During the first two months of the pandemic, as cases spiked and businesses were forced to close, rates of food insecurity soared. In an instant, 1.7 MILLION CANADIANS were left wondering where their next meal was going to come from. These people – many of whom had never gone hungry before, let alone accessed a food bank – jointed the millions who were already food insecure before the pandemic. At the same time, food banks across Canada were closing their doors in staggering numbers, citing safety concerns and decreased donations. By early April, more than 40% OF FOOD BANKS IN TORONTO AND 30% IN MONTREAL had suspended their programming. Those that remained open were overwhelmed - struggling to support increased demand from their existing clients while accommodating the needs of new clients with nowhere else to go.
Many of these organizations reached out to MAZON. Some were longstanding partners, while others had only recently been founded by grassroots organizers. They told us about the UNPRECEDENTED DEMAND and the challenges involved in adapting their services to ensure the safety of their clients. Above all, they told us they wanted to stay open, and that THEY NEEDED OUR HELP TO DO SO.
When many larger charities were tangled in bureaucratic tape, MAZON moved quickly and nimbly to respond to these requests – DISTRIBUTING $210,000 IN EMERGENCY FUNDING TO 79 ORGANIZATIONS IN 40 CITIES AND TOWNS ACROSS CANADA.
None of this would have been possible without your support. As Canada went into lockdown we were amazed and humbled as members of the Jewish community thought first of others – contributing to MAZON with an unprecedented generosity and sense of urgency. Through MAZON, your gifts provided an ALMOST 2.5X INCREASE in funding for Canada's food support network compared to last year. That translates to over $800,000 to food banks, shelters, drop-ins, and meals on wheels programs, but also includes innovative investments in equipment and education that will have lasting impact on communities for years to come.
Looking forward to 2021, with a second wave sweeping across much of the country, we are bracing for another turbulent year – a year that will once again require innovation and generosity in the face of rapidly changing circumstances. THOUGH WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT CHALLENGES THE FUTURE HOLDS, WE DO KNOW THAT MAZON, AND THE JEWISH COMMUNITY, WILL BE READY TO RISE TO MEET THEM.