The Great American Deli Schlep

Written by Steven Goode, Chaiway Riders member and Great American Deli Schlep rider

Having completed three long-distance cross-country trips in the United States over the past 8 years (11,000+ miles for each trip), Roger Burton, a fellow Chaiway Rider, suggested that I do a ride to each of the ‘best Jewish delis in every state’, per a Nosher magazine article in 2018 with the same name. I thought it was a great idea and I discussed it with my wife who immediately suggested that I reach out to MAZON, a Jewish not-for-profit organization that fights hunger in both the United States and Israel.

I called MAZON and brought up the idea of a cross-country motorcycle trip visiting Jewish delis as an awareness project to fight hunger and a fundraiser for MAZON. I told them about the JMA, and they immediately went to their computers and looked up the JMA while still on the call. They were hysterical with some of the names of our clubs. By the end of the call, they were "all in” on the trip. We decided that I would take care of the travel logistics, coordination of the trip with the JMA, writing the blog, and the photography. In addition, I would pay all of my travel expenses. MAZON would be responsible for contacting all of the delis, fund raising, social media and coordinating the public relations with the various media outlets and synagogues around the country.

I decided to begin the trip on June 1st from Manny’s Deli in Chicago. After working out the logistics, I figured that it would be a 75-day adventure covering close to 16,000 miles.

MAZON set up a link on their website to market the trip to their 40,000 supporters.

Once I developed the spreadsheet targeting each deli that I would visit; the date I was to arrive; the miles I needed to travel; the selected delis contacted; and all the other details of the trip put firmly in place, I was ready for the kickoff meal. The Chaiway Riders came out in force with a procession of 14 motorcycles riding down Lake Shore Drive, ultimately assembling in front of Manny’s Deli for the traditional kickoff photo shoot. We were able to get both ABC 7 and Fox News to participate at Manny’s and I was fortunate enough to be on the evening news that night. Here is the Fox News piece

At each media event, I tried to promote the JMA and how the clubs are working with me to help make this ride and fund raiser a success. I was able to meet JMA members in Cleveland, Philadelphia, NY, NJ, Rhode Island, Arizona, Portland, Denver and Atlanta. Other members and friends, Bruce Benton, David Selmo and Bruce Ente, joined me for different parts of the journey. Having the camaraderie of fellow JMA members connect with me along the way made me feel as if I was just on a long regional ride making connections with fellow Jewish riders along the way.

The goals that MAZON and I set out for this ride were; hunger awareness in the United States; publicity for MAZON; what they do to fight hunger; raise money for MAZON; and finally helping out the Jewish delis via publicity within their marketplace.

Here are some links to check out:

Mazon's main website

Steve’s personal Blog

Reno, NV TV spot

Outstanding video - ABC TV via Facebook

Finally, if you like this article and the idea of this trip and wish to donate to MAZON please go to the above website. Any amount, small or large will help in the fight to change hunger in both the United States and Israel.

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