Connecting the Dots Between Service and Advocacy

This morning, the Siena/Francis House group participated in a legislative visit with Senator Ben Nelson’s staff. Louise Lattimer pictured here with the group met the delegation to discuss domestic poverty concerns.

Getting to the actual visit was a challenge in itself. After our first night in the shelter we had to be up and going very early to get breakfast and leave the shelter by 7:30am to catch the bus (a new experience for some) to the Senator’s office and on top of that, it was raining this morning! The bus journey took us about an hour with another 20 minute walk to get to the office.

We had the chance to participate in this visit with other Omaha delegation members through Bread for the World, a non-partisan, collective Christian voice urging the nation’s leaders to end hunger at home and abroad. Kaela Volkmer organized this visit and invited Creighton students to join. This visit was a part of a national campaign Bread for the World has underway to make sure vital programs for the poor and hungry are maintained.

Specifically, we asked Senator Nelson to protect the domestic Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in upcoming negotiations regarding the Farm Bill. After the November elections, it is likely that the House and Senate will be working to reconcile their versions of this bill or to pass an extension of the current bill. Currently, the Senate has cut $4.5 billion over 10 years to SNAP, whereas the House version would cut more than $16 billion.

We asked Louise to share our ask of Senator Nelson to assist in forming a ‘circle of protection’ around vital programs for poor and hungry people. A circle of protection for the people we are spending the week living with. We had the opportunity to share some of our personal experiences from our trip so far in our visit! Louise was very enthusiastic and encouraged us to become life-long advocates. She told us how important it is to vote, but more than to vote to be in dialogue with our elected officials.