Food Stamp Challenge Brings Attention to Hunger in America

More than 150 rabbis and cantors lived on a food budget of $31.50 for one week as part of the 2012 Jewish Community Food Stamp Challenge, raising the issue of hunger – and the solutions available – in congregations around the country. Engaging over 700 new individual activists, the Challenge also raised over $60,000 for anti-hunger programs and the participating Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements. “In April 2012, SNAP participation rose to a record level of nearly 46.2 million Americans – an increase of more than 1.5 million people compared with one year before,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “As Jews, and as Americans, we are guided by a moral vision of how we must treat the most vulnerable members of our society. Through this challenge, that vision was articulated in communities in 24 states from coast to coast. And we must continue to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to ending hunger in America.” Building on the momentum of the 2012 Jewish Community Food Stamp Challenge, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger will host their annual Hunger Seder mobilization in March. Throughout the United States, dozens of communities will hold events and reinterpret the Passover Seder to include readings and reflections about hunger and poverty in America. “For the past four years, this powerful program has raised awareness about the ongoing hardship faced by millions of Americans who cannot afford to eat by tying solutions to hunger to the haggadah’s theme of freedom,” said JCPA Chair Larry Gold. “The incredible amount of involvement from rabbis and cantors from the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements has laid important groundwork to continue the conversation about Judaism and hunger in congregations around the country.”

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