via email or the hotline can help the chances of one question getting asked!

See details below...

Worldview Wants to Hear from You
Friday, September 26, noon-1 pm
Tune in, and call in, tomorrow as Worldview takes a look at America’s place in the world.

Host Jerome McDonnell and guests will discuss the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will focus on issues including U.S. policy in Latin America and Russia.

Leave us a message on the Worldview Listener Hotline at 312-948-4880 or call in live during the show. Or e-mail us at worldview@chicagopublicradio.org during Friday’s show to participate in the discussion.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day of Fasting and Prayer for MDGs

Today is a day of fasting, prayer and witness for the Millennium Development Goals. The Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation offer this prayer to use today and I think it's a good one...

Most loving God,
as your desire for mercy for the poor is unrelenting,
may we be unrelenting in our pursuit of mercy for all;
as your compassion for the suffering of the poor knows no limit,
may our hearts overflow with compassion for all;
as you long for justice for the poor, may we strive for justice for all.
Open our eyes to the structures of oppression from which we benefit,
and give us courage to accept our responsibility,
wisdom to chart a sound course amid complexity,
and perseverance to continue our work until it is finished.
Breathe your life-giving Spirit afresh into your Church
to free us from apathy and indifference;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tell Jim Lehrer to ask a Global Poverty question!

Only two questions about global poverty have been asked in the history of modern presidential debates.

It's a shocking figure and in 2008, we need debate moderator Jim Lehrer to ask John McCain and Barack Obama "Just ONE question" on their plans to fight global poverty this Friday.

I just took action with the ONE Campaign and you can too, here:

Ask ONE question, please, Jim!

You can point out that poverty focused development assistance is one of the “civilian instruments of national security” promoted by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and thus very relevant to national security and foreign policy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Micah Challenge Zambia pushes for MDG's during election

This came to me from the Micah Challenge in Zambia...some press they got for advocacy regarding the Millennium Development Goals during Zambian election time. I always like to put in an African perspective when I can...
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THE POST, Friday, September 19, 2008 – Home News

A CHRISTIAN non-governmental organization has advised presidential candidates in the October 30 election to make a commitment towards the attainment of millennium development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

And National Royal Foundation of Zambia chairperson Chief Bright Nalubamba (right) has asked presidential aspirants to meet all traditional Leaders to explain their agenda for the rural poor before asking for their votes.

In a statement, Micah Challenge Zambia national facilitator Pastor Lawrence also called on Christians in the country to vote for a person who would promote integrity, righteous and justice.

“We call on all Zambians not to vote tribe, Chibuku, party or age, but character, vision and strategy on how we will attain the millennium Development Goals,” he said.

And commenting on the heads of state meeting on the MDGs to take place in New York on September 25, pastor Temfwe called on leaders from the developing countries to urge G8 nations to fulfill the pledges they made to poor countries.

Pastor Temfwe also expressed dissatisfaction with the US$60 billion pledged by the rich nations towards health.

And chief Nalubamba said traditional leaders need to know what the presidential aspirants stood for so that people know who they were voting for.

“ There is greater need than before for the aspirants to meet the traditional leaders through out the country so that they can explain what they have for the rural poor,” Chief Nalubamba said. We have been marginalized for some time and our people remain poor so we have to know this time around what we are voting for.”

Chief Nalubamba said traditional leaders and the rural poor had the right to know what was there for them from the presidential candidates in the October 30 by-election.

He advised the candidates to reserve some days of their campaign period for a meeting with traditional leaders to discuss issues that affected the rural communities.

“We need to know how each of the candidates intends to work with traditional leaders in the fight against rural poverty,” said Chief Nalubamba. “ There should be no restriction on how should meet traditional leaders to allow the rural people to elect the best candidate. We now have to speak out strongly about traditional leaders’ effective involvement and participation in governance and development as servants of the rural poor.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Food Deserts in Chicago

What is a "food desert"?

A blog entry in yesterday's Huffington Post by Mari Gallagher addresses this urban phenomenon..."A food desert is a geographic area with no, or distant, grocery stores often served by plenty of fast food restaurants." The conversation here is all about access to healthy foods. According to her group's study, a 1/2 million Chicagoans live in a food desert and are more likely to die and suffer prematurely from diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

This post obviously has much to do with poverty, hunger and health yet it also hits on points about public land use and betterment of communities. It also points out that not everyone in a food desert is poor, so it's not just a poverty issue, but as usual it would have a more negative impact on low income families without good health insurance.

Read about Food Deserts here

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chicago Hunger Quiz

Do you know how many more people visited a Greater Chicago Food Depository member pantry this year versus last year? Learn more about Hunger in the Chicago area by taking this quiz from the Greater Chicago Food Depository!

Take the quiz

Sunday, September 7, 2008

American soy beans, staple of Indonesian poor, priced out of reach

This is a story I saw in the Chicago trib from the AP that makes me want to just throw up my hands not knowing even exactly what to ask for or lobby for.

American soy beans, staple of Indonesian poor, priced out of reach

If anyone has opinions for solutions, I'd like to hear them. This story is another case of an impoverished nation with people suffering because of prices of American commodities. Usually, I'm advocating against American subsidies making cheap products that underprice local foods so that poor countries can't even sell their own goods in their own country. In this case, we have gone corn crazy...planting so much corn that we've created a shortage of soy beans...making soy beans too expensive for Indonesians to buy.

A quote from the article:
"A number of years ago, the farmer got blamed because corn and bean prices were too cheap and farmers overseas were going broke," said Henning, 50. "Now, they are saying the prices are too high and people can't afford to buy the food. So, we kind of feel we are in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation."

I feel like I just don't know enough about economics to know how in the world you regulate this stuff so people aren't starving!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Advocacy: Support a White House Conference on Food & Nutrition

An advocacy opportunity from the Greater Chicago Food Depository....
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Call Your U.S. Representatives Today!

Support a White House Conference on Food and Nutrition

Legislation supporting a White House Conference on Food and Nutrition has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives! Call your Congressperson and urge him/her to co-sponsor legislation calling for a White House Conference on Food and Nutrition (HR6127). If your Representative is on the Agriculture or Education and Labor Committee, it is even more important that they hear from you. The following Illinois U.S. Representatives are on the the Agriculture or Education and Labor Committees: Rep. Judy Biggert, Rep. Danny Davis, Rep. Phil Hare, and Rep. Timothy Johnson.

What You Can Say

"My name is ________and I am calling from ________ to urge Representative _______ to support legislation calling for a White House Conference on Food and Nutrition and to sign on as a co-sponsor of HR 6127.”

Background

Nearly 40 years have passed since the United States convened a White House conference to comprehensively address the issues of food, hunger, health and nutrition in America. While we have made great strides, more than 35,000,000 of our neighbors face a constant struggle against hunger, 12,600,000 of whom are children and 5,000,000 of whom are seniors, the disabled and the critically ill. We now have a tremendous opportunity to discuss the power of nutrition at the highest levels in the country and to bring about real change in how we care for those who are too young, too old, too sick or too hurt by life to care for themselves.

To reach your Representative’s office toll-free, call the Capitol switchboard at 1-800-828-0498.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Contact Obama's VP Pick, Joe Biden, with ONE

The following is wording from the ONE campain, but I'd like to add my 2 cents. Joe Biden was one of the heroes of the Lantos-Hyde Act (still looking for the link to the op-ed that talks about that...will post soon). The Lantos-Hyde Act, passed in July, is the biggest global health bill in our nation's history. It tackles the triple threat of AIDS, TB and malaria...three deadly diseases of poverty. The passage of that bill was long and complicated...it came dangerously close to being hung up in the Senate. And it might have, if Joe Biden hadn't provided leadership to shepherd it through. Many people on both sides of the aisle deserve credit for the success of Lantos-Hyde...and Biden was one of the leaders.
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Senator Obama finally announced his vice-president choice, Senator Joe Biden - and I just took action with ONE.org to make this national political moment a meaningful poverty-fighting moment.

Click the link below to send Joe Biden a digital postcard letting him know that you want leadership as committed to ending extreme poverty and global disease as we are.

Click here to send a message to Joe Biden

It's important we contact him now, before he gets swept-up in an inevitable blur of coast-to-coast campaigning and crushing national media attention.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A new Ad from the ONE Campaign

From the ONE campaign, a new ad featuring Matt Damon and the voices of others coming together around an anti-poverty message...
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ABOUT THE VIDEO For more than a year, ONE members have been trailing the presidential candidates asking them to go on the record with their plans to combat global poverty. Now we're taking our message to the airways with this major new TV ad. The ad features Matt Damon with different Americans' voices - among them Michelle Obama, Cindy McCain and Mayor Bloomberg.

Watch for it on TV and across the Internet starting Sunday, August 24th, but add your voice and share the online video with your friends now.

Click here to see the ad

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

ONE campaign "Music Builds Tour" in Chicago 8/23

From the ONE campaign...
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Want to rock out and help fight poverty? The ONE "Music Builds" Tour is coming to Chicago this Saturday, featuring Third Day and Switchfoot, with Jars of Clay and Robert Randolph and the Family Band. These groups have a multitude of number one hits, platinum records and Grammy Awards between them, as well as a strong following amongst both faith and secular audiences.

Visit www.musicbuildstour.com to learn more about the event, get the list of dates and venues, and purchase tickets.

This won't be just a typical rock concert. ONE is going to be a big part of the show, as well. Videos featuring ONE will play between sets and focus on three of our most exciting initiatives: ONE Sabbath, the ONE Campus Challenge and ONE Vote ‘08. We'll also have booths where concert-goers can sign up for ONE. And part of concert proceeds go to our partner organization, Habitat for Humanity, to build homes for those in need.

So don't just come...support the cause by bringing your friends, family and coworkers!

The tour arrives at Charter One Pavilion in Chicago on Saturday, August 23rd. This will be a momentous opportunity for ONE members across the Chicago area to get together, have some fun, hear great music, recruit friends to ONE's fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, and contribute to building homes for Habitat for Humanity.

NOTE: The Chicago performance is at 6PM

Sunday, August 17, 2008

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

I have often been conflicted about my feelings about affordable food in this country and my belief that we should all be eating organic, locally grown food. It's hard for me to make a case for "everyone" buying organic and local food when I know all too well that it's almost impossible for 35 million Americans to get enough food AT ALL. On the other hand...not only is cheap, processed food from industrial farms often harmful to the body and causing poor Americans to suffer health disasters like Type II Diabetes and obesity (particularly awful considering how many of those people are uninsured), but the use of pesticides is harmful to the health of farmers and everyone affected by the waste of these industrial farms. *sigh* How to sum up the feelings of an anti-poverty activist who also wishes to simultaneously be an environmental activist?

Finally, I found a paragraph that perfectly encapsulates my feelings. It was written by the ever eloquent and concise Michael Pollan in his book, "In Defense of Food" on page 184.

"Not everyone can afford to eat high-quality food in America, and that is shameful; however, those of us who can, should. Doing so benefits not only your health (by, among other things, reducing your exposure to pesticides and pharmaceuticals), but also the health of the people who grow the food as well as the people who live downstream and downwind of the farms where it is grown."

That's the part. Those of us who can should. We can protect ourselves, our land, our food producers and... if we buy our vegetables from farmers markets and CSA's (community supported agriculture orgs)... we can also help out the small family farmers who end up on food stamps because our messed up Farm Bill is not very helpful to the growers of healthy, delicious crops! But if you can't, then you should do simply do the best you can be as healthy as you can.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Improving American Aid

I just finished sending an on-line letter to people of prominence in the effort to improve the quality of foreign aid. Here's a message on behalf of me and the ONE campaign....
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I think it's important that we not only give more foreign assistance, but that what we do give is spent in the most effective way possible. To that end, I just sent a letter to the Director of US Foreign Assistance, the President of the World Bank, and a couple of other important development figures asking them to publish information about what aid projects they are funding.

I hope that you'll join me in taking action by sending a letter: http://www.one.org/international/accra/?rc=accrataf

We've seen aid achieve some amazing things in recent years - like over 29 million more children in school for the first time, and over 2 million more Africans with access to AIDS medications. But some aid money could be spent more effectively, and this is our best chance to make it happen.

Thank you
ccyl

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chicago area food pantries on CBS2

Yesterday, CBS2 ran a story about the rising need at Chicago area pantries. Kate Maehr, exec director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, gave a statement. AAANNNDDD...the Niles Township Food Pantry was highlighted. Our own Cynthia Carranza, the director, gave them a tour and showed them the bare shelves at our local food pantry. The written portion below was strangely edited on the quotes, but it gives you an idea of what is on the video.

Great job, Cynthia and Kate!

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CHICAGO (CBS) ― Making ends meet is becoming a struggle for more and more people everyday. Unemployment is up and it seems new layoffs are announced almost every day.

CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reports that it has more people than ever before turning to food pantries for help, but at the same time, the pantries themselves are having a hard time keeping the shelves stocked.

At a Southwest Side church, hundreds of people lined up for food on Wednesday.

Chicagoan Alfredo Velazco said, "I come here every Wednesday and I'm very grateful."

Carla Munoz said, "It is really good...don't have jobs...it's good."

Elizabeth Arreola, the food pantry's longtime director, said demand is so great that she can barely keep up.

"There are so many...won't have enough...and their children," Arreola said. Almost 4,500 people came to the food pantry for bags of food in July, up from 3,200 people in June. She and others said it's a direct result of the sinking economy.

Kate Maehr, Executive Director of the Chicago Food Depository, said, "For so many people...gas in their tank...or at a pantry."

But food demand hasn't increased only in Chicago; at the Niles Township Food Pantry, demand has risen 25 percent in the last couple of months.

"This is totally bare...full. To the max."

Cynthia Carranza's pantry serves all or part of six northern suburbs. For the first time in years, she'll have to restock before the month is out.

"I have people coming to me with masters degrees...they can't make ends meet," Carranza said.

It's a harsh reminder that no one is immune from these tough times. While demand is up, donations to many pantries are down, making it harder for them to help those in need.

Dominick's In-store Food Drive (through Aug. 31)

Here's a Chicago area food drive for y'all! All during the month of August, Dominick's and Pepsico are joining forces to promote an in-store food drive to benefit both the Food Depository and the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Donations of non-perishable food can be made at all Dominick's stores; donations received this month will be delivered during Hunger Action Month (September) to provide food to our neighbors in need.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

BEAT Hunger: Election Advocacy with Bread for the World

I want to let you know about a new grassroots initiative at Bread for the World to bring hunger and poverty to the forefront of the 2008 elections. It's called the Bread for the World Election Action Team against Hunger, 2008 (or "BEAT Hunger '08" for short). I invite you to be a part of it.

What is BEAT Hunger '08? (to find out more, visit http://ga4.org/campaign/BEAT_Hunger_2008)

Picture this... You're at a town hall meeting with a candidate for Congress. The candidate finishes her stump speech, and now it's time for Q & A. Your heart is racing as you stand up to the microphone in the aisle... You introduce yourself, and ask your question about what she will do about the 35 million people in our country who are hungry or at risk of hunger... The candidate responds - maybe with an answer you like, maybe not. Your friend in the audience captures the whole thing on video and will post it on YouTube in about an hour. The candidate leaves the meeting knowing that this is an issue she must address if elected.

As a part of BEAT Hunger '08, you'll be speaking up to House and Senate candidates about hunger and poverty at town hall meetings and community events - a tactic commonly known as "bird-dogging."

Sign up for BEAT Hunger '08 to receive updates on candidate events near you: http://ga4.org/campaign/BEAT_Hunger_2008

We will track when many candidates for the House and Senate hold public events and notify you once you've signed up for BEAT Hunger '08. Ideally, two or three (or more) BEAT Hunger '08 members will be able to attend a town hall meeting - there's real strength in numbers. We will also help you along the way with tips on how to ask questions effectively, how to organize a group of people beforehand, how to document your experience, and how to follow-up with the campaign.

We invite your creativity too. We'll need guest bloggers, and we welcome short videos of question and answers to post on our Web site. BEAT Hunger '08 participants may also raise issues in the media, meet with candidates for office, and take other actions to let candidates know they have a constituency that cares about hunger. The sky is the limit.

If you would like to take a leadership role in BEAT Hunger '08, please consider becoming a "coordinator." We need grassroots leaders to help us track candidate schedules and to meet with campaigns and their staffs to educate them about hunger and poverty. If you're interested in finding out about becoming a BEAT Hunger '08 coordinator, sign up and check the box letting us know you'd like to learn more.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about this exciting new initiative. Our mission at Bread for the World is to urge our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. With your efforts and God's help, we can move one step closer to realizing this vision.

Sign up for BEAT Hunger '08: http://ga4.org/campaign/BEAT_Hunger_2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Visit to Jan Schakowsky's Office: July 15, 2008

Part III in my reports of my first lobbying experience on Captiol Hill! Jan Schakowsky is my representative for the 9th district in IL. I have a great fondness for her for many reasons...here are a couple:
-she lives in Evanston and so did I when I first came to the Chicago area. I still do almost everything in Evanston and feel a great connection there.
-she is a champion of poverty issues
-she is the very first member of Congress I ever met. I met her in a Dominick's about 7 years ago

When I made the appt for me and my colleagues to visit, they told me it would be with her (a face-to-face), but her scheduler gave me so many caveats I had little hope she would actually show. The other 2 RESULTS members asked me as we approached her door, "So who are we seeing?" (since we usually know the name of the aide) and I could only say..."Well, Jan, I hope, but I have no idea" We entered and sat. Enjoyed looking at the map on the wall and showing each other where our houses were. Enjoyed looking at pics of the Congresswoman with various celebs. I can't remember who those celebs were now, because the door opened to reveal the small, but forceful person of Jan Schakowsky herself! I uttered a unremarkable startled phrase like, "Hey! There you are!" and the meeting began. Her aide was present and silent, taking notes through the whole meeting. Jan was dynamic and animated. In retrospect, it was the kind of meeting that was ideal, but I was quite nervous and for a while it turned into a nightmare of mine...I'll explain that...but was ultimately a thrilling experience for me.

I led the meeting as I was actually her constituent (the other 2 live in Chicago). I was glad to have the experience of watching the others present at the prior meetings so that I could learn from that. I graciously thanked her for her past work...and with her that's kind of like..."what HAVEN'T you done for people in poverty?" It was actually a little harder to do prep work for our requests for her because she is generally ahead of the game and has already co-signed most legislation we were asking support from her peers on. Yet there were a few things...namely, the Education for All Act (HR 2092) which, among other things, helps to eliminate school fees so people in extreme poverty can get their kids a basic education. It also requires the Pres to prioritize basic education funding for the most disadvantaged kids (girls in remote areas, child laborers, victims of sex trafficking, orphans, and those negatively impacted by HIV/AIDS). I presented that request first because I was wondering about why she wouldn't be on it already. I phrased the request with all courtesy. Something like "We'd like to ask your support for this...I'm curious as to whether there is a reason that you are not a co-sponsor already? Is there something in this Act that you don't agree with?" There was not. It seemed to just have not been on her radar. She listened quite interestedly about it and we had a good back and forth discussion, everyone agreeing with what is in it. She agreed to take a look at it. I felt so great about that exchange that I launched into our next request.

The next request for the House members was to sign onto the Holt letter to the World Bank to urge them to take on innovative new ways to participate in micro-finance for the very poor. This was a hot-off-the-presses request...the letter was not even drafted yet, so this was more heads-up we were giving her. I described the 3 main tenets of the letter, the last of which was the creation of "apex" funds to help money flow into micro-finance lending from Gov'ts without the gov'ts being directly involved. Our sources said that direct gov't involvement tended not to be good for the system, so the apex funds were to protect the microfinance institution from gov't management (presumably they would need protections from corrupt gov'ts, I think). Schakowsky surprised me by saying that she would sign onto the letter, but she didn't agree with the apex funds. I thought she might have misunderstood me so I tried to restate it and she restated her position more strongly...that we need to work with other gov'ts more instead of trying to bypass them. This is the nightmare part. Never in my life did I fantasize about debating members of Congress. I felt out of my depth. I am not a microfinance expert. But, luckily, that was not my function there. RESULTS knows people that are experts. I was there to say, "hey, I am your constituent, and I care about poverty. I think this is a good thing...please look at it or tell me what you don't like about it!" RESULTS gave me some background, but honestly, what she said gave me an education, too. I left her office with more to think about. And, also, let's not forget that she prefaced her remarks with "Of course, I will sign this" which says that she would not reject all the ideas for the sake of that one. So, it was really great to get that "worst" experience over with and realize that it was not bad at all. Indeed, it was really good for me to experience. I am lucky to have a Rep that agrees with me fundamentally about poverty issues so we can sit and have a back and forth discussion on the best way to do it.

Anyway, she gave us a good 15 or 20 minutes which is House time is a huge chunk of time. She announced that she had to go. I handed her some sealed letters from my letter writing friends back home in her district and said "These are from some Jan Fans back home who couldn't be here, but wanted to add their voices to our meeting" She laughed at the use of "Jan Fan" and accepted them. Lastly, I handed her my very first Letter to the Editor from the Morton Grove Champion. It was printed about a year and a half ago and was a thank you to her for taking on a Food Stamp Challenge to raise awareness about how hard it is to live on a food stamp budget. I told her that since then I had become very involved in media advocacy and that talking with her so long ago and getting that letter in the paper had really put me on that path. "Look! You made an activist and you didn't even mean to!" With that, we ended the meeting on a high, positive, personal note and we went on our merry way.

Just a few notes here in the end. One, her language was peppered with Obama plugs. This is a woman who takes her position as one of his national campaign fundraising chairs very seriously! Two, here's an update from today. I followed up with her aide today about our requests and got the following response from her aide's blackberry: "After meeting with you, she did sign on to h.r. 2092. " WOOO-HOOO! I am going to attend a fundraising BBQ in Schakowsky's backyard this weekend. I fully intend to thank her for her support of education for children in poverty around the world!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Visit to Durbin's Office: July 15, 2008

I suppose this is second in a series...a write-up my RESULTS lobby visits to my members of Congress...

After Obama's office we trotted over to Senator Richard Durbin's office to meet with 2 of his aides. His office is much different than Obama's. A little fancier in the furnishings...a flat screen TV showing CSPAN-2 in the lobby which houses two receptionists instead of one. When we walked in, Senator Demint was speaking against the existing Lantos-Hyde global health bill and in support of one of the amendments...I forget which. The three of us gathered around the TV making various grumbling noises. One receptionist politely offered us seats and we all said "NO!.....um, we mean, we're fine...we're good...umm...that's our bill they're talking about...sorry..."

We were admitted in to speak with two foreign policy aides who work together. Very nice and warm people. We gave our thank you's for Durbin: Global Poverty Act support, general support for fighting against TB, and I couldn't resist throwing in a Farm Bill thank you as well since I had written an LTE in the Wash Times about that. We gave him the same requests about Lantos-Hyde and appropriations (see yesterday's post) and asked him to speak to his colleagues in support of the GPA. The conversation with these aides was much more back-and-forth than with Obama's aide. They asked about what requests we would make of the representatives we'd be seeing later, so we told them about a micro-finance letter to the World Bank that would be circulating for the reps to sign. We'd be asking for them to sign onto that and to co-sponsor a Congressional Medal for Mohammed Yunus for his micro-finance work. This was my favorite part of the meeting. One of the aides asked for our help on that Medal ask since it was his job to contact all the IL reps office's on behalf of Durbin to convince them to sign on. It felt really good to be able to do that aide a favor...like a real working relationship. Perhaps a small thing, but I like to think we are working with them in partnership!

Anyway, we hustled out of there right after the meeting ended and got up to the top of the Senate as quickly as we could. I feel so lucky that we got there in time to see Durbin giving his closing remarks on a speech in support of Lantos-Hyde and specifically in support of fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa. It was a mere hours before the vote. He was speaking to a largely empty room on the floor unfortunately, but anyone watching CSPAN-2 was getting it! We couldn't say anything of course, but had he looked up into the gallery, he would have seen our silent applause and fist pumping at the end. I feel so lucky to have Durbin as my senator!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Visit to Obama's office: July 15, 2008

On July 15, I had the honor and privilege of visiting the offices of 6 members of Congress with my IL colleagues from the RESULTS advocacy group. RESULTS is a citizen's group that advocates against hunger and the worst aspects of poverty. The first office we visited was of our very own jr senator, the Honorable Barack Obama.

I'll break the suspense right here. We didn't meet him. Nor did we expect to. I rather hoped he'd fly in and out as the Lantos-Hyde global health bill was to be voted on that day, but he may have been privy to knowledge that I didn't have (duh!) and known that it was to likely to pass by a large majority. So, he wasn't around, but we had an appt with ne of his foreign policy aides as our focus was on global poverty.

I'd never been to a senator's office before. Much smaller and less glamourous than you might think. Good for a taxpayer to see :) We were not the only visitors. A US soldier was there picking up a flag for a family member along with some tourists complete with 2 little girls all dressed in red, white, and blue from their dresses to their hair ribbons. His lobby is filled with Chicago pics and literature. My partners were disappointed it was all Cubs stuff, but hey...I'm north-sider. I didn't mind. But...down to business

After profuse thank you's for the Global Poverty Act support, our first order of business was the mentioned Lantos-Hyde act. It's main purpose was to expand US resources to fight three diseases of poverty around the world: TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria. Our exciting, breaking news to talk about was a point of order that came up the day before that could have killed the whole $50 billion proposal! We were there to urge that it be waived and to oppose the 10 amendments that were meant to weaken the bill. We had no idea whether or not he would be in town for the voting, so we did our pitch as if he were. Obama supported the bill anyway, so we were only following up on the breaking news. Going further in our requests, we asked him to support the Education for All Act (S 1259) which seeks to provide basic education for all children around the world by: authorizing $3 billion by 2012, requiring the president to prioritize basic education funding and strategies for the most disadvantaged kids (child laborers, girls in remote areas, orphans, the disabled, etc), eliminating school fees, funding for refugee camps, etc. Obama is NOT a co-sponsor as of 7/10/08 and we urged him to become one. Clinton was the original sponsor...could that be why he was previously not on her bill? Well, if that's the reason, it's done with, so we want him on it now. There was an appropriations ask as well to speak to other senators on our behalf since the State and Foreign Ops committee was to consider its spending bill on 7/17.

So those were the issues on the table. We still don't know why he isn't a Education for All sponsor, but we'll follow up on that later. His aide was polite, but busy and it was a good experience to start the day. We also got gallery passes there so we could go into the Senate chamber during the Lantos-Hyde debate...which was pretty dang cool since Durbin was speaking in support of it when we were there. Later that evening, one of his aides showed up at a banquet RESULTS threw, which was an extremely nice gesture for his office to make!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Global Health Bill PASSED!!!!

I'll write more about this later, but suffice it to say that I am beyond ecstatic that the Lantos-Hyde bill passed today!!! It was my extreme pleasure to be lobbying for it with about 200 other RESULTS activists on the Hill the morning it went up for votes in the Senate. I was in Obama and Durbin's office voicing last minute concerns about the amendments and a potentially damaging point of order that could have killed the whole $50B bill. Now, I'm all heady with the feeling that one person can really make a positive difference in the world!!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Library Youth Department Collects for Niles Food Pantry

Summer vacation is a fun and busy time for the whole family, but there are families in our community who need help now for the most basic necessities. The Morton Grove Public Library Youth Services Dept will be collecting items for 9 weeks this summer for the Niles Township Food Pantry starting this Friday as a way to help kids learn about sharing and the needs in our community. Each week they will be collecting different featured items to encourage variety of donations. Here's the schedule:

July 11-17 Personal care items like shampoo, lotion, razors
July 18-24 Boxed food items such as pasta, crackers or tea
July 25-31 Food in jars such as jam and pasta sauce
Aug 1-7 Canned items such as juice, soup, and vegetables
Aug 8-14 Household and laundry items such as dishwashing soap and detergent
Aug 15-21 Dental hygiene items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash
Aug 22-30 Personal hygiene items such as tissues and toilet paper

Donations can be dropped off at the Youth Services desk any time the library is open. Feel free to donate whatever you can and as often as you like! Please make sure your items are unused and have not passed their expiration dates.

The Truth about the Global Poverty Act (#2)

Myth #2 about the Global Poverty Act (from Bread for the World)

MYTH: The bill subordinates U.S. foreign policy and foreign aid spending to the United Nations.

TRUTH: The Global Poverty Act would ask U.S. agencies and departments headed by the Secretary of State, to develop a comprehensive strategy for U.S. programs and policies to eliminate extreme global poverty. This would be a U.S. strategy for U.S. agencies. The legislation does not prejudge what the details of the strategy should be—only what components should be included in its creation. Decisions on U.S. policy and spending would remain exclusively with the U.S. government.


Truth About Global Poverty Act link

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Truth about the Global Poverty Act (#1)

Bread for the World has put out a very clear info sheet about the Global Poverty Act (S 2433). Here is the link to it:

The Truth about the Global Poverty Act

If there is any doubt about any of these, remember, the GPA is a very short piece of legislation. You can always read it for yourself to confirm what you read here! Here's the first mythbuster...

MYTH: The Global Poverty Act would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of its gross national product on foreign aid. This would require a new tax on all Americans.

TRUTH: The legislation neither authorizes nor obligates the federal government to spend more money. Rather, it seeks to put our current foreign aid programs into a comprehensive strategy involving trade policy, debt cancellation, and private sector efforts to ensure that existing U.S. programs are more effective and efficient. The legislation calls for a strategy to determine the right mix of aid, trade and debt policies and investment. The strategy also includes the private sector, civil society organizations, and the developing countries themselves as critical components in global development. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the bill would cost less than $1 million to implement.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

We Are Bread for the World video

This is a new video put out by Bread for the World highlighting some of its superstar members who fight against poverty every day. Way to go, guys. Great to see you!

We Are Bread for the World link

Friday, July 4, 2008

Printed letter: Act now on global health

My printed letter to the editor in the Chicago Sun-Times regarding the reauthorization of the PEPFAR global health bill...
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Act now on global health
The Lantos-Hyde Act discussed in "Time running out on AIDS, TB and malaria bill" could be a tremendous story of bipartisan success if the Senate can get it moving again. While it's true that a handful of Republicans are maintaining the stalling arguments, success also depends upon Democratic Senate leadership to schedule a vote quickly.

If this bill does not pass before the August recess, it is likely not to be enacted this year. Such a case would be detrimental to successful programs protecting and saving the lives of millions.

Passage before the Group of Eight Summit on Monday would help President Bush make the case for other world leaders to increase commitments for treating and preventing disease. It is in the hands of Republicans and Democrats alike to demonstrate to the world that the U.S. can be a leader in global health.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Overfed and Undernourished" on Worldview today

From Worldview , a WBEZ Chicago Radio program, with Jerome McDonnell...wow! his guest was extremely well spoken! The talk ranged from food crisis, to local produce, the global food system in general, energy, democracy, extreme poverty, etc. An incredible interview!
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Even though we're in the middle of a global food shortage, a billion people are overweight. We’ll spend most of the hour discussing this paradox in the world food system.

850 million people go hungry in the world. That number is expected to increase as food prices continue to rise. Staples such as rice and wheat have more than doubled in cost in the last year. High prices have led to riots in more than a dozen countries.

The Director General of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization calls the current food crisis “a risk for peace and stability around the world.” Despite the escalating food shortage, one billion people are overweight worldwide.

We’ll spend the rest of the hour today discussing this apparent contradiction in the world food system. Raj Patel is a former policy analyst for Food First. He is currently a visiting scholar at the U.C. Berkeley center for African Studies. He is the author of “Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System.”

Overfed and Undernourished Link

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Price of Hunger

See this 7 min video from the American News Project about hunger in the US. Interviewed persons include a senior on assistance, a food pantry organizer, and features Bread for the World's Brian Duss and Congressman McGovern doing a their food stamp challenges. It is hosted on the breadblog.org site.

http://www.breadblog.org/2008/06/the-price-of-hu.html