United States Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Perdue requesting information on what the USDA is doing to include kosher and halal foods in their Farmers to Families Food Box program.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed what was already an unacceptable hunger crisis into an emergency that many observant communities who keep kosher and halal are struggling to manage,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Our government must do its part to ensure that the Farmers to Families Food Box Program provides foods that meet the faith-based dietary needs of our neighbors. No one in our country should ever have to face food insecurity, especially because of how they worship or what religion they practice.”
UJA Federation of New York estimates 3.5 million observant Jewish and Muslim people would benefit from kosher and halal options at food pantries nationally. Approximately 222,000 Jewish households in New York City, Westchester and Long Island a keep kosher. An estimated 51,700 poor and near poor Orthodox households who keep kosher, as well as 144,400 other poor and near poor Jewish households would stand to benefit from the inclusion of kosher options in the Farmers to Families Food Box program.