written by Laura Mizes, Youth Outreach Coordinator, MAZON
It’s so hard to believe the summer is coming to a close. It feels like just yesterday that I was gearing up for another summer of travel, visiting URJ camps across the country to teach a Hunger Advocacy program on behalf of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. I was thrilled to visit URJ Greene Family Camp, Eisner Camp and Crane Lake Camp this summer, and I am left with so many fantastic impressions from the kids I worked with.
What impressed me the most this summer was the thoughtful way that each camper connected to the program. This summer we really focused on the importance of advocacy and the necessity of speaking out to create change. Each camper wrote a letter on an empty paper plate to President Obama urging him to protect hungry kids and families across the country. Their letters were insightful, inspired and mature. A few kids even volunteered to tell a story about how their family has struggled with hunger and how government programs were necessary to their wellbeing.
Dear President Obama,
My family is a part of SNAP. At the time we joined both my parents had no jobs. We’re doing a little better now. My Mom has a job and my Dad is trying to start a business.
It sucks not knowing where your next meal will come from. Please keep supporting SNAP for kids like me. My parents had to sell everything until SNAP came along.
My parents don’t even have insurance. My Dad needs pills for ADD like I do but we can only afford them for me. Please make SNAP a priority for kids like me.
Sincerely, “John” Age 12
P.S. Worst thing of all people have it worse than me.
The letters sent to the White House truly reflect our Jewish values and obligation to protect the vulnerable people in our midst. Each of the campers who wrote a letter to President Obama will receive a letter back from him this month. The White House was thrilled to acknowledge the dedication and commitment from our young Jewish community.
I walk away from this summer incredibly inspired by the youth in our midst. They are brave, passionate and curious. I look forward to many more summers learning from and with these great kids!