Another Successful Action Corps Training!
On the morning of Saturday, April 25, thirty-three of our newest initiates to the Oxfam Action Corps filed into a small conference room in Washington DC as news of the earthquake in Nepal was breaking. The group of Oxfam supporters, including navy veterans, nurses, professors, development workers, high school coaches, facilities managers and other professions, had come to the 9th annual Action Corps training to lobby Congress for US food aid reform and to train for a year of leadership service to Oxfam in the 14 US cities they call home such as New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and even Washington DC.
As they took their seats and greeted one another, another matter became clear: one of their members was awaiting devastating personal news from her home country, Nepal. Rallying to her support, by the second day of the training they were using their break time to mount a fundraising drive for Nepal, complete with a homemade video.
On Tuesday, April 28, Action Corps members took to Capitol Hill to hold 54 meetings with Congress to urge reform of US food aid-5 of which were member level! In fact, one prominent Senator, Dick Durbin (D-IL), agreed to co-sponsor the very same day while others responded favorably and provided intel. The earthquake underscored the urgency of our call to modernize the program. Since the 1950s the US has shipped food aid slowly across the oceans, but the Food for Peace Reform Act of 2015, Senate bill 525, would permit US food aid to be purchased locally near the crisis and delivered faster and cheaper, thus reaching 12 million more people in need without additional cost to the US taxpayer.
If you’re not yet familiar with the Oxfam Action Corps, they are dedicated Oxfam supporters from a variety of professional backgrounds and ages in 14 US cities. They volunteer to build
our US constituency and voice before Congressional and corporate targets. In its first 8 years the Action Corps held more than 600 lobby visits (half in-district, half in DC), gathered more than 65,000 petition signatures, hosted or presented at 1,650 public events and collaborated with more than 500 local allies.
On behalf of the Action Corps team of Community & Engagement, including Brian Rawson, Clara Herrero, Bob Ferguson, Nancy Delaney, Alexandria McMahon and Anoushka Barpujari, we would like to thank all our new Organizers for dedicating themselves to this project, and our Peer Advisors for their support (see our prior blog post for their profiles). We would also like to thank the Oxfam staff who gave their time to help make our training a success, and to all those who provide support to the Oxfam Action Corps throughout the year in their home cities. THANK YOU!
Announcing the first US Red Nose Day comedy telethon, May 21 on NBC, with proceeds to go to Oxfam America and several other organizations