What if you had to choose between heating your home or paying for food?


Dear Supporter,

What if you had to choose between heating your home or paying for food?

This is an impossible decision. Fortunately, thanks to support from people like you, Feeding America is helping to make sure more individuals and families won’t have to decide. And yet, in these cold winter months, millions of people continue to face tough choices like this every day.

What would you choose? Take our Tough Choices Challenge and find out – then spread the word among your friends.

Right now, 1 in 8 people rely on Feeding America’s network for food assistance. If they buy groceries, they may not be able to pay their rent. If they pay their rent, they may not be able to afford lifesaving medications. If they purchase those medications, their children or grandchildren may not know where their next meal will come from.

Take our Take our Tough Choices Challenge and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or email your family and friends.

Thank you for all that you do in the fight against hunger.

Sincerely,

Vicki Escarra
President & CEO
Feeding America

P.S. Your support of Feeding America has made a real difference. Please take this opportunity to increase your impact and donate today.

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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1 Response to What if you had to choose between heating your home or paying for food?

  1. eslkevin says:

    Nader to Occupy: Help Raise the Minimum Wage

    By Chris Hedges

    There has been a steady decline in real wages for low-income workers. The call to raise the minimum wage is not only a matter of economic justice. The infusion of tens of billions of dollars into the hands of the working class would increase tax revenue, open up new jobs and lift consumer spending.

    ::::::::

    This article cross-posted from Truthdig

    The Occupy movement may be able to forge a powerful alliance with millions of working men and women around a national call to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour. The drive to establish new encampments, while important, is going to be long and difficult. The ongoing efforts to stand up to the foreclosure and mortgage crisis, the marches to hold Wall Street accountable, the protests against stop-and-frisk policies in New York City or police brutality in Oakland, while vital, do not draw the numbers into the streets across the country needed to loosen the grip of the corporate state.

    Some 70 percent of the public supports raising the minimum wage. This is an issue that resonates across political, ethnic, religious and cultural lines. It exposes the vast disparities in wealth and the gross inequalities imposed by our corporate oligarchy. The political elite during this election year, which needs to toss a few scraps to the voting public, might be pressured to respond. The two leading Republican candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, say they support the minimum wage (although only Romney has called for indexing the minimum wage). Barack Obama promised during his 2008 election campaign to press to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011, a promise that, like many others, he has ignored. But the ground is fertile.

    “The 24-hour encampments, largely on public property, broke through,” Ralph Nader told me when we spoke of the Occupy movement a few days ago. “These encampments jolted the consciousness of the nation. But people began asking after a number of weeks what’s next. Once the movement lost the encampments, it did not have a second-strike readiness, which should be the raising of the minimum wage to $10 an hour.”

    The federal minimum wage of $7.25, adjusted for inflation, is $2.75 lower than it was in 1968 when worker productivity was about half of what it is today. There has been a steady decline in real wages for low-income workers. Meanwhile, corporations such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, whose workforce earns the minimum wage or slightly above it, have enjoyed massive profits. Executive salaries, along with prices, have soared even as worker salaries have stagnated or declined. But the call to raise the minimum wage is not only a matter of economic justice. The infusion of tens of billions of dollars into the hands of the working class would increase tax revenue, open up new jobs and lift consumer spending.

    There are numerous groups, including the AFL-CIO, whose leaders dutifully pay lip service to raising the minimum wage but have refused to mobilize to fight for it. Rank-and-file workers, once they had a place and a movement willing to agitate on their behalf, would shame union bosses into joining them. There are 535 congressional offices scattered throughout the country. These congressional offices, Nader suggests, could provide the focal point for sustained local protests.

    “You could get leading think tanks, like the Economic Policy Institute, the AFL-CIO, member unions, especially unions like the California Nurses Association, which has been very aggressive on this, and a bevy of academics such as Dean Baker and professor Robert Pollin, along with groups such as the NAACP and La Raza, to back this,” Nader said. “There is potential for huge synergy. But it needs the jolt that can only come from the Occupy movement.

    “The Occupy movement arose by embracing a rejectionist attitude toward politics, but in the end that is lethal,” Nader said. “It is a form of ideological immolation. If they won’t turn on politics, politics will continue to turn on them. Politics means the power of government–local, state and national–and the ability of corporations to control departments and agencies and turn government against its own people. Not engaging in politics might have been a good preliminary tactic to gain credibility so they could avoid being tagged with some “-ism’ or some party, but it has worn out its purpose. The movement needs to become a champion for millions of low-income workers. This does not mean the Occupy movement should support a political party. It means it should go after both parties. It is only by going after the two main political parties that raising the minimum wage will get through Congress.”

    Nader believes that the call to raise the minimum wage has the potential to divide the Republican Party, which has not been split on any major issue in Congress since Obama took office. He says that the economic suffering of low-income Americans is so severe that some Republican candidates running for office would be loath to ignore a groundswell in their districts calling for an increase in the minimum wage. But the pressure has to be exerted between now and the November elections. Once the elections are concluded, nothing will be passed that is not orchestrated, funded and authored by corporate lobbyists.

    Past campaigns to raise the minimum wage have proved very popular. ACORN, in 2004, organized a statewide referendum in Florida to raise the minimum wage by a dollar. Once the proposal was on the ballot, corporate forces launched a lavishly funded assault against the initiative. The battle to defeat the measure was spearheaded by fast food corporations such as McDonald’s and Burger King as well as chain stores such as Wal-Mart and Kmart. There was no money to fund ads to counter the corporate propaganda or support the proposal. The initiative, despite the public relations onslaught, won by 71 percent. To placate his corporate backers, the Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, refused to support the ballot initiative, although he desperately needed Florida to win the election.

    “How much political courage does it take to stand up for guys making $7.25 an hour while the head of Wal-Mart is making $11,000 an hour?” Nader asked. “What medieval period had that kind of wealth disparity?

    “This campaign, if successful, would make the Occupy movement the chief movement in the country,” Nader said. “It would be a movement that got something done. It could build on this.

    “The end of the encampments could be an unintended blessing,” Nader went on. “The movement no longer has to deal with daily housekeeping, sanitation, the occasional fights and bickering and the poor and homeless who were urged to go there by police. It can develop a laser-beam focus on the first stage of the recovery of the American worker.

    “To be able to spearhead a coalition that includes the AFL-CIO, minority groups and local community groups will show that the movement can leverage power,” Nader said. “It has not shown this so far. The most accessible bastion of corporate power, the most sensitive of the three branches of government, is the legislature, and not just Congress, but state legislatures. This is a winnable issue. It fulfills the 99 percent motto. And the movement can be very effective because it has developed a unique ability to carry out daily demonstrations. If the movement can get the minimum wage raised, it will gain enormous power. Who has gotten anything on the progressive agenda through Congress in the last few years? A victory would permit the Occupy movement to fill this power vacuum. Once you win a battle in Congress, you produce a penumbra of power. This penumbra stops bad things from happening. It curtails the arrogance of the Republican Party. It empowers new and fresh leadership.”

    Submitters Bio:

    Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

    Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. The Los Angeles Press Club honored Hedges’ original columns in Truthdig by naming the author the Online Journalist of the Year in 2009, and granted him the Best Online Column award in 2010 for his Truthdig essay “One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists.”

    Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City and has taught at Columbia University, New York University and Princeton University. He currently teaches inmates at a correctional facility in New Jersey.

    Hedges began his career reporting the war in El Salvador. Following six years in Latin America, he took time off to study Arabic and then went to Jerusalem and later Cairo. He spent seven years in the Middle East, most of them as the bureau chief there for The New York Times. He left the Middle East in 1995 for Sarajevo to cover the war in Bosnia and later reported the war in Kosovo. Afterward, he joined the Times’ investigative team and was based in Paris to cover al-Qaida. He left the Times after being issued a formal reprimand for denouncing the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq.

    He has written nine books, including “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best-selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. His latest book is “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010)

    Hedges holds a B.A. in English literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, Calif. Hedges speaks Arabic, French and Spanish and knows ancient Greek and Latin. In addition to writing a weekly original column for Truthdig, he has written for Harper’s Magazine, The New Statesman, The New York Review of Books, Adbusters, Granta, Foreign Affairs and other publications.

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