Operation Food Search Receives Critical Investment from National Anti-Hunger Organization (STL Post-Dispatch)

Amanda Galloway
September 15, 2021

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on September 15, 2021

As the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, Operation Food Search is one of 52 organizations selected to receive funding through a critical $2.5 million investment from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. The national anti-hunger organization’s partnership grants will help stem the tide in persistent food insecurity that was exacerbated by pandemic-related shutdowns.

“Funding from MAZON is crucial to our ability to address the root causes of hunger by championing change at the state and federal level,” said Kristen Wild, Operation Food Search President and CEO. “We move the needle on food insecurity only through a combination of providing food and creating systemic change, and our grant from MAZON helps us do just that.”

Operation Food Search will use the grant funding to support advocacy work. Over the past four years, their team has been involved with efforts such as passing legislation to create a Missouri Food Security Task Force and a research project that looks at how state and federal program rules impact WIC participation in Missouri.

“We are witnessing an inflection point for the hunger crisis in the United States and around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic nearly doubled the number of people within the United States facing food insecurity, and local organizations have been on the front lines of emergency food assistance while also working for sustainable solutions,” said Abby J. Leibman, President and CEO of MAZON. “Since its founding in 1985, MAZON has been committed to addressing food insecurity in the United States through policy change. We are particularly proud of the pioneering role we’ve played in helping to build a strong and resilient anti-hunger advocacy infrastructure in diverse regions across the United States. MAZON is proud to lift up and empower local organizations in 13 of the 15 most food-insecure states in the country, and we look forward to seeing these organizations fight for the structural change we need to end hunger in our communities.”

In Missouri, food insecurity has increased by 23% since before the pandemic. Nationwide, the COVID pandemic and related shutdowns have doubled the number of people experiencing hunger in the United States from 40 million to 80 million.


Recipients of MAZON’s Emerging Advocacy Fund grants include:

●      Alabama Arise, (Montgomery, Ala.)

●      Alabama Food Bank Association, (Huntsville, Ala.)

●      Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, (Little Rock, Ark.)

●      Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, (Little Rock, Ark.)

●      Center for Rural Affairs, (Lyons, Neb.)

●      Children’s Action Alliance, (Phoenix, Ariz.)

●      Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, (Indianapolis, Ind.)

●      Feeding Kentucky, (Frankfort, Ky.)

●      Feeding Louisiana, (Baton Rouge, La.)

●      Food Justice Lab/ West Virginia University Research Corp., (Morgantown, W.Va.)

●      Good Shepherd Food Bank, (Auburn, Maine)

●      Hunger-Free Oklahoma, (Tulsa, Okla.)

●      Indy Hunger Network, (Indianapolis, Ind.)

●      Kansas Action for Children, (Topeka, Kan.)

●      Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, (Lawrence, Kan.)

●      Kentucky Center for Economic Policy / Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, (Berea, Ky.)

●      Kentucky Equal Justice Center, (Lexington, Ky.)

●      Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands (Nashville, Tenn.)

●      Louisiana Budget Project, (Baton Rouge, La.)

●      Mississippi Center for Justice, (Jackson, Miss.)

●      Missouri Budget Project, (St. Louis, Mo.)

●      MomsRising, (Raleigh, N.C.)

●      Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law & Public Interest, (Lincoln, Neb.)

●      North Carolina Alliance for Health, (Raleigh, N.C.)

●      North Carolina Justice Center, (Raleigh, N.C.)

●      Oklahoma Policy Institute, (Tulsa, Okla.)