Category Archives: Hunger in the Media

Making the Grade

A MAZON donor was recently highlighted in The News-Gazette  newspaper of Champaign-Urbana, IL.

August 13, 2009

Making the Grade

“For his bar mitzvah – a coming-of-age ceremony for Jews – Saul Downie elected to give gifts instead of receive them and collected thousands of dollars for two charities in the process.

The Urbana Middle School student raised more than $3,000 for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, requesting guests at his June ceremony contribute to the organization’s Back Pack Buddies Program (a joint effort with Junior League) in a note saying: “As a growing adolescent I know how much food I need (a lot), and as an athlete, I know the importance of eating right. Many kids are not as privileged as I am to be able to always open a fridge or cupboard and have something waiting for them to eat.”

With the same mission, Downie also raised more than $4,400 for Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, a national organization that works to help feed people of all religions and backgrounds around the world.”

Many thanks to Saul!

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Filed under Hunger in the Media, MAZON News

Got Caught Up Out There: Photography by Homeless Women in Venice, CA

Courtesy Venice Arts Gallery

Courtesy Venice Arts Gallery

Recently, we profiled St. Joseph’s Center, a MAZON grantee with several projects surveying & sustaining Venice, CA’s homeless population. Thankfully, they’re not the only ones working with these oft-overlooked residents.

Venice Arts Gallery has a new exhibit, “Got Caught Up Out There: Photography by Homeless Women”, running through August 31, with an opening reception tomorrow (July 25) from 5-8PM. A collaboration between the gallery & Santa Monica’s Ocean Park Community Center, the project provides a rare opportunity for homeless women to document their lives and tell their stories. Their unique perspective reveals both an eclectic, colorful community & its daily struggle to survive on the streets & beaches just outside Los Angeles.

For those unable to attend or living outside the area, the entire exhibition is available for viewing online. A full-color catalogue is also available with a $50 donation to support the Gallery’s future storytelling projects.

For those moved by the exhibition and seeking more ways to help, please visit St. Joseph Center, or donate to MAZON so we can continue to support St. Joseph’s and other programs helping homeless around the country.

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Filed under Hunger in the Media, Links

Darfur/ICC Documentary The Reckoning on PBS Tonight @ 10PM

Former child soldiers of the Thomas Lubanga UPC militia, Ituri, eastern Congo (Photo Courtesy PBS)

Former child soldiers of the Thomas Lubanga UPC militia, Ituri, eastern Congo (Photo Courtesy PBS)

One of the most vibrant subjects in Darfur Now (our review here) is International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and his efforts to prosecute Sudanese minister Ahmad Muhammad Harun & Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb for war crimes. Those interested in a follow up should check out The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court, premiering on PBS tonight (July 14) at 10PM. Filmmaker Pamela Yates & team spent three years following Moreno-Ocampo & the ICC, as the organization itself struggles to survive. Should prove very interesting.

Check out the trailer below (warning – some gruesome images may not be safe for work / children):

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Filed under Hunger in the Media, International Relief

Falling Princesses & Rising Obesity

Not-So-Little Red Riding Hood

Courtesy Dina Goldstein / JPG

Vancouver photographer Dina Goldstein‘s photo exhibit-in-progress “Fallen Princesses” takes an unorthodox approach to updating Disney fairy tales. Prince Charming leaves Snow White to raise four small children, Princess Jasmine fights in a war zone, and Cinderella drowns her sorrows in cheap booze. The most controversial of these is the newest addition, “Not-So-Little Red Riding Hood”. The image depicts an obese Little Red Riding Hood chugging a soda & carting a basket of burgers. Many commenters on the JPG website and the blog Women’s Glib believe it reinforces a stereotype “that fat people eat indiscriminantly and ‘unhealthily'”. I believe this photo tells a different story.

The dramatic rise in obesity has multiple reasons, one of them being an explosion in fast food consumption (the McDonald’s right next to our office boasts “Over 99 Billion Served”). One reason it’s so high in many regions is that it’s the only food available. “Food deserts” form in impoverished areas, wherein small markets & liquor stores cannot or do not stock fresh fruits & vegetables, and grocery chains fear to tread. This is why politicians such as Los Angeles’ Jan Perry push for grocery stores to develop in poorer districts & attempt to restrict fast food expansion into these same neighborhoods. The  deeply rural forest of Little Red Riding Hood & other fairy tales could be considered such a region.

Another reason fast food consumption is so high is that it’s the only food affordable.  For low-income households, hard choices must be made between filling bellies & filling gas tanks – healthy eating doesn’t even fit into the budget. One scene in Food, Inc. (you’re probably sick of hearing me talk about this documentary, but it’s really stuck in my mind) shows this when a working family prices out a healthy salad versus a fast food dollar menu. A single head of lettuce, not even enough for a salad, costs more than an entire meal off the dollar menu. Even families that can afford fresh produce & healthier foods can lack the time or knowledge to choose or prepare them. It’s important to note that Red Riding Hood isn’t sitting at a table scarfing all that food herself; she’s taking family dinner to Grandma’s, and that’s all they can afford.

Is fast food consumption the only cause of obesity? Of course not. But there’s no denying that hunger & obesity skyrocket amongst the lowest income families. And that is truly offensive.

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Filed under Food For Thought, Hunger in the Media

Free Screenings of Food, Inc.

LA Food, Inc. Screenings

Chipotle Mexican Grill is sponsoring a series of free screenings of the documentary Food, Inc. all month (check our our review & thoughts here). Most, including three in and around MAZON’s hometown of Los Angeles, are next week. Check out the full list here.

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Filed under Hunger in the Media, Links

Rep. Cynthia Davis on The Colbert Report

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tip/Wag – Cynthia Davis & Fox News
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Jeff Goldblum

Stephen Colbert lampooned Rep. Cynthia Davis of “hunger is a positive motivator” infamy on The Colbert Report. He was decidedly less kind than we were.

I emailed an edited version of our blog entry to Rep. Davis and have received no reply. Since then, she has appeared on Missouri radio station KMOX and written another “Capitol Report” newsletter defending her opinion that the Summer Food Service Program is unnecessary. She insists the program takes power away from families to feed their children, without realizing how these programs helps families who cannot feed their children. We invite anyone (particularly a fellow Missourian) whose family has benefited from the Summer Food Service Program to email your story to Rep. Davis at cynthia.davis@house.mo.gov. But please, be civil – we all need to work together to end childhood hunger, and Rep. Davis is naturally on the defensive after having been labeled “The Worst Person in the World” by Keith Olbermann.

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Twitter For Food

This Wednesday, July 1st, MAZON joins Twitter users and anti-hunger organizations worldwide for Twitter For Food, a digital movement to raise awareness and funds for hunger and food issues. Alarmed by increasing rates of global hunger, Tim Blair (who tweets as HungerNoMore) decided to skip a meal and donate the savings to UK-based Farm Africa. He encouraged his friends and followers on Twitter to do the same, providing a lengthy list of allies in the fight against global hunger. That was June 1st, and the results were such a success that it became a monthly event. We are honored to be featured on Twitter For Food for July, and are excited to participate in this and future events.

Still not convinced? Here are Tim’s top 10 reasons to Twitter For Food:

10. You could probably skip a meal without even noticing.
9.  You’ll gain the respect of all twitterdom…and your mom.
8.  Your waistline will thank you…translate stomach growl to gratitude.
7.  You’ll sleep better knowing you’ve helped someone today.
6.  Come tax time 2010, you’ll have a write off to remember this by.
5.  Someones waistline will thank you…translate lack of stomach growl to gratitude.
4.  You’ll be a hero on twitterforfood.com (if you tell me you joined in)
3.  Less back pain from carrying or sitting on a too fat wallet.
2.  The admiration of your peers that you donated in the very first #twitterforfood.

And the number one reason to join the #twitterforfood June 1st campaign…

1. Since you won’t be eating, you have more time to tweet!

Join us in Tweeting & retweeting the following any time within the next 48 hours:

#twitterforfood Skip a meal and use the savings to fund hunger relief locally and globally! http://tr.im/m1Pq

Thanks to Tim & everyone else who participates – feel free to share your experience with us. Post a comment here or Tweet us @StopHunger.

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Filed under Hunger Advocacy, Hunger in the Media, Links