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March 10, 2010: Jewish Child and Anti-Hunger Advocates Mobilize to Fight Childhood Hunger

Posted by JCPA  

01:26 PM Mar 19, 2010

Jewish Leaders Join Senators, Representatives, Administration Officials and Teens in U.S. Capitol Building to Call for the Reauthorization of Child Nutrition Programs


 
WASHINGTON - As the deadline approaches for Congress to reauthorize billions of dollars to support vital child nutrition programs, the American Jewish community is uniting with its interfaith partners, and child and anti-hunger advocates to hold grassroots events across the country based on the traditional Passover Seder to encourage members of Congress to quickly reauthorize and strengthen the Child Nutrition Act.

Specifically, Jewish groups in more than 30 cities across the United States will hold more than 40 Child Nutrition Seders throughout the month of March and early April to mobilize and equip the Jewish community and its partners to be stronger anti-hunger advocates.  The goal of each Child Nutrition Seder is to give participants the tools to encourage federal, state and local leaders to meet President Obama's goal to end childhood poverty by 2015.  The Passover holiday begins at sundown on Monday, March 29.

Organized by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and MAZON:  A Jewish Response to Hunger, the "Let All Who Are Hungry Come and Eat:" A National Child Nutrition Seder Campaign specifically calls on Congress to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act before it expires and to allocate at least $1 billion in new funds each year for the next five years toward child nutrition programs.

"Jews celebrate Passover as a yearly reminder of the bitterness of slavery and the joy of freedom and self-sustainability," said Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA).  "As Jews celebrate our exodus from Egypt and the fulfillment of God's covenant with Abraham, we gather with family and friends to enjoy a festive meal.  This year, we are asking the Jewish community to not take the Seder meal for granted and to instead remember the daily suffering of those who live with hunger day in and day out.  This year's Child Nutrition Seders will hopefully shine a light on a far too common problem across the country.  One child left hungry is tragic, let alone millions who may not know when they will be fed their next meal.  Those who do not have enough to eat need our help and it is our responsibility to do our part."

The Seders in Washington and across the country will use a specially-written Haggadah based on the traditional Seder model, but modified to educate the Jewish community and its partners about the prevalence of hunger and malnutrition in the United States and the need for immediate action.   

Highlighting this year's series of Child Nutrition Seders across the country is the Congressional Seder led by U.S. Representative James McGovern (D-Mass.), chair of the Congressional Hunger Caucus.  Also participating are Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.).  Susan Sher, the chief of staff for First Lady Michelle Obama and Max Finberg, the director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will also lead portions of the Seder.  

Joining the congressional and administration officials at the U.S. Capitol Building was Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Joel Jacob, president of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, and Ambassador Tony Hall, Director of the Alliance to End Hunger.  

Students from the Jewish Primary Day School of Washington, D.C., and high school students from the Jewish-Latino Teen Coalition from Tucson, Arizona who are in Washington, D.C. doing advocacy work on poverty and hunger issues, also participated.

More information about this year's "Let All Who Are Hungry Come and Eat:" A National Child Nutrition Seder Campaign can be found at www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/CNS.

The Child Nutrition Seders in Washington and across the country were organized as part of JCPA's national grassroots efforts to stamp out poverty across the United States through its "There Shall Be No Needy Among You" initiative.

The "There Shall Be No Needy Among You" initiative was launched in 2007 to urge local, state and national leaders to advance legislation and programs that help provide food, shelter, additional work and educational opportunities for the nation's most vulnerable.  JCPA's grassroots efforts have led to an increased national commitment to reduce poverty and have inspired communities across the country to mobilize to sponsor anti-poverty programs as part of the "Fighting Poverty with Faith" campaign and other initiatives.

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