Joshua’s Heart Foundation (JHF) Jr. Advisory Board (JAB) members Meets the Office of Senator Rubio

By Florence French, FL Regional Organizer

Bread For The World

On Friday, February 8th, we met with Lea Padron, Regional Director, South Region and Annette Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the Office of Senator Marco Rubio.

We were joined by Peter England, former board member and longtime Bread for the World (BFW) advocate with BFW and Florence French, BFW, Florida Regional Organizer. Eight students from the JAB joined as well, Sophia Costa Martinez, Thalia Castro, Chaz Castro, Chiara Kusmierek, Amogh Baranwal, Nichole Hawley, Katia Gelbstein and Victoria Von Simpson.

Thalia Castro opened the meeting with a history of JHF and its accomplishments to today. Amogh Baranwal talked about his take away from the Racial Wealth Gap Learning Simulation, the very first activity in the advocacy training series with JHF and BFW.

Florence French went on to explain how this partnership between BFW and JHF came about and what we’ve been doing. She explained to Rubio’s staff that this advocacy training series will culminate with the students attending Lobby Days in June in Washington, DC from June 10th to June 11th. We asked that she get us on the Senators schedule on June 11th for a face to face with him.

Peter England then went into our asks for funds to be scaled up to 145 million for global nutrition. Florence French spoke of BFW’s 2019 Offering of Letters to Congress, “Better Nutrition, Better Tomorrow.” Congress should pass legislation to establish a new, scaled-up approach to global nutrition. Passage of a bill or resolution will strengthen U.S. commitment to global child nutrition and will lead other countries to join us in the global effort to end hunger. Congress should increase funding for global nutrition programs. At the same time, our government—through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in particular—should strengthen its capacity to address malnutrition. Nutrition for children experiencing hunger is a bipartisan issue that will draw support from people in churches across the country, people of goodwill, and leaders from both political parties in Washington, D.C. Lea Patron expressed that the senator has always been a humanitarian and understands that giving assistance to foreign countries saves us money in the long run. We advised her that we would be introducing a bill and she told us we could expect the Senator to sponsor the bill.

Lea shared her experiences with the Miami Children’s Initiative and their community garden and how she has been impacted by the crisis in Venezuela. This led to Nicole (JAB Secretary) sharing her experience with the Guatemalan migrant farm workers in Lakeworth, FL, it was quite a special moment and fit right into why people are crossing the border and why we should invest in international programs. One comment that Nicole made was this, “while the research and data that you mentioned are striking, I’ve already forgotten the numbers, what I do remember is the experience of working with girls my age who don’t have the opportunities that I do.”

We ended the meeting with the students wanting to know where the senator stands on gun control, at this point, every single student had something to share, it was a sobering moment for everyone. Lea Patron shared very intimate details of the Parkland families and the various things the senator is still involved in, again, another touching moment. We ended the meeting with kudos to the students and Lea Patron offering anyone who is interested, to reach out to her for an internship.

Thank you for raising such exceptional young people and we look forward to our continued service and learning together.

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