Frequently Asked Questions: Challah for Hunger Transition to MAZON
MAZON is excited and honored to be the new home of Challah for Hunger. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions. Please contact Paul Sherman at email@example.com with any further questions.
Who/What is MAZON?
Inspired by Jewish values and ideals, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger is a national advocacy organization working to end hunger for people of all faiths and backgrounds in the U.S. and Israel. A particular focus of MAZON’s work is to illuminate the needs and challenges of populations who have been otherwise overlooked or underserved, both by government programs and protections, and by the wider anti-hunger community. We uncover the unique barriers these populations experience in accessing food assistance, and we advance policy solutions that mitigate or eliminate those barriers. This includes focusing on hunger among college students, as well as hunger among currently-serving military families, veterans, single mothers and their children, LGBTQ+ seniors, indigenous communities, and the people of Puerto Rico and the territories.
But what does MAZON actually do?
MAZON is dedicated to working in partnership with Jewish communities, anti-hunger advocates, and historically marginalized populations to realize change through three key strategies:
- Advocacy: MAZON is the leading Jewish voice in advancing policy solutions to reverse the course of hunger. From crafting and championing critical legislation, to hosting meaningful conversations with legislators, to fostering leadership to advance state-based organizing efforts — MAZON is a strong advocate speaking truth to power at every level of government.
- Education: MAZON engages and educates individuals, leaders, and communities about the scope of hunger and how we can work together to end it. We partner with synagogues, schools, universities, and other organizations, offering dynamic experiential education programs and activities — including our flagship This Is Hunger program and our new, immersive experience, The Hunger Museum – that shift the narrative about who in this country is vulnerable to hunger and why.
- Capacity Building: In the United States, access to our food safety net programs is determined by a person’s state or territory. MAZON invests in systems-changing efforts in the most food insecure states in our nation, working to ensure that hungry families have the support they need to keep food on their tables. We make multi-year investments in state-based organizations, building deep partnerships to fight for anti-hunger policies at the state and local levels and help vulnerable communities access the food they need to thrive.
What does MAZON do about college hunger specifically?
MAZON has played a leading role in responding to college hunger at the federal and state levels, including:
- MAZON hosted the first-ever Legislative Briefing on College Hunger in America on Capitol Hill in December 2017, and then hosted a second briefing in January 2019 to coincide with the release of the GAO report — marking the first time a federal agency acknowledged the severity and pervasiveness of hunger among college students.
- MAZON supported several federal legislative proposals to address hunger on college campuses, including Rep. Al Lawson’s “College Student Hunger Act” to increase students’ access to SNAP benefits, Rep. Jim Costa’s “Results Through Innovation Act” to bolster federal funding for SNAP employment and training programs, Rep. Danny Davis’ “Fostering Success in Higher Education Act” to better assist homeless and foster youth, and Rep. Judy Chu’s “Campus Hunger Reduction Act” to make colleges eligible for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Food Projects grant program.
- In California, MAZON successfully advanced several pieces of legislation to provide new tools to increase students’ access to CalFresh (California’s food stamps program): Assemblymember Weber’s AB 214 and AB 1747, to improve and expand students’ access to CalFresh, and to require California higher education institutions to apply to participate in local food assistance programs, and Assemblymember Limon’s AB 453 to encourage “hunger free campus” designations.
- MAZON spearheaded local coalitions in several additional states, including Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, to advance administrative actions that ensure eligible students have access to federal food benefits, particularly SNAP.
What has MAZON’s past relationship with Nazun/Challah for Hunger looked like?
MAZON and Challah for Hunger have been close partners for many years. MAZON was a long-time national donation recipient of Challah for Hunger chapters’ hard-earned funds. During that time, we helped inform Challah for Hunger’s national advocacy efforts, and we offered education and advocacy training and support for student leaders and individual chapters.
MAZON is also proud to have two Challah for Hunger alumni on staff, Organizer Lauren Banister (University of Vermont ’19) and Community Engagement Manager Emily Rothstein (University of Wisconsin-Madison ’16). Both held leadership positions in their campus chapters. Lauren was a member of the Campus Hunger Project Team (now known as the advocacy cohort), and continued as an alumni mentor after graduation. Professionally, Emily oversaw Challah for Hunger’s Los Angeles teen program and sat on the Los Angeles advisory board. From this alone, we are powerfully aware of the incredible leadership development potential of this program!
What will Challah for Hunger look like for students in the Fall 2023 semesters?
MAZON does not anticipate making any substantive changes, so you shouldn’t expect any major changes to your daily work with Challah for Hunger. Led by Paul Sherman, MAZON will continue to offer day-to-day support to students, and our team will be available to you when you need anything. Specifically:
- We will continue providing each chapter with $200 at the beginning of the year to purchase your first round of ingredients.
- We will continue providing new chapters with $200 each to purchase equipment as they get started.
- MAZON staff are available to you for any questions, logistical support, programmatic brainstorming, and anything else you may need, anytime.
- We do have to change fundraising platforms. You will learn more at your treasurer training.
- You’ll continue to run your own social media sites, though you can expect a new set of logos and other visual assets to support these efforts.
- All of the resources of The Hub are still available to you, though as the year advances you may see us updating or refreshing resources as needed.
- Any money raised last academic year has already been donated to the local organization of your choice and to Swipe Out Hunger.
Where will Challah for Hunger chapter donations go?
During this first, transitional year, 80% of the funds raised by your chapter will be donated to the local, anti-hunger nonprofit of your choice. The remaining 20% will return to MAZON earmarked specifically for the Challah for Hunger program and college hunger. These funds will support our operation of the program, support the advocacy we do to address college hunger at the federal level, and most importantly, be invested back into our work with chapters across the country.
What will our relationship with MAZON staff be?
We are excited to meet with and learn from each of you, and we want to offer opportunities for you all to learn from each other as well. Once a month, we’ll host Challah for Hunger office hours on Zoom. Prior to each meeting, we’ll ask chapter leaders for agenda items — challenges you’re facing that you’d like to brainstorm solutions for, successes you’ve had lately that you think others might be able to learn from, recent updates on college hunger or other anti-hunger issues – anything you want to discuss! And if you can’t make our office hours, or want to have a more one-on-one discussion, you can always schedule time with Paul Sherman, MAZON’s Senior Outreach Manager, or anyone else on our outreach team — we’re available to you whenever you need us. Our first office hours session will be scheduled around the beginning of the academic year — be on the lookout for an invitation! Please email Paul with any initial agenda items.
Are there any changes to the Advocacy Cohort?
Students have already applied and been accepted for the Advocacy Cohort for the 2023-2024 academic year. Lauren Banister, MAZON’s Organizer, will serve as an advisor to members of the Advocacy Cohort. Together they will work on advocacy, community organizing, and leadership skills throughout the year, and develop local advocacy projects with Lauren’s support and guidance. Each member will continue to receive a $350 stipend for the year, and continue to have access to up to $500 for implementing their local projects.
How will the Advisor Program change?
Advisors will work with MAZON staff to support the peer-learning model, such as crafting the agendas for each Office Hours session, and offering guidance as part of those sessions. In turn, MAZON staff will lean on advisors’ insight into how to make the program as effective and meaningful as possible. MAZON will provide a $300 stipend for each advisor at the end of the year.