April 08, 2009

Senator Gillibrand Kicks Off Passover Holiday with Visit to Met Council Senior Residence

Gillibrand Meets with Seniors, Elected Officials, Met Council Executives, and other Hunger Advocacy Groups to Discuss Food Insecurity And Other Issues Facing Low-Income Seniors and the Jewish Community

New York, N.Y.- U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined executives today from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council), New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH), the Food Bank for New York City, and City Harvest, along with local elected officials at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Senior Residence to usher in the beginning of the Passover holiday. A member of the Senate's Special Committee on Aging, Senator Gillibrand discussed a number of issues facing low-income seniors and the Jewish community, including hunger and food insecurity.

"The reality that hunger still plagues far too many of our citizens in New York and throughout the nation has never been more apparent than it is during these troubling economic times," said Senator Gillibrand. "I will lead the fight in the Senate to ensure that our seniors and those suffering from food insecurity have access to programs and services that provide healthy, nutritious food. As we begin this Passover holiday, I give my sincere thanks to outstanding organizations like Met Council who work every day to combat poverty and assist the most vulnerable among us."

"This Passover, we saw an increased need for food that was astounding," said William Rapfogel, Executive Director of Met Council. "Thanks to our partners and supporters, we were able to meet the need and provide food to the thousands of additional households that needed help."

During her visit, Senator Gillibrand met with the center's senior residents and congratulated Met Council volunteers and staff who distributed 1.6 million pounds of food to 55,000 Jewish families in preparation for Passover this year. Over the course of a year, Met Council distributes 4.5 million pounds of food through its 35 sites across the city.

In these hard economic times, more and more Americans are going without food. Over two-thirds of the 1,200 soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City do not have as much food as they need to meet the growing demand. Over 1.3 million low-income New Yorkers have been forced to use these emergency food programs, and this number has been predicted to grow. Organizations like Met Council, NYCCA, the Food Bank for New York, and City Harvest work every day to ease this burden by providing nutritious food for our seniors and hardworking families in New York.

Senator Gillibrand is a proud supporter of President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which provides important support for food banks, school lunch programs, and The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The ARRA also provides important funding increases for the over 30 million Americans who currently receive food stamps, investing nearly $20 billion in the program. Senator Gillibrand is also a member of the Senate's Special Committee on Aging, and as a member of Congress has focused on issues affecting seniors. Following her appointment to the U.S. Senate last month, AARP praised Senator Gillibrand for her work on "health and financial security issues important to [AARP] members including outreach on economic stimulus, consumer protections in the credit card industry and health care affordability."

About Met Council
For over 35 years Met Council has served New York City's poor, their commitment to "Acts of Charity and Deeds of Kindness" has remained steadfast and strong as they strive to serve the more than 300,000 Jewish New Yorkers who are struggling to provide for their families. Today, they service over 100,000 clients on site and throughout their network of Jewish Community Councils in each of the City's five boroughs. From affordable housing, capacity building initiatives, career services, crisis intervention, and family violence services, to health insurance enrollment assistance, home care programs, home services, immigrant services, and kosher food distribution, Met Council continues to be the voice of New York's poor. For more information, visit: http://www.metcouncil.org/

Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Senior Residence:
This 12-story building contains 41 units for moderate-income independent senior citizens.  The building was developed by Met Council in 2002 under the Inclusionary Housing Program, and is also managed by Met Council. The building operating costs are covered by tenant rents.