Saperstein: "Just as we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, today millions of children are bound by the shackles of hunger. And, just as we were freed, we now have the opportunity to free those millions of children from hunger."
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WASHINGTON, DC, March 17, 2010 - On the occasion of the Senate Agriculture Committees release of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act to reauthorize Child Nutrition Programs, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
The need to ensure that all children in our nation have regular access to nutritious food has never been greater. Recent data suggests that more than 49 million Americans live in food insecure households; more than 16 million of them are children. We welcome Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincolns introduction of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, to reauthorize Child Nutrition Programs, including the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Summer Food and Child and Adult Care Food Programs. The bill will provide a record $450 million in new annual funding over the next decade for these programs.
These vital federal nutrition programs, which serve meals to more than 31 million students each year, are essential to reduce childhood hunger in our country. However, these programs do more than ameliorate hunger: studies show that school meal programs have a positive effect on classroom behavior, test scores, school attendance, childhood obesity, and related health problems. Feeding children is a long term investment in our nations well being, allowing the next generation to succeed in school, and better preparing them for lifes challenges.
Next week, Jews around the world will celebrate Passover and read the Haggadahs directive to, "Let all who are hungry, come and eat." Just as we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, today millions of children are bound by the shackles of hunger. And, just as we were freed, we now have the opportunity to free those millions of children from hunger.
We look forward to working with members of Congress to enact a child nutrition bill that meets the needs of young Americans and helps pave the way to a healthy and prosperous future for all.