Met Council to distribute food for Passover

March 26, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty distributes food to residents in need. Photo courtesy Met Council
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To enable families in financial difficulty to celebrate Passover this year, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty will distribute 2.2 million pounds of kosher-for-Passover food to community-based organizations in the five boroughs, council officials announced this week.

The community organizations that will be receiving the food will in turn distribute the food to families in their neighborhoods.

The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty is also known as the Met Council.

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Two of the many groups scheduled to receive free food donations are United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, which will be picking up the donations at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Sunday, March 29, and the Shorefront Jewish Community Center at 3161 Brighton Sixth St. in Brighton Beach, where a food drop-off was set to take place on Thursday, March 26.

Passover begins at sundown on April 3.

“The Passover Haggadah teaches us to ‘Let all who are hungry come to our table.’ With one in four Jewish New Yorkers struggling to feed their families kosher and nutritious foods, Met Council’s extraordinary staff works every day with our Jewish community council network, located on the front lines in all five boroughs, and city and state agency partners to provide dignified solutions to hunger,” said David M. Frankel, CEO and executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

In addition to the 2.2 million pounds of food, the Met Council will also be giving out $430,000 in food cards to families who are struggling financially. Frankel said the donations “will enable our clients to observe Passover with a traditional and nutritious meal that otherwise would have been price prohibitive.”

The high cost of kosher food presents a unique challenge for many New Yorkers. On average, a kosher meal is 30 percent more expensive, according to the Met Council. 

A 2011 study by the UJA-Federation of New York found that there are more than 300,000 people living in poor and near-poor households in New York City that observe Jewish dietary laws. The UJA-Federation conducted the report in consultation with the Met Council.

Leaders of community-based organizations said they’re looking forward to helping families prepare for Passover.

“We are excited to assist numerous Williamsburg families again with our annual Pre-Passover distribution, in partnership with Met Council, as in years past, helping thousands of families in a respectable manner with some of the basic food necessities for Passover,” said Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg.

But Rachel Krich, site director of the Shorefront Jewish Community Center, said it’s important to remember that hungry families are hungry all year around, not just on holidays.

“Our attention is brought to the issue of food insecurity and poverty in our community during the holiday season, however this is not a problem that pops up once a year,” she said. “These families live in poverty every day and we are constantly working with them to help them deal with important day to day needs. We need to start focusing on this issue as a constant and not simply as something that we see during the holiday seasons.”

For more information on the Met Council’s food distribution program, call 212-453-9539.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer paid a visit to the Shorefront JCC ‪food distribution in Brighton Beach on Thursday. Stringer distributed bags of food to families in need. “In our city, it’s appalling that up to 1.4 million people cannot afford three full meals a day on a regular basis. As we celebrate Passover, I encourage you to contribute what you can to those who are less fortunate,” he said. 

The comptroller’s visit to Brighton Beach came after he toured the Shmura Matzoh Bakery in Borough Park, where he helped rolling out the matzoh.

Stringer received his finished product to take home for the holidays. “It will be hard to find another local product that can be completed in 18 minutes from start to finish!” he said. “I am looking forward to celebrating Seder with family and friends this Passover.”


Article was updated to include information on Comptroller Stringer’s visits to Shorefront JCC and the Shmura Bakery.



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