Prioritizing Puerto Rico in the 2023 Farm Bill
It is imperative that Congress prioritize passing bills like the Puerto Rico Nutrition Assistance Fairness Act, which will ensure that the people of Puerto Rico can access the same nutrition benefits as all other Americans. Our country’s leaders must reflect on our shared values, explore effective policy solutions, and act with compassion and humanity toward those in need of assistance.
On April 27th, MAZON joined the Coalition for Food Security Puerto Rico along with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Jenniffer González-Colón at a press conference to demand that Congress finally transition Puerto Rico from NAP, a limited program that fails to serve all Puerto Ricans in need, to SNAP, giving more people on the island access to life-saving nutrition assistance. Doing this would expand the number of people in Puerto Rico receiving food assistance between 9 and 12% — roughly 100,000 additional people — and monthly benefit amounts would increase, in some cases doubling. Puerto Rico would also gain access to millions of dollars in funding for other programs that complement SNAP, like Employment & Training, SNAP Ed, and federal grants for outreach and healthy food incentive programs.
MAZON’s Vice President of Public Policy, Josh Protas, represented MAZON and shared the following:
“All people deserve to be able to feed themselves and their families, and this must include the people of Puerto Rico, who have been ignored for far too long. In recent years, Puerto Ricans have weathered multiple overlapping crises, exacerbating already high rates of food insecurity caused by policies of territorial exceptionalism and unfair treatment by the federal government. MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger is committed to supporting and uplifting our partners in Puerto Rico, and we are proud to fight for the structural change needed to end hunger. The people of Puerto Rico are Americans, and they deserve the same access to critical nutrition assistance, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as everyone else. Both the Closing the Meal Gap Act and the Puerto Rico Nutrition Assistance Fairness Act take important steps toward fixing this egregious problem, and we urge our leaders to act swiftly to enact these vital changes in the 2023 Farm Bill and support the transition from NAP to SNAP for the people of Puerto Rico.”
MAZON’s Work in Puerto Rico
MAZON is guided by the Jewish teachings of t’zedek (seeking justice) and b’tselem Elohim (respecting the inherent dignity of every person). We believe that regardless of circumstance, no one deserves hunger. Every person should be able to feed themselves and their families with dignity and choice. We are proud to amplify the voices of those in Puerto Rico who have been ignored for too long. The U.S. has a 100-year colonial relationship with Puerto Rico, and that has created a false narrative that those on the island are dependent on the mainland — but the reality is that we should be investing in their desire for self-determination. We are committed to uplifting and empowering our partners in Puerto Rico to fight for the structural change we need to end hunger in all our communities — including the U.S. territories.
Learn more about MAZON’s work in Puerto Rico. Please join us in action: tell Congress to pass the Puerto Rico Nutrition Assistance Fairness Act!