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On Wednesday, February 15 from 4 - 7:30 pm, Occupiers will rally at the Will Rogers Memorial Park at9650 Sunset Blvd. in Beverly Hills to call attention to the corrupting influence of money in politics. Coinciding with a $35,800 a plate presidential campaign fundraiser at a wealthy TV producer's home nearby, the rally will also launch the Occupiers' fundraising drive for Market Match, a program which doubles the value of food stamps that can be used at farmers markets. Representatives of Occupy LA, Move to Amend, MoveOn.org, OLA Food Committee, Hunger Action LA and Women Occupy will speak beginning at 5:30.

occupy beverly hills

According to organizer Lauren Steiner, Benedict Canyon resident and member of the Occupy LA Food Committee, "The Occupy movement is not just about protesting things. We also aim to model what we wish to see in the world. At the encampments, occupiers were housing and feeding the homeless and providing free medical care and free educational workshops to all. In this land of plenty, it is unconscionable that some people can afford to spend $35,800 to have dinner with the President while others are homeless and hungry. The $2 million they hope to raise could provide dinners to one million food insecure people in Los Angeles County. But instead of addressing these and other issues the 99%, we see our elected officials represent the desires of the corporations and billionaires who get them elected."

According to Frank Tamborello from Hunger Action LA, "17% of LA County residents, about 1.7 million people, are food insecure. Visits to food banks are higher than ever. And it is not just the usual suspects - the poor, senior citizens or the homeless anymore. It's families with kids often headed by adults with jobs. 40% of food stamp recipients work. Most people don't even know they can use food stamps at a farmers market. And half the people who are eligible for food stamps don't apply for them.

lauren steiner

Lauren Steiner

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So if Occupy LA is going to raise money and create awareness for our Market Match program, we are ecstatic." The OLA Food Committee plans to volunteer at tables at area Farmers Markets to promote the Market Match program and solicit donations. It is hoped that the Beverly Hills Market will participate.

According to organizer Alissa Kokkins, West Hollywood resident and member of the OLA Actions Committee, "After calling Super PAC donations a "threat to our democracy," Obama's recent decision to accept Super PAC money is nothing short of disappointing. This move is one of many disparities between Obama's promises and actions. Therefore I cannot help but question the usefulness of a president who cannot lead by example."

Lauren Steiner, Contact Person