“He began to say to himself that to refuse what was asked by someone begging in the name of such a great King would be both a shame and a disgrace. And so he fixed this in his heart; to the best of his ability, never to deny anything to anyone begging from him for God’s sake. This he did and with such care that he offered himself completely, in every way, first practicing before teaching the gospel counsel: ‘Give to the one who begs from you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Mt.5:42)'”
From the Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano, The First Book
Sr. Simone Campbell and other religious sisters organized by Network, a Catholic Social Justice Lobby, hopped on a bus to spread the news about budget priorities being proposed by Congress and how they impact the poorest of this nation.
Right now the United States is facing an increase in poverty.
According to the National Census Bureau in the year 2010 the following were the statistics on poverty in the U.S.
- More than one in seven Americans – including one in five children – lived below the poverty line ($22,113 for a family of four)
- The number of people at risk of hunger increased from 36.2 million in 2007 to 48.8 million in 2010 (according to Bread for the World www.bread.org)
- Food banks in the United States saw a 46 percent increase in clients seeking emergency food assistance from 2006 to 2010.
- One in seven Americans receive benefits from SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — formerly food stamps)
- Nearly half of SNAP participants are children. 8 percent are 60 or older.
- 85 percent of SNAP participants have incomes at or below the poverty line.
At this same time, drastic cuts are being proposed (and in some cases passed) to cut safety net programs in our national budget.
Last year the House voted to cut SNAP by $127 billion — nearly 20 percent over ten years– and recommended turning the program into a block grant. Under a block grant, SNAP would give a set amount of money to states every year which would limit their ability to respond to increases in need. In the past food stamps were considered an entitlement. If you fit the criteria, you received food stamps.
Congress must renew the farm bill this year which includes nutrition programs like SNAP and assistance to Mothers with Children called WIC. We are concerned that these will be targeted for cuts, when the need is so great.
So, the nuns organized by Network — www.networklobby.org –went out into the country to call attention to the potential draconian cuts to essential programs for the poor in this country. There are more cuts in proposed budgets (one called the Ryan plan), Pell grants, job training, etc.
For more information on the budget go to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities www.cbpp.org.
So let’s all Get On the Bus!!!