Friday, April 11, 2008

Local "Obama vs Clinton" Food drive competition idea

Here's an idea I had that anyone is welcome to use in your own local areas. I'm working on organizing a food drive competition between Obama Supporters and Clinton Supporters in Chicago. Our Food Depository has software to do a virtual food drive which lets people donate by going "shopping" on line for food at the prices the depository would buy it for and they will support a competition between to companies or orgs. I thought this could channel some negativity into a positive outcome. No matter who contributes the most, the hungry people win. All those supporters are democrats, right?... so that's what they would want! As pointed out by one of my on-line Obama friends, this is a lot like Stephen Colbert has set up for Obama/Clinton supporters to compete in donating to PA schools.

Only trouble is that I don't happen to know an active HIllary supporter to run the Clinton side of it. If you're in the Chicago area and are a Hillary supporter who would like to participate or know one, please leave a comment with some way to contact you (a URL, email, a drop location on a busy downtown corner?)

If you are not in Chicago, take the idea and do it in your area!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Beckmann on PBS this Friday: Farm Bill

The president of Bread for the World, David Beckman (World Bank Economist, Lutheran Pastor), will be appearing on PBS again on Friday night for another Bill Moyers interview. This time it is a special on domestic hunger and the Farm Bill. Every five years, the Farm Bill goes up for reauthorization. Last year, was one of those year, but the process is dragging and the Farm Bill is currently being renewed in the Senate. It's a huge and complicated piece of legislation, but if you eat it effects you! This special one-hour episode will explain how our food policy affects what we eat, how much we pay for it, and how it helps or hurts people in need.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Global Activism Expo in Chicago 4/16

Global Activism Expo
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 @ 6:00 p.m.

Five years ago, Chicago Public Radio's Worldview began a new series to showcase individuals working to improve the world through small-scale efforts, working to accomplish huge change with whatever resources they could, driven by remarkable stories of inspiration and passion for the task at hand. Taking guest suggestions from Worldview listeners, the Series has never struggled— each Thursday, Worldview host, Jerome McDonnell, introduces listeners to another initiative driving the exchange of ideas and commodities among cultures and regions.

...and now you can come meet these guests of Worldview's Global Activism Series, talk with them about their work, enjoy food and music and meet other Chicago Public Radio listeners and members from around the region. Nearly 80 organizations have been invited to set up information tables and talk with you about their work.

Broadway Armory
5917 N. Broadway Street
Chicago, IL 60660

Chicago Public Radio

$10/general admission
$8/Chicago Public Radio members
$8/Chicago Global Donors Network members
$8/Bread for the World members
Kids get in FREE!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Bill Moyers interview with David Beckmann on PBS

Bill Moyers talks with the president of Bread for the World, David Beckmann, about the challenges of combatting hunger. This interview ran on April 4. Right off the bat, Beckmann eloquently talks about the dignity of people in extreme need and talks about the importance of advocacy.

IL Call-in: Calls needed to Durbin about Foreign Operations bill

From Bread for the World:
Four weeks ago, your voice was a crucial factor in an overwhelming 73-23 vote by the Senate to restore $4.1 Billion to the International Affairs Budget. This was a tremendous victory on the road to keeping our nation's promise to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals, but our work is far from over.

The next step in the budget process is ensuring this money is available for effective poverty-focused development assistance programs. (Note: If you are a Bread for the World member, you probably received an action alert about this in the mail in the past week)

Congressional leaders are currently setting spending limits for all of the appropriations bills, including for the State Department/Foreign Operations bill, which contains hope-giving and life-saving programs like the Child Survival and Health Fund. This is one of the most important steps in Bread for the World's campaign to boost poverty-focused development assistance by $5 Billion, and Senator Durbin is one of a small handful of leaders who will have a voice in making this happen.

By April 11, please call Senator Durbin at 1-800-826-3688. Message: please do all in your power to allocate at least $38.2 billion to the State Department/Foreign Operations subcommittee for fiscal year 2009. This special, toll-free number will connect you to the Capitol switchboard, where you can ask to be transferred to your senator Durbin's office.

Points to Make

The United States needs to increase funding to meet the commitments to hungry and poor people around the world.
We signed onto the Millennium Development Goals. We must do our part to meet them.
Poverty-focused development assistance goes to the programs that most directly address the root causes of hunger and poverty such as agriculture, clean water, nutrition, education and health.
After you have called, please click here to report your call. It literally only takes two clicks and it helps us make sure you have the most up-to-date information about this campaign.

More information about this call-in effort is available below. Thank you for raising your voice!

Peace and Blessings,

The Staff at Bread for the World

Congress is at an important point in the process of determining next year's budget. Congressional leaders will make decisions in the next few weeks that will greatly affect how much poverty-focused development assistance will be available next year. Your voice is important.

The leadership of the House and Senate appropriations committees are working now to determine fiscal year (FY) 2009 spending levels for each of the 12 federal appropriations bills(Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, etc.) These spending levels serve as caps on the amount of funding that Congress can allocate to each bill. One of the appropriations bills, State Department/Foreign Operations, contains almost all of U.S. foreign assistance programs, including those that fight hunger and poverty. Keeping the promises our country has made to fight global poverty, hunger and disease depends on securing the highest amount possible for State/Foreign Operations as a whole as we continue through the appropriations process.

Senator Durbin is one of a handful of leaders who will determine these allocations.

Later this year, we will be urging the State Foreign Operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee to appropriate the highest possible funding specifically for poverty-focused development assistance. We will have a better chance of success then, if they receive an adequate allocation now.

The responsibility for determining the overall funding level for State/Foreign Operations falls on the chairmen and ranking members (top Republicans) of the appropriations committees, the party leadership of the House and the Senate, and other influential members of Congress. As a constituent of Senator Durbin, you have an important role to play in securing this funding.

Bread for the World's 2008 Offering of Letters is pushing for more and better poverty-focused development assistance - more: to fund programs in the U.S. budget that give people in poor countries the skills and opportunities to break the cycle of poverty permanently; better: to pass the Global Poverty Act, which requires greater coordination of U.S. efforts.

Nations around the world, including the United States, have already agreed to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight international development goals to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and promote gender equality. The U.N. Millennium Project estimates that to achieve the MDGs, the international community must significantly increase poverty-focused development assistance to poor countries. The goal is to globally contribute an additional $75 billion annually by 2010. For the United States to do its part, we must increase our spending on these effective programs by at least $5 billion a year. This funding would include long-term investments in education, agriculture, nutrition, health, and clean water.

The State Department/Foreign Operations spending bill must receive the largest allocation possible in order to fund programs that alleviate poverty and hunger. This allocation process determines whether or not we can keep our promise to help the world's poorest people.