A New York senator and congressman on Monday announced that they introduced new legislation in Congress to try to ensure that kosher food pantries receive enough food.
The legislation, sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Joe Crowley, both Democrats, requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make sure it ends up at kosher food banks, according to a press release.
Currently, the USDA purchases some kosher foods but does not track or label them. The bill stipulates that the agency buy kosher food from certified manufacturers and to monitor and label the food for kosher food banks.
“With food insecurity in New York reaching disturbing, historic highs and food banks facing extreme shortages of kosher meals, many families are at risk of hunger and malnutrition,” Gillibrand said.
The legislation would also require the current emergency food assistance program to devise a system to monitor and account for dietary restrictions of individuals who don’t have enough food and only eat kosher food due to religious beliefs.
Nearly 400,000 poor or near-poor Jewish households in New York City are struggling to get by, according to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, also quoted in the release. 52,000 Jewish children are living in poverty.