“When you are asked in the world to come, ‘What was your work?’ and you answer: ‘I fed the hungry,’ you will be told: ‘This is the gate of the Lord, enter into it, you who have fed the hungry'” (Midrash to Psalm 118:17).
As the ancient sages teach, feeding the hungry is holy work. Although we have wonderful local non-profits like Philabundance and the Jewish Relief Agency that play an important role, the primary way that we feed the hungry is through paying taxes to fund government programs that address hunger in our country on a large scale. We know that in recent years over 45 million Americans have relied on the SNAP program (formerly Food Stamps), including people in need in our own community. In addition to millions of children, seniors, and the disabled, these people also include many low-paid working adults who do not earn a living wage and need the modest help that the SNAP program provides to supplement the food they can afford to buy. Now, once again, that very modest help is threatened by budgets proposed in Congress that would slash the SNAP program – the most efficient and effective anti-hunger and anti-poverty program we have – by billions or even tens of billions of dollars. This is literally taking food from the mouths of the hungry, and it will take a terrible human toll. As heirs to an ancient tradition of concern for the hungry, we have an obligation to raise our voices and demand that the hungry be fed in our nation, in our name. For more information and a way to contact legislators on this issue, please click through to the Jewish Council on Public Affairs website here.