August 22, 2011

Kosher Food and Charity: Perfect Together

Summer appears to have emerged as a lucrative fundraising period and good kosher food is right in the middle. A favorite theme that seems to be a common denominator is the BBQ, which is so conducive to large outdoor gatherings. But it seems that hot dogs and burgers were not the only food served. One foodservice distributor told me that he had sold kosher sausages, knishes, and an unprecedented array of deli. He also delivered cholent and kugel as well as sushi. So the question is, does all that great food contribute to a better bottom line for the organizations trying to capitalize on the kosher palette? The answer seems to be a resounding yes. Several of the executive directors I spoke to said that a reputation for serving good food at an event is definitely a draw. One official swore that people write “bigger checks” when the food is “great tasting.” A caterer who was involved in several of these events said that even people who “watch themselves” somehow cross the line when it comes to the fundraisers. The distributor said that his sales of franks rose by about 10% this year, much of it to foodservice.
I was particularly interested in the story the distributor told me about a neighborhood event that “really had nothing to do with kosher.” The mid-July event attracted about 600 people with perhaps less than a handful of Orthodox Jews. Here’s the way the distributor put it: “I was quite surprised when one of the Orthodox Jews called me to supply the kosher food for the entire gathering. He told me that the organizers recognized that the food might be a bit more expensive, but that he wanted to make sure that whoever eats kosher did not feel like a second-class citizen. So I supplied the food, and even a mashgiach.”