Tag Archives: art

Heroes For Haiti: Hollywood United & You

Courtesy Friends of the Children of Lascahobas, Haiti

Courtesy Friends of the Children of Lascahobas, Haiti

Haiti remains one of the poorest countries in the world: 80% of Haitians live under the poverty line, with 70% unemployed. Hurricanes flood the streets, while deforestation devastates the soil & eliminates key sources of fuel. Last year’s food riots have ceased (after bringing down the government), but shortages & malnutrition still plague Haiti.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are many ways to become a hero for Haiti.


This Saturday, August 8, Hollywood Unites For Haiti, InkTip & the HollyShorts Film Festival unite for a fundraiser reception at The Kress in Hollywood. Hosted by Hollywood Unites For Haiti founder & president Jimmy Jean-Louis (“Heroes”), the event features a gallery auction of portraits by pop artist Nicolosi, a raffle of Haitian art & special screening of the finalists for HollyShorts Film Festival’s Webisode category. All proceeds benefit Hollywood Unites For Haiti, and donations are also accepted at the door. For more information, or to RSVP, please email rsvp@hollyshorts.com.

If you can’t make Hollywood Unites For Haiti’s reception, the group also accepts donations of sports equipment, toiletries & computers for Haitian children’s programs. Several MAZON grantees also do important work in the region. The Lambi Fund of Haiti has a number of sustainable agriculture projects, including reforestation, goat & pig breeding, and training impoverished farmers on techniques and technologies appropriate to the region. Many of our synagogue partners & donors in Florida have collected funds specifically for The Lambi Fund. For over 30 years, Friends of the Children of Lascahobas, Haiti has brought medical services & screening to the border town of Lascahobas, where half the children under 5 are malnourished and only 25% of the population has access to clean drinking water. They have also set up a cooperative in Lascahobas so that Haitian mothers can work together to manage precious resources and create sustainable economics for their families.

Donations to MAZON ensure the continuation of work to end hunger in Haiti. With our combined efforts, we can all be heroes for Haiti.


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Filed under International Relief, Links, MAZON Grantees

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

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.


Filed under Food For Thought, Hunger in the Media