National Hunger Seder at U.S. Capitol Highlights Hunger Among Military Families and Veterans

Event shines light on little-known problem and encourages citizens to engage in advocacy.

Washington, D.C. (April 12, 2016)—MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger urged Congress and the Administration to acknowledge that hunger is a very real problem for too many military families and veterans. The call for action came today during MAZON’s annual National Hunger Seder at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center and complements MAZON’s Fifth Question initiative and the special Hunger Seder Haggadah that have been created to call attention to military and veteran hunger this Passover.   

“Government safety net programs are not adequately meeting the needs of currently serving military families and veterans,” said Abby J. Leibman, president & CEO of MAZON. “Those who make great personal sacrifices in service to our country should not have to struggle to provide regular, nutritious meals to their families.”

Honorary co-sponsors of this year’s National Hunger Seder were:

  • Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), House Committee on Agriculture Chairman,
  • Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), House Committee on Agriculture Ranking Member,
  • Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Chairman, and
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Ranking Member.

Among those in attendance were USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), and U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black, as well as representatives from the National Military Family Association and The American Legion. Officials from the Administration and staff from the offices of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-MI) also participated in the seder.

The National Hunger Seder adapts the traditional Passover seder, telling the story of the Exodus with an emphasis this year on the prevalence and preventability of hunger among currently serving military families and veterans. The event underscored the importance of promoting effective and enduring public policies that will end hunger among these vulnerable populations.

“Jewish people all over the world begin their Passover seders by inviting ‘all who are hungry [to] come and eat,’” said Rabbi Joel Pitkowsky, who serves on MAZON’s board of directors and led the ceremony. “We know we cannot accommodate every hungry man, woman and child at our individual seders. But these words remind us that, as a society, we are responsible for them all – whether they are civilians or part of the extended military community.”

For more information about MAZON’s efforts to end hunger among military families and veterans, please visit mazon.org/military.

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Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA)

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rabbi Joel Pitkowsky

 
Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX)

Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX)

 
USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon

USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon

About MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

Founded in 1985, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger is a national nonprofit organization working to end hunger in the United States and Israel. MAZON, which means “food” in Hebrew, was the first national organization to rally the American Jewish community around the issue of hunger, and remains the only national Jewish organization dedicated exclusively to that same cause. For more information, please visit mazon.org.