Introducing MAZON’s New Website

Thank you for reading the MAZON blog for the last several months. Our blog is now located on our main website MAZON.org. Our entire website has been redesigned from the ground up, with easier access to a plethora of anti-hunger resources and tools.

You will find our previous blog content at MAZON News & Stories.

With our new site you can:

  • Read the latest MAZON News & Stories (updated weekly) and leave comments as a guest or by using your Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo or Open ID (including wordpress.com & gmail.com) account.
  • Inform friends and family about ending hunger, and why it’s important to you. Share MAZON news & stories; email a friend, tweet a link, or share it on Facebook, MySpace and many other social networking sites.
  • Download the MAZON iPhone App. Stay involved wherever you go, with instant access to MAZON news, advocacy alerts, local volunteer opportunities & hunger facts. There’s also a giving calculator & a donation link, so you can give back whenever you break bread.
  • Donate as a guest, donate as a family, donate on behalf of a company or organization, sign up for recurring donations, send tribute cards or one of our new e-cards…. all from one page!
  • In just a few weeks we will launch our new myMAZON accounts. Log into your secure myMAZON account for even easier online donations, to see your entire gift history, and to create fundraising pages for family & friends to honor you at important life events.

If you have any questions about our new site, please leave a comment or contact us.

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A New Approach to Thanksgiving

Courtesy Flickr user riptheskull (http://flickr.com/photos/vintagehalloweencollector/)

A few days ago, I read the devastating news — 49 million Americans are food insecure and live on the edge of hunger.  One in four children don’t know when and where they will have their next meal. Over a year ago, as our economy began to slide and we entered a recession, the face of hunger changed dramatically — now, it may pain your neighbor who lives next door or your colleague in an office down the hall.

These past months, individuals have had to make the decision between paying bills or putting food on the table.  No one should ever have to make this decision.  Food and shelter are basic necessities that everyone should be able to access.

This Thanksgiving, I will be sitting at a beautiful table, surrounded by family, enjoying delicious food and festivity.  Although I give thanks for all that I have had in my life, how can I sit at my Thanksgiving meal knowing how many in this country are going to bed with an empty stomach?

Let’s show how thankful we are for what we have by helping make a difference. I encourage you to join me in starting a new Thanksgiving tradition at your holiday table. As you share what you are thankful for with your family and friends, make a pledge to donate to MAZON what it would be to invite one additional person to your holiday table (like at Passover) and invite your friends and family to match your contribution.

This Thanksgiving, we can make a difference.

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Filed under Food For Thought, Hunger Advocacy

Fed Up With Hunger: Blueprint to End Hunger in Los Angeles

 

MAZON Board Member Neil Salowitz shows Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack we're Fed Up With Hunger! (Courtesy http://givelifemeaning.org)

The USDA reports that 49 million Americans – 1 in 7 – went hungry in 2008. Nearly a million in Los Angeles face hunger every day. Fed Up? You’re not the only one.

Everyone deserves the right to eat healthy and live free of hunger. On a national level, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the Obama administration strive to improve school nutrition programs, increase access to nutritious foods and eliminate childhood hunger. Here in Los Angeles, Fed Up With Hunger works to end hunger in one of the nation’s largest cities. Both share the same goal – 2015 – and Fed Up With Hunger already has an ambitious, yet attainable, Blueprint to End Hunger in Los Angeles.

Fed Up With Hunger launches the Blueprint this Monday, November 23rd, at 8:30 a.m. at The Jewish Federation’s Goldsmith Headquarters at 6505 Wilshire Blvd. The comprehensive Blueprint is a collaboration between anti-hunger organizations across Los Angeles, and aims to bring the community together to address this hunger crisis. We hope that the success of the Blueprint to End Hunger and Fed Up With Hunger program can provide a model for other communities as well.

A core recommendation of the Blueprint is that Los Angeles County, City and LAUSD focus additional energy on hunger issues and increase coordination of services. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, City Councilmember Paul Koretz and School Board Member Steve Zimmer are already on board for the Blueprint’s launch, and will continue to support its vision of a city free of hunger by introducing motions in their respective branches of government. Immediately following the launch is an Anti-Hunger and Food Advocates Roundtable discussion at 9:00AM. Community leaders will discuss ideas on how to best implement the Blueprint’s anti-hunger and sustainable food goals and objectives.

RSVP to David Lee at DLee@JewishLA.org or (323) 761-8165. Download & read the Blueprint to End Hunger in Los Angeles from Fed Up With Hunger.

Fed Up with Hunger is the Jewish Federation-led partnership to end hunger in Los Angeles. The core partners in the initiative are MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and SOVA, The Community Food and Resource Program of Jewish Family Service. Learn more & get involved at http://givelifemeaning.org.

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Hurricane Ida: Crisis in El Salvador

 

Courtesy SHARE Foundation (http://share-elsalvador.org)

Last week, we tweeted that Hurricane Ida hit the heart of El Salvador. Subsequent updates from the field have showed us how bad things really are. The storm destabilized weather patterns. Torrential rains & terrifying floods ripped through the capital city of San Salvador and 60% of the countryside. Nearly 200 people lost their lives, and over 10,000 lost their homes. Neighboring cities became islands, inaccessible except by helicopter. Crops were decimated, and those lucky enough to keep their homes lost access to vital services, health care, and food.

 

The SHARE Foundation, the Salvadoran Red Cross, and international aid workers work tirelessly for short term relief, but the real challenge comes after their efforts, with rebuilding and reconstruction. With worldly possessions washed away, how will Salvadorans live? With food stocks completely wiped out, how will Salvadorans eat? Looking forward to the second and future phases of recovery, the SHARE Foundation plans to restore agricultural production, emphasizing family farms & women’s co-operatives.

 

Courtesy SHARE Foundation (http://share-elsalvador.org)

For over a decade, MAZON has partnered with the SHARE Foundation to support agricultural programs & initiatives. Now, at this time of Salvadoran crisis, we ask you to partner with us for an emergency grant. Your support enables us to feed families in the short-term, and stay involved in the region in the long-term, as we have after Hurricane Katrina, to insure a healthy, sustainable recovery.

 

Please donate now. Under special instructions, tell us your donation is for El Salvador.

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Filed under International Relief, MAZON Grantees

Introducing MAZON’s New Site A.C.T.: End Hunger & iPhone App!

A.C.T.: End HungerTo end hunger, we must A.C.T. – Achieve Change Together.

Today, MAZON proudly launches our year-end campaign A.C.T.: End Hunger (http://actendhunger.org). A.C.T. reflects our core beliefs: that we can achieve a world without hunger, we can change lives, and we can work together to increase our impact. Join over 50,000 annual donors and help us raise $3 million in 3 months for the fight against hunger.

We’ve been listening to your suggestions & requests, and brought them to A.C.T.: End Hunger –

  • An easy-to-assemble MAZON tzedakah box for religious schools, kids & families. Print, fold, decorate, and send us pics of your mitzvah masterpiece! We’ll share your creations on our Flickr feed and blog!
  • Inform friends and family about ending hunger, and why it’s important to you. Email the site to a friend, tweet a link, or share it on Facebook, MySpace and many other social networking sites.
  • Our most exciting project is MAZON’s pioneering iPhone App. Stay involved wherever you go, with instant access to MAZON news, advocacy alerts, local volunteer opportunities & hunger facts. There’s also a giving calculator & easy donation link, so you can give back whenever you break bread. Available now at the App Store!
  • Stay tuned for even more exciting developments!

Need to get a head start on Thanksgiving and holiday greetings? Use MAZON’s new and improved online donation system to send tribute cards or e-cards simply and quickly to your friends and family. Tribute requests received by this Friday, November 20th at noon PST will be sent before Thanksgiving.

With our new donation system, make a one-time gift as a guest, or use your existing MAZON.org log-in to access your new myMAZON account. More features are being developed for myMAZON to make giving even easier! Soon, you’ll have instant access to your entire gift history, and create fundraising pages for family & friends to honor you at important life events.

We can Achieve Change Together! We can end hunger in our lifetime!

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3 Ways to Fight Hunger With Your Thanksgiving Menu

White Earth Land Recovery Project

Courtesy White Earth Land Recovery Project / Native Harvest (http://nativeharvest.com)

Thanksgiving is America’s most famous meal, a time to gather with friends & family to share love, reflections and delicious food. Every time you share a meal, you can make a difference. Here are three ways to fight hunger at your Thanksgiving table – without switching out the traditional menu!

  • White Earth Land Recovery Project, a MAZON grantee in Minnesota, works to restore sustainable farming & green wind-power at the White Earth Reservation. Statewide, they work to prevent GMO rice crops from overtaking wild rice. Traditional land practices enable local farmers to provide for their own elderly, disabled & families. Their projects are so successful that they have surplus stock of wild rice, organic coffee, fruit jellies & other crops available for sale through the Native Harvest online catalog. Purchasing organic crops keeps the community & its traditions alive. What better way to echo that first Thanksgiving than with delicious Native-grown food? Contact Native Harvest to see if they’re still taking orders & can ship yours in time.
MANNA

Courtesy MANNA (http://mannapa.org)

  • Another MAZON grantee, Philadelphia-based MANNA, makes dessert even sweeter with Pie In The Sky. The yearly fundraiser provides critical support for their programs, which deliver nourishing meals to people with acute nutritional risk. One MANNA client, Jeannine, was 80 pounds when she started receiving meals, due to HIV & depression over the loss of her husband. MANNA helps her access proper nutrition, put on weight & provide for her family when she is too sick to cook herself. MANNA pies can be ordered online until Friday, November 20th, with pick-up locations all over Philadephia & New Jersey.
Oregon Produce

Courtesy Oregon Food Bank (http://oregonfoodbank.org)

  • If you live outside of the Philadelphia area, there are sweets of a different sort. Naumes Fruit Gifts donates a pound of fresh fruit for every gift basket sold. Produce is always in short supply at food banks, and one of their recipients is MAZON grantee Oregon Food Bank, which distributes 34 million pounds of food a year to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters & other nutrition programs throughout Orgeon. Give a gift & feed the needy!
We’d love to hear about other great hunger-fighting groups & programs. Leave a comment here, on Twitter @StopHunger, or on MAZON’s Facebook page.
And if your menu’s already set in stone (or you’ve got very picky eaters), you can always support these and other programs by donating to MAZON. We’re thankful for all you give us year-round.

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Project Elijah: Open The Door & Feed The Hungry

1257361190127_665e8It wasn’t even Passover, yet on Sunday, October 18th at West Hills, California’s Milken Jewish Community Campus, an innovative program called  “Feeding the Hungry Project” opened the doors and Project Elijah, a MAZON-funded hunger response nonprofit, walked through it.

Project Elijah’s Executive Director, Julie Kaufman and its founder, Alan Zuckert flew into town from Des Moines, Iowa, with crates of supplies and packaging equipment. With local organizers, they set up assembly lines and bag-sealing stations in the auditorium and proceeded to set the stage for a transformative experience for the hundreds of volunteers that would soon arrive.

From 10am and 2pm, two shifts of volunteers, mostly from Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge, California, donned bright orange t-shirts, aprons, gloves and hairnets and began to scoop, measure, package and seal a nutritious blend of grains into 4-serving bags.  Rabbi Barry Lutz blew a shofar to launch the event and as each 5000-meal milestone was achieved, he blew the shofar again to the cheers and applause of the volunteers.

The “Feeding the Hungry” project came together because Temple Ahavat Shalom member Stephanie Howard believed it was possible. It became reality with guidance from MAZON and grants from the Los Angeles Jewish Federation’s Valley Alliance and other funders.  It generated over 35,000 meals for beneficiaries of the SOVA Community Food and Resource Program, a long-time MAZON grantee, because more than 1,000,000 men, women and children in Los Angeles are at risk of hunger and SOVA’s three food pantries are among the premiere front line responders to the hunger crisis in Los Angeles.

Here are Ms. Howard’s reflections on the event:

Wow!  Four hundred volunteers + four hours = 35,000 meals for SOVA!  That’s what we can accomplish with some long-range planning, a passion to feed the hungry and a little Chutzpah.

We did it!  And we didn’t have to “reinvent the wheel.”  All we had to do was “roll in” a high-protein, vitamin-packed food product and assembly line system developed by Project Elijah in Des Moines, Iowa.  Temple Ahavat Shalom started dreaming about this one-day event years ago.  Thanks to grants from the Los Angeles Federation Valley Alliance and the Ted and Sarah Seldin Family Fund we were able to pay for the food and shipping of the equipment to package the meals.

Of course, the best part of the equation is the volunteers.  There was so much enthusiasm for Feeding the Hungry that we had to close down the sign ups weeks ahead of time when we reached our maximum of 400 volunteers. People brought their patience, passion and willingness to do a great mitzvah so we could meet our goal to help the needy.

Thanks, MAZON, for co-sponsoring Feeding the Hungry and for fighting the battle every day to draw down hunger.

She also has event photos available on Flickr.

Anyone can open the door and end hunger.  Start by opening the door to MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger at www.mazon.org.

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Filed under Guest Blog, Hunger Advocacy, MAZON Grantees, Site Visits