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Member Spotlight: MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

June 29, 2020
What is MAZON’s issue focus?

Inspired by Jewish values and ideals, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger is a national advocacy organization working to end hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds in the U.S. and Israel. For 35 years, we have been fighting for systemic change. Through advocacy, education, and strategic partnerships, we take action to impact the lives of millions of people who struggle with hunger. We believe that regardless of a person’s circumstance, no one deserves to be hungry.

What is something MAZON is currently prioritizing? Can you tell our readers a little about the goals of the campaign/project? 

For nearly a decade, MAZON has made it a priority to understand, explore, and address the unique circumstances facing military families who struggle with food insecurity. We have learned that tens of thousands of military families are quietly turning to food pantries that operate on or near every military base in the U.S. MAZON is urging Congress to resolve this long-overlooked problem in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Please join us in taking action.

Do you have an “Advocacy Tip” to share or “Lesson Learned” while organizing this or other campaigns? Do you have any general words of wisdom that you’d like to share with other staff engaged in advocacy?

Never underestimate the power of stories, particularly when told by those whose story you are telling. While millions of Americans struggle with hunger every day, the reality of hunger in America is still largely invisible. That is why MAZON created This Is Hunger, an immersive digital video experience that explores who struggles with hunger in America and why. Telling the stories of real people who struggle with hunger allows us as advocates to cut through the statistics and rhetoric in a powerful way, clearly illustrating the profound prevalence of hunger and rallying the political will to end it. Oh, and never give up. Change takes a long time, and it is often messy, frustrating, and remarkably slow. But if you don’t even try, then you have already lost.

Many of our member organizations work with both our Bolder Advocacy initiative on c3/c4 advocacy rules and guidance, and our Justice programs on the importance of the courts and judicial nominations. How has either or both most helped you?

In light of the Trump Administration’s unprecedented use of the regulatory system to make new law, MAZON initiated a robust effort to engage in this process, submitting comments, joining litigation challenging unlawful regulations, and submitting amicus briefs to support such legal challenges. The role of the judicial branch has taken on a new importance in the anti-hunger movement and MAZON is working with legal advocates to help establish the meaningful implementation of these strategies. MAZON has benefitted from the lawyers on its team that have been engaged in anti-hunger policy work, as well as Board members from the legal community and partners engaged in legal services to recognize the importance of the courts in bringing about food justice. MAZON has submitted formal comments and created resources for community partners to help inspire and assist the anti-hunger sector to spread the word about how to challenge these draconian proposals that seek to increase hunger and hardship.

Who inspires you?

There is no one person, organization, nor institution that inspired us. Rather we find inspiration from all those friends and colleagues who work to bring about justice for those who are the most vulnerable Americans. They struggle against terrible odds, systemic bias and injustice, failed leadership among our lawmakers, and injustices long hidden in this country. They suffer setbacks, small victories, and sometimes real breakthroughs. They never give up. For them, and us, no cause is a lost cause; there are only causes for which we must work harder to finally find success. 

Learn more about MAZON here.