Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice
moving from charity to justice
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Thank you for visiting our website!

Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice is currently planning a variety of advocacy activities for the

fall of 2014 – all of which will be posted here soon! Watch for our new look and opportunities 

to get involved!!!

 

In the meantime, take a look below at what WFVJ has been doing over the past year...

  • 2013-14 Annual Report
    • A summary of the report by Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, WFVJ President, to the Annual Meeting and WFJV membership. 



Take Action with WFVJ....

WFVJ Invites You to Take the Food Stamp Challenge 

Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice invites individuals and congregations to participate in our second annual SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge for one week during the weeks of Lent/the weeks between Purim and Passover (any week between March 4 to April 13).

The SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge gives participants a view of what life can be like for millions of low-income Americans. Most participants take the Challenge for one week, living on a little under $4 per day worth of food – the average food stamp benefit in Wisconsin. Challenge participants are forced to make food shopping choices on a limited budget, and often realize how difficult it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy with too few resources.

Members of Congress, governors, state officials, journalists and other community leaders around the country have taken the Challenge and have learned firsthand what it is like to try to make ends meet on the average food stamp benefit. Last year over 50 individual and family members of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice and ten congregations took the Challenge.

While living on a food stamp budget for just a week cannot come close to the struggles encountered by low-income families week after week and month after month, it does provide those who take the Challenge with a new perspective and greater understanding.

Check out Food Stamp Challenge 2014 for more information about this year's challenge. 

Check out the Food Stamps, Food Security, and Hunger page for further resources. 

Please Join Us for WFVJ's Annual Membership Meeting

  • Wednesday, May 28, 9:00-11:00am, at Lake Edge Lutheran Church, 4032 Monona Drive, Madison
  • Keynote Speaker: Rep. Cory Mason (Racine): Why Wisconsin Should Raise Its Minimum Wage


Poverty Simulation

Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice and PEPartnership, Inc., have partnered to create our own Poverty Simulation: an experiential program that helps participants gain insight into the daily-life challenges faced by families in Wisconsin who are low-income or in poverty. In a six-hour experience, participants are assigned identities of low-income or poor individuals (based on actual people), given descriptions of their person’s life history, health status, income sources, housing sources, food sources, and other information pertinent to their daily life challenges. The participants are also then given a list of tasks they have to complete by the end of the day.  The day is divided into six segments, each representing one day in the week. Participants cycle through various stations to try to sign up for food stamps, get food from a pantry, secure shelter for the night, look for a job, sign up for BadgerCare, etc.  Through the challenges and obstacles they face in trying to accomplish these tasks, participants begin to gain insight into the struggles faced by poor Wisconsinites every day in their efforts to meet their basic needs.

To bring the WFVJ’s Poverty Simulation to your congregation, organization, or business, contact Rabbi Bonnie Margulis at rabbibonnie@charter.net.

Further Resources:

  • Why Poverty?  The Why Poverty? site includes a number of videos, with teachers' guides for several of them, on the history of poverty world-wide.
  • Wisconsin Budget Project, a project of Wisconsin Council on Children and Families


The Affordable Care Act 101

On October 1, the health insurance Marketplace opened for business and quickly was flooded with millions of Americans seeking information and signing up. Clearly Americans are hungry for affordable health care. But polls show that many are still confused about the Affordable Care Act, how it works, and what it means for them. We also know that clergy and the faith community are seen as trusted sources of information and help. To be effective helpers, we need to have a clear understanding ourselves of the basic facts of the Affordable Care Act, the Marketplace, and changes to BadgerCare, and how these will affect the members of our community. 

Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice can help provide in-person presentations, conference calls, webinars, and other resources to help clergy, congregations, organizations, and communities to understand the basics of the health insurance Marketplace, how it works, who is eligible, what federal programs are in place to help reduce costs, and how changes to Wisconsin's BadgerCare interact with the Affordable Care Act. For more information, contact Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, President of WFVJ, at rabbibonnie@charter.net.


WFVJ 2013 Annual Meeting

  • Annual Report 2012-2013
    A summary of the report by Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, WFVJ President, to the Annual Meeting and WFJV membership. 
  • WFVJ "Vision Budget" June 2013
    The WFVJ Board's best vision as of June 2013 of the financial impact of WFVJ's planned activities for 2013-2014. 
  • Notes from Keynote Presentation
    Summative notes from the keynote presentation by Wendy Cooper, M.Div., MSSW


Continuing the Struggle 


ACA Implementation in Wisconsin

Governor Walker's BadgerCare proposal continues to be a focus of attention here in Wisconsin. In April, Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, working with the Save BadgerCare Coalition, developed a plain-language overview that provides a good general explanation of the basics of the ACA and looks at how Governor Walker's proposed alternative falls short.

image of BadgerCare Coalition report
read more...


November 30, 2012

WISCONSIN FAITH VOICES FOR JUSTICE INVITES YOU TO TAKE THE FOOD STAMP CHALLENGE!

For more information on  this challenge, see the Food Stamp Challenge page on this site.  

 
If you participated in this year's Food Stamp Challenge, please tell us how it went by completing this survey

Background on the Challenge

Hunger and poverty have been with us since Biblical times. Leviticus provided us with one solution to this age-old problem: “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the stranger” (Lev. 19:9-10). In the United States today, we have a different method of dealing with hunger. It is not a solution, but it is one way to help, and that is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as Food Stamps. 

In Wisconsin today, over 800.000 people are currently living on food stamps. This means Wisconsin recipients of SNAP eat on a weekly allocation of $29.07 a week per person in the household, or roughly $3.88 a day per person. This assistance is a great help in addressing the nutritional needs of people living in poverty. Unfortunately, it is insufficient to meet the full nutritional needs of an average family, particularly for families living in urban areas. According to SNAP’s Thrifty Food Plan, the basis on which SNAP’s allocation levels are determined, a family of four needs between $126.50 and $144.90 a week to eat at the Thrifty Food Plan level (http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2012/CostofFoodJun2012.pdf). This is already lower than Wisconsin allocates for its food stamp recipients. Add to that the higher cost of food in urban areas, compounded by the lack of large grocery stores resulting in limited food choices, and people living on SNAP have a difficult time meeting minimal nutrional needs. Many families find it difficult to make their allocation last to the end of the month, and end up resorting to food pantries and soup kitchens to fill out the month (http://frac.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/urbansnapreport_jan2011.pdf).

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The Challenge

Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice invites individuals and congregations to take the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge for one week during the weeks of Lent or the weeks between Purim and Passover. 

The SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge gives participants a view of what life can be like for millions of low-income Americans. Most participants take the Challenge for one week, living on a little under $4 per day worth of food – the average food stamp benefit in Wisconsin. Challenge participants are forced to make food shopping choices on a limited budget, and often realize how difficult it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy with too few resources.

Members of Congress, governors, state officials, journalists and other community leaders around the country have taken the Challenge and have learned firsthand what it is like to try to make ends meet on the average food stamp benefit.

While living on a food stamp budget for just a week cannot come close to the struggles encountered by low-income families week after week and month after month, it does provide those who take the Challenge with a new perspective and greater understanding.

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Challenge Guidelines

  1. Each person should spend a set amount for food and beverages during the Challenge week. That amount is $29.07 for all food and beverage for the week.
  2. All food purchased and eaten during the Challenge week, including fast food and dining out, must be included in the total spending.
  3. During the Challenge, only eat food that you purchase for the project. Do not eat food that you already own (this does not include spices and condiments).
  4. Avoid accepting free food from friends, family, or at work, including at receptions, briefings, or other events where food is served.
  5. Keep track of receipts on food spending and take note of your experiences throughout the week.
  6. Invite others to join you, including co-workers, reporters, chefs, or other elected officials.
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Are you planning to participate?

If you are interested in taking the Food Stamp Challenge, or just in learning more, please email Rabbi Bonnie Margulis at rabbibonnie@charter.net. During the next few months leading up to the beginning of Lent/Purim, we will be posting information and materials on our website and sending the links out to those who sign up. During Lent/the weeks between Purim and Passover, we will host a blog on our website for participants to upload your contributions – entries on your experiences taking the Challenge, what it is like for you to shop on a restricted budget, recipes you created to stretch your food budget, and photos or videos of your meals, your shopping expeditions, and any programs your congregations offer in connection with the Challenge.

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A kick-off program

Please note: This section will soon be updated with a report on the dinner and program.

In addition, for those individuals and congregations in the Madison area, First United Methodist Church has invited WFVJ members and congregations to join FUMC and Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice for a kick-off Lenten dinner and program on February 20th. Stay tuned for more details and information on how to RSVP for the dinner and program. Program materials will be available on our website for download for other congregations around the state that want to host a similar program.

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Please support the work of WFVJ

Donations are warmly appreciated. Checks should be made payable to MUM. Please send donations to: 

Rabbi Jonathan Biatch, Treasurer
Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice
22 Chautauqua Trail
Madison, WI  53719

For suggestions or corrections to content on this website, or for any questions, please contact
the web manager, Christine Thompson, coordinator@pepartnership.net