Masbia On CBS New York: Kosher Soup Kitchen Hires Asylum Seekers For Temporary Work

Posted on: March 28, 2023

Workers bustle around the warehouse, packing bags, unloading palettes and sorting food inside the Masbia Food Reserve Depot in Borough Park, Brooklyn.

The kosher soup kitchen network is hard at work preparing for the massive surge and need for fresh produce for the Jewish holiday of Passover.

“When it comes to the time of Passover, we usually are forced to hire temps. So this year we chose to hire asylum seekers,” explains Alexander Rapaport, executive director of the Masbia Soup Kitchen Network.

The asylum seekers don’t have work permits, but as part of a unique partnership with immigrant-rights nonprofit La Colmena, the workers can take temporary jobs that can provide a lifeline.

“As long as they don’t get paid over a certain amount, then they don’t have issues with the IRS or with them working,” said Kimberly Vega, day labor workers’ initiative manager at La Colmena. “We are a nonprofit organization. We have certain insurances and liabilities that cover all workers.”

Moises, who recently came from Venezuela with his family, said it’s one of his first experiences working in America.

“The whole experience for me, I feel, is more beneficial than the monetary expense, but, of course, the monetary gain is just helping me and my family at least to eat for a couple of days,” he said through a translator.

Maria, another worker, arrived from Mexico three months ago with her family. She said finding employment has been the biggest challenge.

A line of DoorDash delivery drivers stretches down the block. The company is sponsoring transportation from the depot to the doorstep of families receiving this food.

Throughout this week, Masbia is expecting to receive more than a dozen trailers full of produce at the depot, which will then be organized, repackaged, and delivered via DoorDash to thousands of families for the holiday.

“Fending for yourself to make a buck, to make a living, to be able to survive, is a human right,” Rapaport said of the partnership, which aims to mutually benefit two communities.

Even though there’s a cap on what these workers can earn, the nonprofits also provide lunch, transportation and pantry items to take home.

To read original article click here.

To donate food for Passover via the Charoset Drive click here.

See below photos from the CBS New York report: