A lofty goal

Moved by God’s grace in Jesus the Christ – the Liberating King – we raise our voices to help end hunger at home and abroad. – Rev. David Beckmann, president, Bread for the World

A lofty goal, that. Then again, so is “love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” So that is exactly what we will do at Woodridge United Methodist Church this Sunday, August 22: raise our voices to help end hunger.

In both our worship gatherings (9:00 and 10:30 a.m.) we will partner withBread for the World in creating an Offering of Letters. Our letters will implore our U.S. Representatives to help low-income families by making permanent the provisions in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) that expire this year.

Why focus on those provisions? Because they work! In 2009 alone, those two tax credits lifted an estimated 8.9 million USAmericans above the poverty line! 4.6 million of which (that’s 51.7%) were children.

In 2009 in Illinois, 870,282 households claimed the EITC and 612,795 households claimed the CTC. If these tax credits are not preserved at their current level, all those families will see their credits cut drastically. For instance, a full-time working parent receiving the minimum wage would receive only a $320 credit instead of the current $1,800 credit.

Would losing $1500 make a difference in your ability to meet your budget?

What if that $1500 was over 10% of your annual income? A full-time worker at minimum wage ($7.25/hour) earns $14,500 per year.

Here’s what such a letter might look like:

Date ___________

Dear Rep. ___________

I urge you to make permanent our current tax benefits for low-income families, parts of which will expire this year if Congress doesn’t act. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit reward the efforts of low-income working families—especially those who are working full-time at the minimum wage.

Programs such as the EITC and the Child Tax Credit work! Millions of hard-working families have been lifted above the poverty line and been able to put food on their tables. These are relatively small programs that have a big impact on families struggling to make ends meet.

In the midst of important debates about which tax programs to change or renew, the needs of low-income families must not be lost. Please make permanent the current provisions in the EITC and the Child Tax Credit.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Your Address

We’ll send our letters to our Representatives local offices. Find yours here.

If you are in the Chicago-land area come to our church this Sunday, bring your compassion and your longing for justice for poor and hungry people…and bring a return address label. We’ll provide paper, pens, envelopes, and plenty more information and inspiration. Together we will live out the Gospel of Jesus. Together we will answer God’s call to seek justice for hungry and poor people everywhere.

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Did you get enough to eat today?

Did you get enough to eat today?

I know I did. This afternoon alone I purchased lunch from a local restaurant and an organically grown peach from our church Mission Vegetable cart…and I had a cookie. Needless to say, I’m well-fed.

But that’s not true for everyone. Perhaps your initial mental image of a hungry person is that of a small child next to a hut somewhere in Africa. I know it is for me. But, as real as that picture of hunger is, it does not tell the whole story.

  • 13% of people in the United States live in poverty.
  • More than 14% of US households are hungry.
  • 16.7 million children – that’s nearly one in four! – live in households that struggle to put food on the table.

Here in Illinois the situation is better than those national figures – but only slightly. Families in Illinois are struggling:

  • 12.2% of people in Illinois live in poverty.
  • 11.1% of IL households are hungry.
  • SNAP (food stamps) participation increased 9.7% in the last year.

You may think tax policy should put you to sleep. But here’s why it is important:

  • In 2009, the EITC lifted an estimated 6.6 million people, including 3.3 million children, above the poverty line.
  • In 2009, the CTC lifted an estimated 2.3 million people, including 1.3 million children, above the poverty line.

These are the largest anti-poverty programs in our country! But 7 million low-income people could lose benefits if these tax credits expire. And that is why we’ll raise our voices and add them to thousands of other voices from around our state and our country calling on Congress to care for the most vulnerable of our neighbors.

On Sunday, August 22nd we, the people of the Woodridge United Methodist Church, are taking very specific action to combat hunger and its underlying cause, poverty.

In our worship gatherings we will partner with Bread for the World in creating an Offering of Letters. Our letters will implore our U.S. Representatives to help low-income families by making permanent the provisions in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) that are set to expire this year.

So come to church on August 22, bring your compassion and your longing for justice for poor and hungry people…and bring a return address label. We’ll provide paper, pens, envelopes, and plenty more information and inspiration. Together we will live out the Gospel of Jesus. Together we will answer God’s call to seek justice for hungry and poor people everywhere.

Get a head start on your letter or find your Representative:  http://www.offeringofletters.org/2010/act/contact-congress

Learn more about Offering of Letters and Bread for the World: http://www.offeringofletters.org/

To see the source for above US statistics:  http://www.offeringofletters.org/2010/learn-more/facts

For IL stats: http://www.offeringofletters.org/2010/resources/state-facts