Leaders to Live on $1 a meal
Saperstein: With the 2007 reauthorization of the Farm Bill upon us, Congress has the chance to strengthen the Food Stamp Program and help more families put food on the table in the richest country in the world.
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Washington, DC, September 17, 2007 – To highlight the inadequacy of current food stamp benefits and to push for a strong nutrition title in the 2007 Farm Bill, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, pledged today to live on only $1 worth of food per meal—the average Food Stamp Program benefit level—from September 14 to 22.
Rabbi Saperstein is taking the “Food Stamp Challenge” with Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs and Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin of the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network, as well as Representatives Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).
Rabbi Saperstein issued the following statement about his participation in the “Food Stamp Challenge:”
The Food Stamp Program is the country’s single most important anti-hunger program. Yet at a time when 38 million Americans, including 13.9 million children, live in hunger or regularly face food insecurity, the program’s effectiveness has been increasingly diluted. With the 2007 reauthorization of the Farm Bill upon us, Congress has the chance to strengthen the Food Stamp Program and help more families put food on the table in the richest country in the world.
By living on a food stamp budget for the next week, I know that I can not fully know the anxiety millions of Americans face on a daily basis. Walking a mile in someone’s shoes, after all, is not the same things as wearing those shoes each and every day. But I am hopeful that my participation will help illustrate the challenge faced by America’s poor every day, and the need for a strong Food Stamp program.
This week, during the High Holy Days, Jews across the country will reflect on the past year and the year ahead. Let us remember that Jewish tradition teaches that “A small bit of bread may be life to the poor; one who deprives them of it sheds blood” (Ben Sira 34:21). We have a moral responsibility to end hunger in America. By strengthening the Food Stamp Program, we come one step closer to fulfilling that holy task.