JP Updates: Ohio Farm Partners with Masbia Kitchen Network in Annual Pre-Passover Charoset Drive

Posted on: March 23, 2015

by Jacob Kornbluh

Masbia Soup Kitchen Network , dubbed a restaurant-without-registers-style soup kitchen in New York City, is continuing its annual tradition of preparing for distribution some 18 Kosher for Passover meals to an estimated 25,000 New Yorkers in need.

Last year, on the day before Passover, Masbia distributed over 200,000 meals to needy seniors, men, women and children – their largest food distribution since their founding in 2005. The special 10-item packages included a full ‘sedar plate’ – such as eggs, parsley roots, horseradish, apples, walnuts, almonds and potatoes – as well as chicken, carrots, grape juice and a box of matzos.

`This year, as part of the annual Charoset Drive, Masbia’s Executive Director Alex Rapaport acclaimed kosher baker Paula Shoyer and Ohio farmer Lee Jones, from The Chef’s Garden, to offer special gifts for those who contribute to the important matter.  While the food distribution center has asked for a minimal contribution of $50 in order to achieve its goal of providing 18 nutritionally balanced meals per person on Passover – the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a donation of $180 will be rewarded with Shoyer’s newly released cookbook, The New Passover Menu.

Jones, of The Chef’s Garden, a sustainable family farm in Ohio, has pledged to send freshly picked Farm-to-Seder vegetables on ice, a day before Passover, for those contributing $,1000 and more.

For 30 years, Jones has been providing the best quality specialty and heirloom vegetables, herbs and microgreens to the nation’s most discerning chefs. Package will contain two types of high-end parsley, black radish, lime radish, purple ninja radish, watermelon radish, knob celery and baby romaine lettuce, Rapaport told JP.

In a video posted on Masbia’s site, farmer Lee Jones said he invited Rapaport in October of 2014 to visit the farm in Huron, Ohio, to speak to top chefs from around the country about feeding the needy with dignity. Acquired with his traditional Hasidic garments, Rapaport traveled to Ohio and even traded his Tzitzit with the farmer’s bow tie.

“Inspired by Masbia’s work, I have shipped our micro-greens and specialty heirloom vegetables to Masbia’s Chef, Ruben Diaz, to feed the needy,” Jones said. “I am joining Masbia’s Charoset Drive too and this is how. For your donation of $1,000 I will send you freshly picked, Farm-to-Seder spring vegetables, on ice, delivered to you in time for your Seders.”

This year’s Charoset Drive also has the Food Bank for New York City, – a city wide anti-hunger charity – as a senior partner.

“With help of the Food Bank for NYC and the help of thousands of private donors we will be able to feed thousands of needy men women and children this Passover season more than ever,” said Rapaport. “We hope donors take advantage of the Farm-to-Seder vegetables and the cookbook since we really need to raise a lot more this year.”


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