Small local Bread letter writing groups
The purpose of these small groups is to encourage and empower more people to get involved in advocacy work right where they live in their community, and not rely on participation in large regional meetings that require travel and fixed inflexible meeting times. Groups of 3-15 people can meet monthly, stay informed, and take action on important issues. The idea is to create a group that meets your needs and time schedules. These groups can get topic ideas, suggestions and support from the local Bread for the World group and have a mechanism to contact other small groups and the regional group members as well.
A local Bread group provides a place of camaraderie and support for those that share a passion for ending hunger and poverty at home and abroad. The basic goals are:
Monthly Meetings (members attend when available)
Fixed time (e.g. 1st Wednesday)
Action taken during meeting
5-15 typically in attendance
Agenda: Fellowship, Education, Action (Pray, learn something new, then write legislators)
Send out reminder email with meeting content (some like to read background in advance)
Refresh membership with special events
- A small group can be 3-15 people based in a church, school, or community.
- These groups offer a way for community members to participate in regular advocacy work. Membership may remain relatively static or may grow or drop as new people become interested.
- Could meet at church, school, library, community center, downtown coffee shop for lunch, or someones house.
- If meeting within a church or school, contact your leaders and let them know you want to setup an informal, regularly meeting group, working on hunger advocacy. Refer them to Bread's website and the goals and purpose of the organization. Contact us if you have questions or would like us to come out and meet with your group.
- If meeting within a church, ask your minister, priest or social outreach committee leader who might be interested in helping you start a new chapter. Use your church bulletin or newsletter to announce your meetings.
- Meet monthly and strictly limit the meeting to one hour (maybe 40 minutes if meeting during a coffee hour between services). The time limit will encourage more participation as people see a predictable pattern. Discussions, planning, or social time can continue after the meeting, but this is optional with the formal meeting ending after an hour. You can meet more often if working on a event or activity with specific volunteers, but again thats optional.
- Visit the local Bread group's website (or contact us) for topic ideas and suggestions and publicize your meeting results, observations, experiences, or suggest future topics on our blog or in an email we can post on our blog (optional). This will allow small groups to be aware of each other and be in touch if they like.
Sample monthly meeting check list and agenda
- Set a regular time and place to meet and publicize it within your community (church, school, neighborhood, etc). Meeting places & times can also be rotated if this serves the group better.
- Check the websites small group meeting page for suggested topics from Bread for the World or other local groups like: Oregon Food Bank, Jubilee oregon, etc. Pick a main topic for the meeting, typically you'll want to stick with one topic per meeting. You can contact the regional group with any questions or suggestions.
- Limit the meeting to an hour. Come prepared with the 1 page topic sheet (from the website), letter writing materials, optional stamps. Here is a sample agenda:
- 1. Opening prayer and introductions - 10 minutes. (can stretch to 15 minutes if working on special activities)
- 2. Introduce the topic - 10 - 20 minutes (allow time for some questions and discussions). Download or print the sample 1 page topic sheet from the website, you may watch a video, read and discuss a Bread briefing paper, or have a guest speaker if available.
- 3. Take an action - 10- 20 minutes. Write letters to a legislator or letter to the editor on the topic issue. Can use the sample letter included in the topic sheet as a guide.
- 4. Closing prayer - 5 minutes. Discussions concerning the next meeting and future actions.
- Summarize your meeting experience in an email and send to the regional group with any questions or postings for our blog. I can also give you access to our blog so you can directly post to it.
Working with the regional group - we will offer:
- Monthly updated topic Ideas page on website including 1 page topic sheets.
- Meeting planning help: topics page, email, phone and chat room advice and support.
- Our local Bread organizer can get you a list of (or put you in touch with) Bread members in your area. Send out an email blast, mail a letter, or make a phone call to gather those who are interested. We can also post an annoucement in our monthly Enewsletter.
- Feedback: Email meeting results, actions, questions, ideas.
- Access to blog page to post actions and ideas to broader regional group. We can also help you setup your own free blog page for your group.
- Optional link on our web page to your group for other interested people in the area to join.
- May want to participate and attend quarterly regional Bread events: Real Life Exhibit tour, prepare meal at Good Neighbor center, Food Bank volunteer, Mercy Corp tour ? ...
Mediumlong range options for your group
- Quarterly letter writing table at church after services.
- Conduct a Bread for the World Offering of Letters event at your church.
- Ask the local ministers? association to invite members of their respective congregations to join you.
- Set up an outreach table or letter writing table in the cafeteria or another meeting area at your college or university.
- Setup a meeting with your legislator (with or without the regional group).
- Planning educational events or speakers for your group.
- Participate in quarterly regional Bread for the World or other allied group events.
- Book club meetings around hunger issues.