End Child Poverty California Movement Meets with Congress Members to Urge Support for Children and Families

End Child Poverty movement co-chairs Dolores Huerta and Conway Collis, alongside dozens of End Child Poverty California movement partners, have begun speaking directly with members of Congress in California and now others across the country during the COVID-19 crisis. In the video advocacy calls, partners are sharing stories of what they are seeing on the ground as the crisis continues to unfold:

  • desperate need for cash-in-hand for families
  • food banks running out of food
  • transition-age foster youth with nowhere to go
  • parents in tears finding out they qualify for money in tax credits
  • community health clinics trying to get enough PPE as prices increase tenfold

Partners are also sharing clear ways that families and children in crisis can be supported in the next stimulus and relief package. The goal of the End Child Poverty California movement is clear: all children deserve to be healthy, fed and housed–in crisis and every day.

Thank you Representatives Adam Schiff, Anna Eshoo, Karen Bass, Ted Lieu and Zoe Lofgren for being champions for children and families.

Read additional stories of impact on our California stories page.

Video Call with Rep. Jimmy Gomez, 5/12/20

What motivates me is how working class people deal with daily life everything from how they work, how they make money, how do they get health care, how do they pay for their rent, their mortgage, based on my own experience, growing up without health care, seeing my parents work multiple jobs, seeing how these programs really provide a lifeline and even a boost up to really change their lives. Since coronavirus hit, how do we make sure how these people don’t get left behind? The coronavirus isn’t creating a health crisis, the disparities were already there. We’re trying to make sure that when we come out of this, we don’t have a further divide between the haves and the have nots.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-CA

We are seeing unbelievable needs. In the last 6 weeks we’ve already distributed 30,000 diapers, thousands of meals and other essentials like soap, and the demand is getting greater every day. We’ve provided 700 digital devices to preschool-age kids, because the digital divide affects them too, not just the K-12 students.  We are the safety net — the wraparound services – and we’re keeping kids engaged. At one of our partner schools in Watts, out of 350 students, 150 are unaccounted for. We’re really looking at a lost generation of students at this point. The services for pre-k through community college are so crucial.

Martine Singer, President & CEO, Children’s Institute

Video Call with Rep. Zoe Lofgren, 5/1/20

I’m grateful to all of you. I’m grateful for the work you do supporting children and families every day. We’ve taken note of every single effort you’ve raised. We will go to the speaker re-energized by this call, outlining the issues you’ve emphasized in particular, to see what we can get. We need substantial resources to the states… and [to] programs and nonprofits that are feeding children, housing children… we’re going to do our very best.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-CA

80% of people coming into get food now are coming in to get it for the first time. The situation is dire. We’re dealing with three crises at once: the pandemic, the economic collapse, and massive hunger.

Father Jon Pedigo, Catholic Charities Santa Clara County

Video Call with Rep. Anna Eshoo, 4/30/20

I want to say “thank you” to all the participants and the extraordinary work that you do day in and day out…We’re talking about people that are hungry, we’re talking about people who need nutrition, we’re talking about food banks that are running out of money. The case is clear that much more needs to be done. This is an important conversation that we’ve had today. I’ll do everything I can humanly do to address these things.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-CA

Because of the existing fragility of the system of care, a recent national analysis showed that we could lose up to 4.5 million child care slots as a result of this crisis, including losing an estimated 51% in California if child care providers don’t receive support in the next few weeks.

Stacy Lee, Children Now

Video Call with Rep. Adam Schiff, 4/28/20

[W]e are seeing so much of society through the lens of this pandemic and it’s revealing so many of the changes we need to make. We need to ‘build back better.’ We need to take care of those most in need and also build the county back better than where we found it. [We can] emerge stronger as a result. In the meantime, we need to make sure families can get through this. 

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-CA

[The increased child tax credit] is one way that these families will be able to put food on the table, pay the rent… this is one way that families can sustain themselves. We’re glad for your leadership and we know you’re going to be our champion.

Civil Rights Leader Dolores Huerta, Dolores Huerta Foundation

Video Call with Rep. Ted Lieu, 4/28/20

Thank you for being on this call and fighting the good fight. [The latest relief packages] are a necessary first step but not enough, far to small and far too short. 

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-CA

What we’re seeing is our communities falling deeper into poverty. We’ve been working on workers rights and protecting against exploitation. Over the last few weeks those calls have stopped and all the calls we’re getting are from people who are no longer employed at all. Oftentimes folks in our communities don’t have access…state agencies are overwhelmed… Looking at the expansion of the child tax credit–it’s a really critical piece to enhance income for low-income families and ultimately help families to get the cash assistance they need.

Aileen Louie, Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Video Call with Rep. Karen Bass, 3/26/20

When you have a crisis like this, you don’t know how your communities are going to be impacted. It’s why the work you’re doing is critically important. We need to educate about poverty. Everything your campaign is doing is lifting everyone’s education. You’re setting an example that can be replicated across the country.

This is a pandemic. It doesn’t discriminate based on whether a person is documented or undocumented. We will not succeed in a fourth package unless we organize. We’re talking about bringing together the entire civil rights and social justice community. We need to be very prescriptive in what we need to get passed and then fight for it. 

Rep. Karen Bass, D-CA, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus

These Federal legislative visits have averaged 45 participants per call for a total of 276 participants across six calls to-date (5-20-20).