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Passover Hunger Seder - Organizations urge Congress to fund adequate nutrition support for seniors; National Webinar 4/17 on the "Ryan-House Budget" and SNAP cuts

Passover Hunger Seder to support nutrition programs for seniors:
As you prepare for the upcoming holidays, we wanted to alert you the joint effort of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger to bring awareness to hunger and the special needs of seniors. National organizations are calling on Congress to provide adequate funding for the senior nutrition programs funded under the Older Americans Act (OAA).  
 
On Wednesday,  MA Congressman McGovern joined other members of Congress at the 6th Annual National Hunger Seder in the Capital to urge his colleagues to increase OAA nutrition benefits for seniors.  See " Seder in Capital calls attention to the hungry" San Diego Jewish World, 4/10/14  
The event, organized by the JCPA and MAZON, brought together Members of Congress, Administration officials, and faith and anti-hunger groups for a model Passover seder designed to raise awareness and inspire advocacy around the special needs of seniors struggling with hunger...‘Nearly 5 million American seniors struggle to put enough nutritious food on the table,’ said Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. ‘And unfortunately, that number is only projected to grow as 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 each day between now and 2020. We enacted the Older Americans Act to help eligible seniors, but funding for its programs hasn’t kept pace with need or inflation. We must secure adequate funding for these vital programs now — to help all seniors who struggle today, and to prepare for the ‘silver tsunami’ that is headed our way.’ 
 
The National Hunger Seder is part of the MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder mobilization, which this year will include more than 20 Hunger Seder events taking place in communities across the country around the Passover holiday.  
Resources and materials for the Hunger Seder mobilization are available at HungerSeder.org. ‘Passover is a celebration of freedom for the Jewish people. But we cannot fully celebrate until we all have been liberated. This must include liberation from the oppression of hunger,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “Each of us is responsible to act, but only Congress can provide the funds necessary to give our seniors the means and ability to stay in their homes and communities for longer than they might otherwise be able.’”  
 
As you make the call in support of elder nutrition, please also THANK your member of Congress for their hard work on the Farm Bill and urge their vigilance against cuts in the months ahead (See Webinar, below).  Remember, not one of the MA Congressional Delegation voted to cut SNAP.  Let's keep it that way!  
 
National Webinar April 17th on Ryan-House Budget: 
The House of Representatives recently passed a budget plan for FY 2015 drafted by Paul Ryan, Chair of the House Budget Committee.  It is called "The Path to Prosperity," but only for a select few.  Chairman Ryan has been talking about reducing poverty, but according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 69 percent of the very large cuts in the budget hit low-income people.  At the same time, Citizens for Tax Justice tells us the budget's massive tax cuts will provide millionaires with a net gain of at least $200,000 each, next year alone.  

This 4/17/14 webinar (3 PM EST) will show what the Ryan-House budget would mean in our communities.  It will also show you why it is important to tell the truth about the "path" that this budget would take us on.  This budget will not be the final outline for spending in this Congress (the Senate will not agree to it).  But it could be our future if its rhetoric about expanding opportunity and strengthening the safety net is not countered with the truth about what the budget actually does – and that there are better alternatives that really do create jobs and invest in our economic security.

Presenters will include Sharon Parrott, Vice President for Budget Policy and Economic Opportunity at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs, and a community expert to bring the impact home. To Register for this Webinar, click HERE.   And here's the 4-1-14 statement from our partners at the Food Research Action Center on the Ryan budget, "Ryan Budget Recycles Failed Proposals for SNAP" [Editor's Note: Link is no longer active]
 
Maximizing SNAP Benefits for Seniors:  
Coalition members are also reminded that you can boost SNAP benefits for seniors (persons age 60+) and persons with disabilities by encouraging eligible SNAP clients to claim out-of-pocket medical expenses when they apply, at case review or any time.  The standard medical expense deduction in Massachusetts increased to $155/month effective March 1st.  For more advocacy tools on the SNAP medical expense deduction, click HERE. And to download AARP's terrific SNAP medical expense deduction flier as well, click HERE.