$30,000 Worth of Passover Food Distributed
$30,000 Worth of Passover Food Distributed in 4 HoursBrooklyn NY – April 12, 2011 -- For the last few days dozens of volunteers were busy turning the Masbia central kitchen into a Passover grocery store. They arranged a large-scale display of donated Passover staples such as matzah, potato starch, nuts, chicken, meat, oil, grape juice, produce and much more, that were distributed to single mothers on April 11th in the evening. These foods were donated by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, City Harvest, Food Bank and purchased with money from private donations.
This distribution was a joint effort between Met Council, Masbia and Sister to Sister, a support group for about 500 Jewish single mothers in Brooklyn. All three organizations collaborated, bringing their own expertise and donors to make this distribution a success. The mothers were invited to come Monday evening (by invitation) to the Masbia storefront soup kitchen on Coney Island Avenue, which was set up to look like a grocery store, and fill bags with items of their choice. "A grocery store is an understatement," said Alexander Rapaport executive director of Masbia. "Some of the meats you can only find in high-end, gourmet stores."
This year the three organizations received many last-minute, unexpected donations, which increased the value of and the amount of food each family got. "Getting a $50 French Roast in your charity pantry bag is not typical by any means, but this is what the donors wanted to sponsor, so this is what we distributed," said Mr. Rapaport. "Masbia is entirely donor driven, Passover and all year round. The meals we serve, and the dignity we serve with them is a bottom-up approach dictated by our donors."
“We were delighted to be able to offer together with Masbia, the Food Bank and City Harvest, many of “Sister to Sister’s” single mom clients a unique and gourmet like opportunity for Passover,” said Willie Rapfogel, CEO of Met Council. “This helps ensure that we are enhancing the dignified experience at Masbia.”
Three New York City elected officials came to cheer up the dozens of volunteers who helped make this distribution possible. “What I see here are people pulling together and helping people,” said Council Member Lew Fidler who attended the distribution. “That’s what Tikun Olam is about, that’s what Pesach is about--people helping and us coming together as a community.”
“People don’t realize how much need there is in the community, and Masbia does a great job year round of providing fresh, hot meals in a restaurant style setting,” said Council Member David Greenfield. “Of course Masbia is closed for Pesach, but rather than take two weeks off, they do a terrific program and clear this restaurant into a Pesach distribution. It’s a wonderful program, they have volunteers here from across New York city. We are very grateful, and thank them for the wonderful work they do year round.”
“I am so happy to be here at Masbia and to see wonderful food that is being given out to people in need in the community, beautiful produce, all sorts of products,” said New York City Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio. ”I want to thank Masbia and Met Council. I have had the honor of working with both programs for years, they do extraordinary work. There are thousands and thousands of people who will benefit from this program in the pesach season, people in need wouldn’t have the opportunity to get such wonderful food otherwise. I wanted to come by and offer my support and appreciation on behalf of the people in this city.”
Lots of emphasis was placed on preserving the dignity of the mothers who came. To prevent clients from feeling embarrassed coming home with charity groceries, they were provided with grocery bags from recognizable supermarkets. 500 bags were donated by Pomegranate, a high-end Kosher Brooklyn supermarket, and 500 bags were donated by Trader Joes a national supermarket chain.