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June 29, 2006 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-06-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Opinion

OTHER VIEWS

Taking A
Stand Against
Hunger

E

arlier this
month,
Yad Ezra
board members
and staff traveled to
Washington, D.C.,
for the National
Hunger Conference,
sponsored this
year by America's
Second Harvest, an
organization that
distributes food and
grocery products nationwide,
works to increase public aware-
ness and advocates for public
policies that benefit America's
hungry.
Our journey began early at
the airport. The juxtaposition
of munching on my muffin
while distributing the itinerary
and related reading materials
was not lost on me as I thought
about the difficulty of conveying
the needs of those who are "food
insecure" to people like me who
take the availability of food for
granted.
Upon arrival in Washington,
we immediately went to the
National Press Club, where U.S.
Department of Agriculture
Undersecretary Eric Bost,
who has traveled to Israel and
visited Yad Ezra in Berkley in
the past year, re-awakened us
to the plight of the 38 million
Americans who suffer from
"food insecurity!"
Next came panel discussions
on the Farm Bill for 2007. What,
some of us wondered, does the
Farm Bill have to do with feed-
ing impoverished people and
why is it such a core issue? And,
why would a group of suburban
Jewish adults opt to spend the
day learning about this?
The Farm Bill, as we learned,
is about a lot more than farmers
and farming. This bill enables
interested stakeholders (farm-
ers, industry representatives,
conservationists and non-prof-

26

June 29 • 2006

its) to help
Yad Ezra goes to Washington, D.C.: June Stillman of West Bloomfield,
board member; Allan Sefton of Beverly Hills, executive board member; Lea
design a bill
Luger of West Bloomfield, development director; U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg;
that includes
program fund- Elaine Ryke of Rochester Hills, human services director; Lisa Kirsch
Satawa of Bloomfield Hills, board member; Jeff Katz of Oak Park, board
ing and legis-
lative changes member; and Joel Jacob of West Bloomfield, advisory committee member.
that impact
the financial
men who made time in their
omy, regarding jobs, purchases,
security/sta-
hectic schedules to meet with
etc."
bility of vulnerable
us, thanks to the efforts of West
Our crash course on the Farm
families, businesses,
Bloomfield anti-hunger activist
Bill included the opportunity to
farmers, financial
and philanthropist Joel Jacob.
hear a keynote address by for-
institutions, and state
We met with Reps. Joe
mer South Dakota Sen. George
and local governments.
Knollenberg, R-9th District;
McGovern, now U.N. global
As one panelist stated, "Just
Mike Rogers, R-8th District; and
as the agriculture industry helps ambassador on hunger, who,
Sander Levin, D-12th District, to
along with former Kansas Sen.
feed people, the agriculture
discuss how we at Yad Ezra are
Bob Dole, has been instrumen-
industry needs people to feed."
committed to helping feed those
tal in the fight against hunger.
Panelists representing mem-
in need and, at
Sen. McGovern
bers of the House and Senate,
the same time,
remarked that
agriculture, industry, advo-
we want our gov-
the number of
cacy groups and faith-based
ernment to make
deaths world-
organizations spoke about the
a commitment to
wide due to
contents of the Farm Bill, which
protect the Food
AIDS, tuber-
includes "a strong nutrition title
Stamp Program.
culosis and
that strengthens and enhances
Food stamps
malaria com-
critical anti-hunger programs,
are a major
bined total less
such as TEFAP (The Emergency
lifeline to those
Food Assistance Program), CSFP than the num-
MMUN ITY CARE
who are impov-
ber of deaths
(Community Supplemental
erished; we must
due to hunger.
Food Program) and the Food
do our part to
On our
Stamp Program to ensure that
ensure they are available for
second day, we met with Jean
these initiatives reach as many
Daniel from the USDA office and all who need them. As Imam
low-income families, seniors
Misbahudeen Rufai, one of the
Ellen Vollinger and Ellen Teller
and children as possible."
faith-based panelists, said, "It's
TEFAP provides quality, nutri- from FRAC (Food Research
not a political issue; it's a human
Action Center), who oversee
tious food to hungry Americans
issue!' 111
food stamps and public policy.
and, at the same time, helps
Armed with information, we
strengthen the agricultural
were now prepared to visit
economy through the use of
with three Michigan congress-
surplus commodities. CSFP
provides food for seniors, low-
income pregnant and postpar-
Yad Ezra, the Berkley-based kosher food pantry, urges you
tum women and young children.
to contact your U.S. legislators to urge their support of a
Food stamps, the foundation for
strong nutrition title in the 2007 Farm Bill that strength-
hunger relief M the U.S., provide
ens and enhances critical anti-hunger programs, includ-
critical support to low-income
ing the Emergency Food Assistance Program, Community
families.
Supplemental Food Program and Food Stamps.
A lot of time, energy, talent
Sen. Carl Levin, Levin.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm
and effort is going into this bill
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Stabenow.senate.gov/email.htm
to protect the status of the food
Rep. Sander Levin, slevin®hr.house.gov
stamp program, especially in
Rep. Joe Knollenberg, rep.knollenberg@mail.house.gov
light of a budget deficit. As Eric
Rep. Mike Rogers, mike.rogers@mail.house.gov
Bost said, "Every $5 in food
stamps yields $9 for our econ-

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