Saperstein: At this time of great economic uncertainty, ensuring that the most vulnerable among us can put food on the table is more important than ever before. The Farm Bill will help make this possible.
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Washington, DC, May 12, 2008 – In response to the bipartisan agreement reached by Congressional negotiators on the Farm Bill Reauthorization, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
I commend the House and Senate for completing a Farm Bill that significantly increases funding for crucial domestic anti-hunger programs. Although imperfect, the bill does much to address the challenges faced by Americans nationwide who do not have enough food, or food of good nutrition, to eat.
More than 35 million Americans regularly face hunger, one-third of them children. Yet current food stamp benefits average only $1 per person per meal. Food pantries across the country have reported that their shelves are empty or their supplies are at historically low levels. At this time of great economic uncertainty, ensuring that the most vulnerable among us can put food on the table is more important than ever before. The Farm Bill will help make this possible.
Jewish tradition demands our action. As it happens, in our weekly cycle of Torah reading, last week was the very week we read that “…when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger. I the Eternal am your God” (Leviticus 23:22).
The Farm Bill makes significant and essential investments in the Food Stamp Program, the nation’s most effective anti-hunger program, and The Emergency Food Assistance Program, which does so much to stock our nation’s food banks. There is more than enough food to feed all in need. Particularly in the United States, the richest country in the world, no child should ever go to school on an empty stomach or fall asleep with hunger pains.
We call on Congress to pass and President Bush to sign the Farm Bill into law and take us one step closer to ending hunger in America.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.