JP Updates: Report: Adjustment in Food Stamps Means Bigger Crowds at MasbiaPosted on: April 6, 2014
By Yossi Gestetner
The economy seems to be in such a bad shape four and a half years into the recovery, that a slight adjustment in Food Stamps for a limited number of New Yorkers, seems to have put a strain on the Kosher Soup Kitchen Masbia. Reports the Forward: Masbia, the most robust kosher food pantry and soup kitchen network in New York, is at the forefront of filling hungry bellies — both Jewish and non-Jewish — but not without its own struggles.
Masbia saw a 200% increase in demand for food in the two months after the food stamp cuts, compared with the same period in 2012–13. The not-for-profit expects to serve up to 1.5 million meals this year — twice the number doled out in 2013. The Queens branch now stays open an extra three hours Thursdays, when food packages are distributed. Alexander Rapaport, Masbia’s executive director, said the organization is operating “hand to mouth.” With Passover coming, he’s racing against the clock to find more funding.
“The most dignified and most efficient way [to stem hunger] is to give people food stamps,” Rapaport said. “We’re not the answer. We’re not the gym — the gym is something that keeps you healthy. We’re the emergency room.” About one in four Jewish families in New York City is poor. About half of those families depend on food stamps, according to Nicole Doniger, chief programming officer of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.
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