No Time for This Food Fight

Jews all over the world, Republican and Democrat, read the following Torah portion this Shabbat:

“And 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.” Leviticus 23:22

Interesting timing to cut $40 billion from the federal food assistance program.

“According to the [non-partisan] Congressional Budget Office, nearly four million people would be removed from the food stamp program under the House bill. A Census Bureau report released on Tuesday found that the food stamp program had kept about four million people above the poverty level and had prevented millions more from sinking further into poverty.”

Some may argue that feeding the hungry is a noble obligation of private citizens. Indeed it is. But I challenge them to explain their personal plan to feed 50,000 hungry people each week, which is what it would take if faith-based institutions were to replace the government’s food assistance. Our synagogue collects over 36,000 pounds of food during the High Holidays for our local food bank, a wonderful thing. But food banks alleviate only 3% of hunger, according to Samuel Chu, National Synagogue Organizer with MAZON in Los Angeles. That leaves a lot of hungry people, a lot of hungry days and nights.

As reported by the New York Times yesterday, “Charity can’t do it alone,” according to Margarette Purvis, president of the Food Bank for New York City,” a network of one thousand charities. “We simply can’t make up for a cut of this magnitude,” she said.

That famous liberal Bob Dole co-wrote with Tom Daschle in an Op-Ed in the L.A. Times this week:

“The latest proposal from the House is an about-face on our progress fighting hunger. If Congress lets this bill fall victim to the misguided and detrimental partisan politics we face today, the results for families and children challenged with hunger will be severe.”

What in the name of justice and compassion are House Republicans doing? Let’s not sit idly by. Let’s tell this “religious” right to read their Leviticus. Call your Senator to urge a vote protecting the hungry. Call your Congressman to find out how they voted and let them know your views.



3 thoughts on “No Time for This Food Fight

  1. Laura, I have to say that as a Republican like Bob Dole, I am in favor of reducing our National Debt and being more watchful as to who gets free food, cell phones and money. No Republican, even the religious Republicans, want children to starve. We Republicans want local governments and organizations to take over functions for which the Federal Government is mostly wasteful and initiates ridiculous regulations like those that are ruining our country’s coal industry and Obamacare which is costing way too much, causing job loss and ruining medical care in this country. Sorry, but it is wrong to say that Republicans want to starve anyone, prevent anyone from having access to health care and a good education. We differ on how our country should go about such things, not on whether they should be done. The thing that the Federal Government should be doing is to keep us all safe from international terror like coming to the assistance of ambassadors and such who are under attack in other countries, not leaving American citizens literally hanging. The worst thing about our President is that he has been the most divisive element our country has ever experienced probably since the Civil War. Republicans feel disenfranchised because our Presidency is so insular and we are not heard.

    1. Joyce, there’s a lot in there. Let’s talk about food. Local elected Republicans (Governors, state representatives) favor the food stamp program. It is administered by state and local governments, as you favor. The federal government funds it, and those funds go into local economies. If you look at the non-partisan statistics, you will see it is a hugely successful program at staving off severe malnutrition. To make it a political football is the height of cynicism, accomplished not by small-town Republicans, but by those sent to Washington.

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