National Hunger Seder in U.S. Capital Highlights Food Insecurity in America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Benjamin Suarato
Jewish Council for Public Affairs 
bsuarato@thejcpa.org 
202-212-6031 (o); 518-810-7225(c)

National Hunger Seder in U.S. Capital Highlights Food Insecurity in America

Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2012) – With 1 in 6 Americans struggling to put nutritious food on the table every day, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger (MAZON) hosted Members of Congress, Administration officials, and national faith and anti-poverty leaders at the National Hunger Seder on March 29, 2012, at the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center, where participants made the case for protecting and strengthening SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) as Congress begins consideration of the 2012 Farm Bill Reauthorization.

“Jewish people all over the world begin their Passover Seders by inviting ‘all who are hungry [to] come and eat,’” said Abby J. Leibman, MAZON’s President & CEO. “While we know we cannot include 50 million Americans in our individual Seders, these words remind us that, as a society, we are responsible for them – a powerful and timely message as Congress considers the Farm Bill and the fate of our nutrition safety net.”

The National Hunger Seder adapts the traditional Passover Seder, telling the story of the Exodus with an emphasis on the moral imperative to end hunger in America. The National Hunger Seder is part of the 4th annual MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder mobilization, which includes more than 45 Hunger Seder events taking place in communities across the country around the Passover holiday.

“At a time of such startlingly high food insecurity, it is unconscionable to consider limiting access to a program like SNAP that not only keeps millions out of hunger and poverty, but does so with incredible efficiency and success,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “The enormity of hunger in our country belies our wealth and abundance, but can be stemmed. That will be the message in communities across the country as part of this unique mobilization. Over the past four years, Hunger Seders have brought together not only Jews, but hunger advocates, faith and political leaders to build awareness and support for the tools available to end hunger in America.”

Participants in the National Hunger Seder included USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), as well as representatives from the White House. Also attending were delegates from Bread for the World, Half in Ten, Alliance to End Hunger, National Council of Churches, American Jewish World Service, Jewish Funds for Justice, National Council of Jewish Women, The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, JCPA, MAZON, Jewish Primary Day School and others.

In addition to the National Hunger Seder and Hunger Seder mobilization led by the JCPA and MAZON, other Jewish social justice organizations are hosting Passover Seders to raise awareness about food and justice issues, including a Food and Justice Seder being hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Progressive Jewish Alliance & Jewish Funds for Justice and in cooperation with JCPA and Mazon.

For more information, please visit hungerseder.org.

About the Jewish Council for Public Affairs

JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 14 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.

About MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and alleviating hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds. For more information, please visit http://mazon.org.