September 30, 2013

20,000 Jews Required Food for Holidays in New York as Numbers Soar Nationwide

NEW YORK — So you really think that the economy has improved? Think again! According to Met Council on Jewish Poverty, the number of Jews that required assistance this past holiday season increased substantially. Met Council staff, volunteers, and Elected Officials distributed more than 300,000 pounds of kosher food to 65 different sites throughout the five boroughs in preparation for the holiday (view News 12 video). These Rosh Hashanah packages provided a short reprieve for 20,000 hungry and food insecure families that empowered them to celebrate the New Year with dignity, joy and a sincere hope for a sweet year ahead.Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds distributed the traditional apples and honey for a sweet New Year, as well as carrots, grape juice, grains, soup mix and canned fish. 

In 2012, Met Council distributed 290,682 lbs. of kosher food, but this year the number soared to 366,626 lbs., a 26% jump. According to community sources in New York, the number of needy who required assistance for the high holy days may have been as high as 35,000, the added numbers reflecting the many private groups that distributed food to the needy, including Tomche Shabbos and Keren Aniyim. Reports from Federations around the country, while not on the same scale as New York, also reported dramatic increases in requests for assistance for the holidays. While most were elderly and immigrants, there were distressing reports of many younger families that required assistance, either because of a loss of a job or health.

Video courtesy of Met Council as shared on their Facebook Fan page.