JCRC Update: Preservation of Life

[by Matt Goldberg, Director]
Jewish Community Relations Council

Action in Response to a Tragedy

There are obviously very few words that are sufficient to comfort the families of the innocent victims of the shooting in Newtown, CT, most of whom were children. Our entire nation was stunned and horrified, as was most of the world, whose leaders conveyed their condolences to President Obama.

On behalf of the JCRC, we express our heartfelt support for the victims’ families and community, and will work with our partners in Louisville and around the country to help our elected leaders find the necessary solutions to see that the chances of something like this happening again are substantially reduced.

Food Stamp Challenge

In addition to concerns regarding the shooting in Newtown, negotiations regarding the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” are threatening a vital government program designed to feed millions of our fellow Americans.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (also known as Food Stamps), provides food assistance to around 40 million Americans, and this assistance is meager. The average benefit is $31.50 for an individual for an entire week!

Obviously it is difficult to get the proper nutrition you would need on such a small allowance, but even this small benefit is now a pawn to negotiations to solve our national economic crisis. As the President and Congress discuss whose taxes to raise and what spending to cut, the SNAP program has been mentioned as one of the programs being discussed as going on the proverbial chopping block.

It is a worthwhile effort to seek to reduce government spending as a means to reduce our debt and encourage economic growth … but not at the expense of our most vulnerable. The entire program cost is quite low, relatively speaking, and yet it reaches many people.

Again, our legislators need to hear from us about protecting programs that assist the less fortunate.
To that end, I encourage you to join the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS) in raising awareness of this issue by participating in the Food Stamp Challenge, from January 20-27.

Participating only requires that you agree to live on $31.50 for the entire week. You cannot eat food already in your home (except for condiments), and you cannot seek free food elsewhere. Then join in a communal dairy potluck dinner on January 27 from 5-7 p.m. at JFCS.

If you cannot join our community that week, I encourage you to do it when it is most convenient for you.
If you can participate, tell your friends and family what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you cannot participate, you can still tell your friends and family about the importance of the SNAP program.

There is no time to lose, as a “grand bargain” between Congress and the President is sure to include cuts to social programs. We need to do what we can to see that the SNAP program is safe from those cuts.

For more information on the Louisville Food Stamp Challenge and the closing potluck dinner at JFCS on January 27, please contact me at 238-2707 or mgoldberg@jewishlouisville.org.

On behalf of the Jewish Community Relations Council, I wish for you all a 2013 with more peace and prosperity.

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