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L.A. Jewish leaders launch campaign to end hunger in the city [Updated]

September 17, 2009 | 12:43 pm

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On the eve of the Rosh Hashana holiday, Jewish leaders in Los Angeles are launching a campaign to end hunger in the city by rallying individuals and congregations around the cause.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and other groups are promoting the “Fed Up With Hunger” drive by placing 40,000 information packets and reusable grocery bags in more than 50 synagogues during this weekend’s celebration of the Jewish new year. Rosh Hashana begins at sundown Friday and continues through Sunday.

The activists are asking Jews to volunteer at food banks or pantries, organize neighborhood food drives, or donate food or money to turn Los Angeles into a hunger-free zone.

“L.A. is euphemistically called the hunger capital of America,”  federation President John R. Fishel said during a news conference today outside the agency’s Wilshire Boulevard headquarters. “As we approach Rosh Hashana, [we] felt it was important to take the initiative and address this problem.”

The federation is running the campaign with the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, the Sova Community Food and Resource Program, and Mazon, a Los Angeles group that funds hunger relief agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

[Updated at 9 a.m. Friday:  Other groups are involved as well, including Para Los Niños, a nonprofit educational organization, and several other non-Jewish food banks and social service organizations.]

The website www.givelifemeaning.org, sponsored by the federation, provides more information about the campaign.

-- Duke Helfand

Photo: Students from Shalhevet High School prepare to eat challah bread as part of an announcement of a new anti-hunger campaign for Los Angeles, which will coincide with the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days.  Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

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