Repair the World Event Sheds Light on Food Insecurity (Jewish Journal)
This piece was originally posted in Jewish Journal on January 4, 2023.
On December 20, Repair the World Los Angeles, in partnership with the Jewish Federation, NuRoots, MAZON and PATH, brought their communities together for an interactive service-learning experience.
During the event at the MAZON headquarters in Encino, participants learned about food insecurity in America and packed food kits for those experiencing homelessness.
“Though they had to battle a broken water main on Ventura to arrive, the menschiest group of people gathered to learn and volunteer together,” Liz Braun-Lilenfeld, deputy director of outreach at MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, told the Journal. “Everyone showed up ready to ask thoughtful questions, share their personal passion about food and housing insecurity advocacy and roll up their sleeves.”
After a screening of “This is Hunger,” a short film that highlights the stories of Americans all over the country suffering from food insecurity, Braun-Lilenfeld facilitated a conversation on those stories and the importance of government aid programs in fighting food insecurity. MAZON is a national advocacy organization fighting to end hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds in the United States and Israel.
“’This is Hunger’ is an encounter with humanity, stirring up our intrinsic values that demand that everyone has a right to food, and further, shedding light on the government’s responsibility in providing the vast majority of the food aid in our country.”
– Liz Braun-Lilenfeld
“’This is Hunger’ is an encounter with humanity, stirring up our intrinsic values that demand that everyone has a right to food, and further, shedding light on the government’s responsibility in providing the vast majority of the food aid in our country,” she said.
Following the conversation, Waverly Paradox, PATH’s associate director of Community Affairs, shared PATH’s history and the services they provide to unhoused people in Los Angeles. PATH’s mission is to end homelessness for individuals, families and communities.
Volunteers packed 72 kits full of food for individuals who are soon to be housed in one of PATH’s newest interim housing sites.
“Volunteers chatted, enjoyed sufganiyot and stayed until the bitter end to make sure every last Costco box was broken down,” Braun-Lilenfeld said. “[They] left inspired to get involved with MAZON in the continuing to fight to make sure everyone is fed with dignity.”
Informed by the Jewish value of justice, tzedek, Repair the World Los Angeles mobilizes Jews and their communities to take action in pursuit of a just world through meaningful service and learning.
“In collaboration with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Repair partners with local leaders and nonprofits to support them in meeting their missions by providing them an array of fellows, service corps members and episodic volunteers ready to serve in capacity-building roles,” Michael Auerbach, city director of Repair the World Los Angeles, told the Journal.
This event was organized by Repair the World Fellow Cate Mandel.
“The evening was everything I hoped it would be,” Mandel told the Journal. “All of the volunteers were enthusiastic and engaged, and showed so much care for the work we were doing.”
Mandel, who is spending her fellowship logging volunteer hours with PATH and learning from the experts at MAZON, brought together the missions of their organizations and created something special to be part of NuRoot’s 8th Annual Infinite Light campaign.
NuRoots is the Federation’s young adult platform. Infinite Light is NuRoots’ citywide celebration of Hanukkah, a curated and collaborative festival of creative Jewish gatherings, resources and daily candle lighting.
“[Infinite Light highlights] the unique energy of Hanukkah, reflecting LA’s wildly diverse community of Jewish young adults and made in partnership with incredible organizations and co-creators,” Chelsea Snyder, director of NuRoots Community Building, told the Journal.
NuRoots was thrilled to include their friends at Repair the World to join this year’s line up, calling it “an opportunity for all of us to connect and reconnect, inspire and get inspired, come back together as a community and collectively experience and reimagine an ancient tradition.”