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April 10, 2014: Hunger Seder in US Capitol Raises Awareness of Challenges for Seniors

04:03 PM Apr 10, 2014

Hunger Seder in US Capitol Raises Awareness of Challenges for Seniors

‘Let all who are hungry, come and eat.’ This invitation, part of the traditional Passover seder, inspired a call for Congress to provide nutrition support for seniors at the 6th annual National Hunger Seder in the U.S. Capitol. The event, organized by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, brought together Members of Congress, Administration officials, and faith and anti-hunger groups for a model Passover seder designed to raise awareness and inspire advocacy around the special needs of seniors struggling with hunger.

Using a specially adapted Passover haggadah, the attendees called on Congress to provide adequate funding for nutrition programs in the Older Americans Act (OAA).

“Nearly 5 million American seniors struggle to put enough nutritious food on the table,” says Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. “And unfortunately, that number is only projected to grow as 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 each day between now and 2020. We enacted the Older Americans Act to help eligible seniors, but funding for its programs hasn’t kept pace with need or inflation. We must secure adequate funding for these vital programs now — to help all seniors who struggle today, and to prepare for the ‘silver tsunami’ that is headed our way.”

The National Hunger Seder is part of the MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder mobilization, which this year will include more than 20 Hunger Seder events taking place in communities across the country around the Passover holiday. Resources and materials for the Hunger Seder mobilization are available at

“Passover is a celebration of freedom for the Jewish people. But we cannot fully celebrate until we all have been liberated. This must include liberation from the oppression of hunger,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “Each of us is responsible to act, but only Congress can provide the funds necessary to give our seniors the means and ability to stay in their homes and communities for longer than they might otherwise be able.”

Participants in the National Hunger Seder included, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), officials from the White House, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the United States Small Business Association, and representatives from National Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels Association of America, National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, Food Research and Action Center, Bread for the World, National Council of Churches,National Council of Jewish Women, Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies, The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Islamic Relief USA, MomsRising and others.

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