April 7: The Crisis of Hunger in the Era of COVID-19

April 7, 2021

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis that caused the number of people experiencing hunger to double to 80 million, legislators and anti-hunger policy experts are calling for long-term relief for families across the country.

On April 7, in a virtual forum co-hosted with the Philadelphia Jewish Community Relations Council, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) spoke with Abby J. Leibman, President and CEO of MAZON, about the need to sustain expanded federal nutrition assistance after the national recovery from COVID-19. A full video recording of the event is available here.

“Hunger is a devastating reality for too many Americans, including older Americans and communities of color. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made this reality worse,” said Senator Casey. “The American Rescue Plan invested in food assistance through increases to SNAP, WIC, Pandemic-EBT and programs serving seniors, but we have a long way to go when it comes to meeting the demands of food insecurity in our Nation and around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to speak about issues with a moral weight that are too often overlooked by Washington, and I thank MAZON for their work to bring these issues to the forefront.”

During the event, Sen. Casey and Leibman outlined the significant expansion in nutrition assistance that Congress passed as part of the American Rescue Plan, as well as Casey’s work as Chair of the Special Senate Committee on Aging to address unique challenges facing seniors experiencing hunger, especially those within the LGBTQ community who often face unique food security challenges.

“While millions of people in America are newly facing hunger as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hunger crisis predated the pandemic and, unless we act boldly, it will linger after leaders declare the virus defeated,” said Leibman. “Senator Casey has proved himself, time and again, to be a champion for Americans, including those who are often overlooked like LGBTQ seniors. Hunger is a problem that we already know how to solve — all it takes is the political will to put our values into action. At MAZON, our Jewish values mandate that we pursue justice, and we are grateful to work alongside Senator Casey for a world where no one goes hungry in a land of plenty.”

Casey introduced and helped include the Nourishing Our Golden Years Act as a part of the 2018 Farm Bill, supported by MAZON, to reduce barriers for seniors receiving monthly food boxes. Casey also recently introduced the bipartisan Wise Investment in our Children (WIC) Act to expand nutrition assistance resources for children, and is currently working to pass further anti-poverty programs that build on the American Rescue Plan.

A full recording of the event is available here.