MAZON Deeply Concerned About the Adverse Effects of Coronavirus Crisis on Low-Income Women and Families, Urges Further Congressional Action

March 16, 2020

LOS ANGELES (March 16, 2020)—MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger lauds the U.S. House of Representatives for recently passing the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (H.R. 6201) and urges the Senate to immediately follow suit.

Abby J. Leibman, MAZON’s President & CEO, cited the House-passed bill as a “critical first step to ensure that all Americans—including children, college students, seniors, veterans, Native Americans, and those living in rural and remote communities—can access the life-saving nutrition assistance they need. Further policy responses will be needed in the days and weeks ahead, but first we need to prioritize the needs of Americans who struggle with food insecurity on a regular basis.”

Leibman added that, “Nearly 40 million Americans struggle to put food on the table on a regular basis, and the coronavirus has real potential to exacerbate their struggles. Food pantries and other service providers around the country are scrambling to meet the need, but there is no way they can address the full scope of need.”

Last week, Leibman and Liza Lieberman, MAZON’s Director of Public Policy, expressed deep concern for women and other food insecure Americans in an article featured in Ms. Magazine titled “Coronavirus, Women, and Hunger—An Overlooked Intersection.” The opinion piece details how the outbreak—and the subsequent failure of the Administration to properly counter it—will disproportionately affect women, especially those who rely on federal nutritional assistance.

Leibman and Lieberman wrote, “Many of us are stunned by the coronavirus outbreak, unsure exactly what to do or how to proceed […] But, what if you don’t have enough money to feed your family in the first place? What if you work in the service industry, where you can’t just work remotely? […] What if your children’s school closes and they don’t have access to their usual free or reduced-price meals? These are questions facing millions of low-income Americans—and particularly women—as we face growing uncertainty and tumult.”

In response to the growing global health pandemic and national state of emergency, MAZON is urging the Administration, Congress, and states to increase and expand flexibility for nutrition programs for all those who need assistance, particularly those who are among our nation’s most vulnerable populations. MAZON is also leading a Jewish community sign-on letter along with the National Council of Jewish Women.