The sun was shining brightly over a hopeful crowd on Tuesday, as a national delegation of faithful communities gathered in Washington, DC. More than 400 people took part in an event organized by Bread for the World.
RAFI’s Come to the Table project tagged along to witness a compelling day of worship and faith in democracy. Come to the Table isn’t an advocacy project, but, because of your concerns in North Carolina, we gladly hand-delivered messages to your representatives asking them to vote against proposed SNAP cuts in Farm Bill.
Prior to visiting Capitol Hill, speakers for Bread for the World shared the power of storytelling. Among them was Tony Hall, Director of The Alliance to End Hunger, United Nations Ambassador and former U.S. Congressman. His advice resonated profoundly.
“Yours is a moral voice,” he said. “Be compassionate. Don’t be afraid to show your heart. You are ambassadors. You are warriors.”
We delivered your letters to Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr and representatives from all over North Carolina. Thank you for allowing us to bring your stories to the table. As North Carolinians, representatives and staffers listened with attentive concern. One staffer even told us, “Hunger is a universal issue, but North Carolina brings it close to home.”
The Farm Bill is expected to move through Congress next week. Because of your letters, we sent a clear message to leaders representing North Carolina: do not cut our SNAP benefits. We brought your stories. We showed your heart as best as we could, through the power of your own words. Thank you for being a warrior in this fight to end hunger.
Below is a sample letter we delivered from the Reverend Patricia Harris Curtis of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sylva, NC:
Dear Senator Burr, Senator Hagan and Rep. Meadows:
As you are aware, 47 million Americans currently rely on SNAP benefits to provide enough for themselves and their families. These benefits are crucial to keeping families from going hungry. Cutting these benefits will affect millions of people, many of them children.
Each of you will be asked in the next weeks to vote for the 2013 Farm Bill that is making its way through committees in the House and Senate right now. I am asking you to consider how your vote will affect the families who live in our state. Many counties are still experiencing double-digit unemployment rates leaving many able people to find employment. Any decrease in SNAP benefits this year will mean that many of these families and their children will go hungry.
As people of faith we are to care for the least among us. I urge you not to vote for any bill that decreases the SNAP benefit program for the families of North Carolina and families across these United States.
The Rev. Patricia Harris Curtis