One of the largest privately supported philanthropic organizations addressing hunger in America today, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, recently awarded a $10,000 grant to The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank to help launch their new educational program for food bank clients and community members.
"This is our third year of funding for the Peninsula Food Bank and it is really an entity that we have cultivated a relationship with because we believe in their mission and their cost effectiveness in providing hungry people with the amount of nourishment that they need," said MAZON executive director, Eric Schokman from the organization's headquarters in Los Angeles.
MAZON (the Hebrew word for "food") is no stranger to the needs of Alaska, according to Schokman since 1986, the year MAZON was created, the group has made over 30 grants to four major organizations throughout Alaska.
While MAZON is interested primarily in getting resources to outreaches that are feeding people that need immediate attention, they also recognize that, "We will never food bank our way out of poverty or hunger. That is where the advocacy piece is critical, we need to change the systemic dialog to the question not is food a privilege but food is a right, and that's where empowering communities through educational programs comes in," added Schokman.
The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank (KPFB) will be offering its first in a series of classes at the Food Bank to share information about access to the abundant natural food resources available locally starting July 2nd. "We are privileged to have Larry Marsh from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game teaching our first class on sport fishing and personal use dip netting on the Kenai Peninsula, as we have determined that many of the families and individuals that we serve do not have adequate knowledge of low cost food sources or adequate training in nutrition and food preparation," said Peggy Moore, KPFB executive director.
MAZON and PHILLIPS Alaska, each awarded the KPFB $10,000 to make the classes possible. An additional grant from the Alaska Food Coalition provided the necessary equipment to separate the Food Bank's Soup Kitchen from the dining area to facilitate meal preparation while classes are being conducted. Everyone is welcome, but seating is limited, to reserve a seat, call the Food Bank at 262-3111.
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