Five things to know about FAM for the week ending April 15, 2017:
- After months of organizing polite persistent meetings at her Bangor office, we were granted a rare meeting with Senator Susan Collins in Bangor on Wednesday. This was a brief, closed meeting limited to 8 people. We made the difficult choice of seven people (plus one of FAM’s Organizers), each prepared with one issue that is personally important – from the Muslim ban and the bombing of Syria, to health care, to child care. The issues were presented, Senator Collins responded, and even gave us additional time so that she could defend her recent votes/actions. A list of written questions and concerns from other constituents were were unable to attend was handed to the Senator. FAM Organizer Sandy Joy asked Senator Collins to co-sponsor the Providing Affordable Child Care for Everyone (PACE) Act, introduced by Senator Angus King. Sandy conveyed the importance of quality, affordable child care through her personal story as a single mother who only through a child care subsidy was able to put her son in quality care while she worked; he is now a senior at Harvard. (mic drop) Senator Collins said that she would review the bill and let us know her thoughts. Senator Collins’ office called later Wednesday afternoon to inform us that she WILL indeed co-sponsor the PACE Act. While there is still much to do, we consider this a huge victory! We don’t always agree with Senator Collins’ positions or votes, but we thank her for meeting with us and for agreeing to co-sponsor this progressive child care bill.
- Our 8th Annual Legislative Breakfast was held on Saturday, April 8th and was a big success. We had a full house and a panel of legislators from both sides of the aisle. Six issues currently in the legislature were presented to the panel by people directly impacted or knowledgeable, to which each legislator was asked to present his/her position. The presentations were followed by a Q&A session with the audience. A tasty locally-sourced breakfast was served at the beginning of the program. Most legislators were available after the program to chat with their constituents. Photos can be found on our Facebook page. Thanks to all who participated!
- Our annual Membership Campaign is underway. We currently have over 300 members for 2017, both renewing and new members; we are on track for our goal of 500! While we have a way to go, we are seeing members reactivating after a period of inactivity, and also seeing increases in contribution levels from many – reflecting the belief that our members have in our work.
- Food AND Medicine has signed on as a co-sponsor of Bangor Trump Tax Protest, organized by Indivisible and several other groups, and in collaboration with actions around the country on Saturday. Co-sponsors include Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Mainers for Accountable Leadership, Maine People’s Alliance, and Bangor Racial & Economic Justice Coalition.While the name of the event is “Trump Tax Protest” it is about more than simply demanding that President Trump release his tax returns – it’s equally about FAM’s core principles and beliefs in fairness, being pro-people and the allocation of resources.
- FAM’s Transportation for All has teamed up with PICA to organize the 2nd Annual Earth Day Festival, Starring the Community Connector. The event will be held Saturday, April 22nd from Noon to 2 pm at Pickering Square in Bangor. There will be kids’ activities, food, music and fun for the whole family – while highlighting the importance of public transportation.
Contact FAM@foodandmedicine.org or call 989-5860 for more information.