MAZON leads national faith-based organizations calling for White House Conference on Ending Hunger
Since launching a series of Rules Committee hearings about food insecurity earlier this spring, House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern continues to make clear the goal to convene a new White House Conference on Ending Hunger. The last, and only, conference of its kind convened in 1969 and resulted in dramatically expanded and improved federal food assistance programs which transformed the social safety net – programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
However, as economic inequality deepens in the U.S., especially exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these programs no longer fully meet the significant levels of need in 21st century America. MAZON is proud to join with Chairman McGovern and other allies in calling on the Biden-Harris Administration to convene a new White House Conference on Ending Hunger.
This summer, MAZON led the effort to gather support from other national faith-based organizations whose clarion call to end hunger stems from our respective religious values and teachings that inspire us to work towards a more just society. You can read the full letter below or online here.
Dear Mr. President,
We, the undersigned organizations, a collection of faith-based organizations whose traditions call on us to collectively address the needs of those most vulnerable, are proud to join with House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern in calling for a White House Summit on Food, Nutrition, and Hunger.
Our respective scriptures inform us that all people are made in the image of the divine and as organizations guided by our faith and values, we work every day to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of income or economic situation. It is far too common that those who do seek assistance are marginalized or stigmatized, so much so that even those who would otherwise qualify for such assistance refrain for fear of becoming stigmatized themselves. We also know that food insecurity is a distinct barrier for millions who struggle every day to lift themselves out of the cycle of poverty and hunger. Furthermore, we also know that addressing food insecurity is also a matter of justice because of generations of systemic bias, including systemic racism and sexism that have led to higher rates of food insecurity amongst Black, Latinx, and Native American households in the United States.
Federal programs like SNAP and WIC, which provide critical assistance to those at risk of food insecurity and respond effectively during times of heightened need, are constantly under attack. Furthermore, in this time of great economic inequality, the benefits provided by these programs do not match the current reality of need across this country. Our federal government must do more to improve and strengthen vital nutrition assistance programs to fully meet the needs of those who go hungry in this country — not undermine them and try to abdicate responsibility onto religious groups and charities.
Though the charitable food sector does an important job of providing people with direct access to food in emergency situations, we know that charity alone is not enough to end hunger in this country. During COVID-19 we saw the charitable sector stretched to the brink, while programs like SNAP were clearly vital and effective lifelines for millions of Americans. Hunger is a political problem that can only be solved with policy solutions.
We call on the Biden-Harris Administration to bring together policymakers, advocates, and those with lived experience together in a White House Conference to end hunger in America once and for all. In a country blessed with an abundance of food, no one should go hungry. We look forward to an opportunity to work together with your Administration to provide leadership for this summit and respond to the unacceptable crisis of hunger in America.
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Bread for the World
Union for Reform Judaism
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC)
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
Church World Service
National Council of Jewish Women
Challah for Hunger
Presbyterian Church (USA), Office of Public Witness
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Catholic Charities USA
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
The Friends Committee on National Legislation
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Jewish World Watch
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
Jewish Labor Committee
CCT Latino Network
Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies
Islamic Relief USA
Jewish Federation of Chicago
Disciples Center for Public Witness
Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice