June 27, 2011

New YorkÕs Jewish Soup Kitchens Face Rising Demand

New York…The Soup Kitchen was supposed to be a relic from a different age, when impoverished and illiterate immigrants from Eastern Europe in the early 1900’s did not have food on the Lower East Side. But in recent years, thanks to the energetic young Orthodox activist Alexander Rapaport, the soup kitchens, under the name Masbia (Hebrew for to satiate a hungry appetite) are not only back but facing an unprecedented demand, largely due to the recession and rising numbers of aged poor. The success of his flagship kitchen in Boro Park, resulted in a partnership with Met Council on Jewish Poverty and UJA/Federation of New York that added soup kitchens in Williamsburg, Flatbush, and Rego Park, Queens. In the year of transition from one kitchen to a four-kitchen network, Masbia served 55,923 meals. In the past year, the four kitchens served 82,292 meals. This year, Masbia also launched a weekend take-home packages program that distributed 68,522.