WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - Religious leaders from 16 states and all faiths brought a united message to Capitol Hill on Thursday: don't push the poor and vulnerable off the impending fiscal cliff.
They argued that deep cuts in food and medical assistance programs will force more people into poverty.
Andrea McCarren found there's concern at one local church that's already struggling to provide food baskets for the poor.
"Over here, we need fruit and we also need potatoes," said volunteer Elizabeth Brooks.
"Your heart goes out to them. Especially when you sit down and you have food and you know they don't," said Patricia Lockwood, another volunteer.
The church volunteers don't like to ask for help, but they do, for those who can't.
"Especially when they have children... and you know that they're hungry," Lockwood added.
" I'm always the person that wants to help." said volunteer Bertha Coleman.
"We need apple sauce, we need cranberry sauce," added Brooks.
As many as 40 families ask for food every month, even when the church cupboards have gone bare.
"Sometimes we go in our pockets to try to help," Lockwood said.
"Well, we try to do the best we can. I also go to a flea market and there's two people at the flea market that gives me greens and sweet potatoes," said Coleman.
"Don't push the poor off the fiscal cliff. They're going to get hurt the most. They didn't cause the deficit. Let's not make them pay for the deficit," said the Senior Pastor of the Florida Avenue Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Earl Trent, Jr. who adds that most of the poor are children, whose parents are struggling. "It's the people making decisions between rent and medicine, food and clothing."
And he has a heartfelt request for Congress: "Let's exhibit political courage and leadership."
Until then, three strong women will keep asking for donations. Not for themselves, but for others.
"We do the best we can with what we have," Coleman said.
Those who want to donate food or money to the Florida Avenue Baptist Church can call 202-667-3409. Website is: www.flavbc.org and hours are M-F, 9-5; Sat & Sun, 7-3.