White House Community Leaders & The Capital Area Food Bank - Capital Area Food Bank
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White House Community Leaders & The Capital Area Food Bank

By Brian Banks July 11, 2011

I recently had the opportunity and honor to represent the Capital Area Food Bank at the second White House Community Leaders Briefing Series. This event is hosted by The White House Office of Public Engagement, and is an opportunity for the White House to share information with community leaders from across the country on the Small Business Administration, Energy and the Environment, Affordable Care Act, the Department of Education, the Economy, and more.

This is also an important time for community leaders to share ideas with the White House on how to improve existing federal programs, as well as share new and fresh ideas that can improve our community and country. This was not my first time attending an event at the White House, however, the series was rewarding both personally and professionally. 

After listening to the White House Staffers and networking with Carolyn, a Native American advocate from Seattle; Mary, a Civil Rights Attorney from New Orleans; and Adowa Ansah, from Connecticut, who founded Women of Praize – an organization that focuses on motivating women in Politics – I immediately knew I am not alone in my quest to educate and to give back to my neighbors, my community, my family and friends, and to any individual or family in need.

It was refreshing to step away from my caring colleagues at the CAFB and spend time with people from all over the country that are working just as hard to help people in their own communities.  I expressed the need to protect safety-net programs not only because people need the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, WIC, TEFAP, TANF and CACFP, but because these programs assist in boosting the economy and lowering the overall deficit.

Congress is currently debating the FY12 Budget and many of our repesenatives in the House and Senate want to cut funding for safety net programs or get rid of them all together.  This would be a terrible move that is sure to push more people towards poverty and hunger. Furthermore, if programs are cut and more people need help, the assistance will not be there for those in need.

I believe the White House understands this, however, I encourage everyone to contact the White House at 1-888-245-0215 in support of safety net programs.  Also call your Senator at 1-888-907-1481 in support of safety net programs.  Tell the White House and Senate that you support responsible long-term deficit reduction through a combination of revenue increases and spending cuts that do not harm the poor and vulnerable.

As community leaders, it is our responsibility to spread the news on what is needed to help people and to take action.  You don’t have to spend the day at the White House to be a leader and to make change, just simply stay involved in your community.  If you are unsure on how to get involved please email me at banksb@capitalareafoodbank.org.