05:21 PM Apr 14, 2011
Last week, Representative Paul Ryan (WI-R), Chair of the House Budget Committee, introduced his 2012 budget proposal. This plan proposes to make $6.2 trillion in cuts over the next ten years, 2/3 of which will come from cuts to programs that serve low-income and vulnerable populations.
Potentially some of the most devastating cuts come in the area of anti-hunger and nutrition programs. Representative Ryan is proposing block granting the SNAP program, a move that would devastate this critical safety net program and take away its ability to respond to changes within the economy. In addition, the Ryan plan proposes to cut $127 billion in funds from SNAP over the next 10 years . The overwhelming majority of SNAP participants are households with children, seniors, and people with disabilities. The faith community has heard anecdotal evidence that many of the people currently on SNAP never thought they would need this assistance, but because of the current recession, their resources are limited and they have been forced to find alternative ways to provide their family with food.
This is precisely the reason the JCPA held our 3rd annual National Hunger Seder on Capitol Hill this morning. The National Hunger Seder, lead by Rabbi Steve Gutow, enlightened participants on the modern day oppression of hunger faced by too many Americans. In addition, we discussed the role community members must play in advocating for our neighbors on issues relating to SNAP, WIC, and other nutrition programs.
Leading portions of the seder were United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, Representatives James McGovern (MA-D) and Hansen Clarke (MI-D), advisors from the White House and faith-based offices of the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, JCPA Vice Chair Susan Turnbull, as well as leaders within the faith and anti-hunger communities and school children from the Jewish Primary Day School of Washington, D.C. Representatives McGovern and Clarke read from the specially-written hagaddah and made remarks on the need to work together and act now to put an end to hunger in America.
As our nation faces a serious budget battle and the need to protect human needs programs becomes greater, the Hunger Seder mobilization, with more than 40 community Hunger Seder events organized by JCRCs in 22 states across the country , couldn’t come at a better time. For more information on the Hunger Seder mobilization (including copies of the Hunger Seder hagaddah), please visit this website. To find a seder in your community, please go here.
For more information on anti-hunger advocacy opportunitie, please contact Elyssa Koidin.