Federation, Har Zion Team Up to Address Food Insecurity

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 An upcoming three-part adult education series will tackle various issues revolving around food insecurity

The Jewish Federation of Greater Phila­delphia’s Center for Social Responsibility, in partnership with the Sisterhood of Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, will kick off its three-part adult education series on food insecurity on Wednesday, April 15.
 
“We are presenting this series to educate our community about the current and pressing public policy issues impacting our food-insecure community members,” said Brian Gralnick, director of the Center for Social Responsibility.
 
“Not only are we presenting information from two of our region’s most respected policy wonks, we are also showcasing representatives from our region’s most impressive emergency food providers,
 
including the Jewish Federation’s Mitzvah Food Project and Philabundance.”
 
Sheree Bloch, chair of the Center for Social Responsibility, added: “We decided to partner with the Sisterhood of Har Zion Temple and design a course that would present a Jewish view on how to approach this critical issue, and to bring in experts in the field of food insecurity.”
 
The first program will focus on the theme “ Biblical Perspective on Hung­er.” Rabbi Uri Allen, assistant rabbi of Har Zion Temple, will share “a biblical perspective on the evolution of food issues beginning in the Garden of Eden and ending with our responsibility as a Jewish society as outlined by the Torah,” said Bloch.
 
The second program in the series, taking place on Wednesday, April 22, will feature a panel discussion on “Policies and Perspectives on Food Insecurity.”
 
Gralnick will be joined by fellow panelists Dr. Mariana Chilton, director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities, and Kathy Fisher, policy director of the Coalition Against Hunger.
 
The panel will address state and federal cuts to programs benefiting the poor, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — formerly known as the Food Stamp Program — and school lunch and breakfast programs, as well as discussing advocacy opportunities in the community. 
 
The final program of the series will take place on Wednesday, May 6, and focus on “Feeding the Hungry.” Gralnick will moderate a panel featuring Melanie S. Cataldi, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Philabundance; Sabina Dopiro, site manager of the Jewish Federation’s Choice Food Program; and Brian Jenkins, executive director of the Chosen 300 Ministries, as they explore why food insecurity is such a large problem in our area. 
 
Despite the resources available in the community, there are “more than 11,000 hungry Jews in Philadelphia, and one in every four Philadelphians is food-insecure, many of whom are children or seniors,” said Bloch. “The mission of the Center for Social Responsibility is to support the most vulnerable in our community. Educating the greater community about the needs of the food insecure is part of that mission.”
 
Gralnick added that this series “will help inform our community on how they can be even more effective in advocating to end hunger and how to be a more effective volunteer with their time to give back. If it’s one day or just one phone call, we can all take steps to look out for our community members in need.” 
 
All programs will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at Har Zion Temple, 1500 Hagys Ford Rd., Penn Valley. There is no charge and reservations are not necessary. 
 
For more information on this series, email Jeff Rutter at: [email protected].  

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