WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish organizations hosted a seder for members of Congress to highlight the importance of fighting hunger in America.
The National Hunger Seder, which was sponsored by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and MAZON, was held March 29 in Washington to push for protecting and reinforcing funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
The refunding of SNAP will be considered in the 2012 Farm Bill reauthorization by Congress.
Lawmakers that participated in the seder included Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Concannon also was in attendance.
Rabbi Steve Gutow, the JCPA’s president, said in a statement that “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."
“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,” Gutow said.
MAZON’s president and CEO, Abby Leibman, said that “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.”