UJC SUPPORTED CONFERENCE REPORT WILL HELP SUPPORT NEEDS OF COMMUNITY FOOD BANKS
May 15, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 15, 2008) – Legislation approved by Congress this week would help millions of Americans receive proper food and nutrition, said leading Jewish advocacy group.
On Wednesday, the House approved the conference report for the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007, also referred to as the Farm Bill. The Senate subsequently approved the conference report on Thursday. In addition to reauthorizing funding and programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this legislation authorizes increased funding for federal nutrition programs, reforms and updates the federal food stamp program, and increases resources for community food banks across the country.
In total, the conference report invests an additional $10.3 billion in federal nutrition programs. This increase in funding will help ensure that the nation’s most vulnerable continue to have access to food through the revised food stamps program, community kitchens, school programs, and others.
United Jewish Communities (UJC), which is a founding National Board member of the Emergency Food and Shelter program (EFSP), has strongly supported passage of this legislation. The EFSP program provides supplemental funding for the nation’s area food banks and community kitchens to assist people who are at risk of hunger or homelessness.
The Farm bill increases resources to food pantries across the country to help food pantries overwhelmed by an increase in individuals seeking assistance as a consequence of rising costs of food and other pressures.
“With the cost of food at record levels and an economic downturn pinching family budgets, we have a responsibility to help the most vulnerable,” said William Daroff, United Jewish Communities’ Vice President for Public Policy and Director of the Washington Office. “For 25 years UJC has served as a member of the EFSP National Board, working with other service organizations and our local communities to ensure that soup kitchens and food banks in more than 2,500 cities and counties across the country have the resources they need. These centers have worked to feed millions and this conference report will improve their ability to help fight hunger. I thank the House and Senate for their bipartisan support and encourage the President to sign this timely bill into law.”
The House approved the Farm Bill conference report by a bipartisan vote of 318 to 106. The Senate approved the bill 81 to 15. The Farm Bill now moves to the President for his consideration.
United Jewish Communities (UJC) represents 155 Jewish federations and 400 smaller Jewish communities across North America. UJC- Washington brings the federations’ voice to Capitol Hill and to the White House by advocating for life-saving and life-enhancing humanitarian assistance through more than 1,300 social service and healthcare institutions, community centers, schools and summer camps in nearly 800 cities and towns in North America, in Israel and in 60 other countries around the world.