BE A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS: CANADIAN HUNGER ON ROSH HASHANAH 5783

A Rosh HaShanah address from Izzy Waxman, our Executive Director: "When the sky grows dark, our Jewish tradition tells us how we earn our World to Come: through charity, through acts of lovingkindness, and through faith that a better world is coming."


(pictured: Izzy making dinner with Kathleen Novelia and volunteers at the VCLA, a 2022 Mazon partner):



Wow… When I think of all that’s happened in 5782, at Mazon and in the world, it feels impossible for a year to have gone by so quickly but contained so much.


There’s been good news, of course. Mazon hit our ambitious fundraising target of $1M in our 2021 fiscal year, providing 820 meals a day through a record-breaking 205 partner programs. Mazon has gained four new Board members and a new staff member. Federally, the 2022 budget created a path to Canada's first ever National School Food Policy. And two of my cousins are pregnant!


But there was also no shortage of bad news in the world of poverty and hunger: conflict displaced Afghani and Ukranian refugees, oil and food prices spiked, and cost of living soared.


These troubled years have further revealed weaknesses in our food supply, nonprofit industry, and economy. But, after two plus years of COVID, surely Canada was prepared by now for these troubles, no?


Surely our food system was rebuilt stronger than ever since the pandemic broke it down? That it is resiliently-networked and well-resourced now, able to provide food for any and all who are in need? Surely at the very least our government has made the protection of our most vulnerable its highest priority, with the pandemic disaster having taught us the error of our ways?


Unfortunately, we did not learn our lesson. Our Canadian food aid system barely scraped by the events of ‘20-21, and those of us who live securely felt helpless against the scale of the changes needed to address the problems.


In fact: in 2019, 4.4 million Canadians went hungry. And every single year since then has been worse.


In 2022, food bank use is up 20% over last year, and over 5.8 million Canadians are going hungry.


And so our food aid system is no better off than before as we head now into a double bind: Inflation means more people in need of food assistance at the same time as costs rise for the programs that serve them.


Families living paycheck to paycheck suddenly can’t make ends meet. Seniors who survived on rice and beans now find their cupboards completely bare. And there’s often only waitlists at the local food bank.


The sky is dark this High Holiday season. But when the sky grows dark, our Jewish tradition tells us that we must light the way ourselves:


We have faith there is a bright future ahead – Olam HaBa, the World to Come. In Olam HaBa, every person will be completely aware of the Divinity of every other person; hunger and hatred will be unimaginable.


Our tradition also tells us how we earn that World to Come: through charity, through acts of lovingkindness, and through faith that a better world is coming.


There is a truth here that is both mystical and practical: the only way to reach a better world is to improve the one we have.


This High Holiday season, let us bring some portion of Olam HaBa into the present day - by standing together as a Jewish community against the injustice of hunger.


Shana Tovah U'Metukah. For your generosity this year, may 5783 bring you - and us all - some piece of the World to Come.



TO COMBAT THE INFLATION HUNGER CRISIS,

MAZON IS GUARANTEEING THAT 100% OF DONATIONS TO THIS CAMPAIGN

WILL BE DISTRIBUTED TO FRONTLINE FOOD PROJECTS WITHIN 60 DAYS: