UJA-Federation of New York’s fourth annual “Pack It Up For Purim” food drive runs now through March 16, 2014, and aims to provide more than 3,000 food packages to hungry New Yorkers. Food will be collected at the JASA Williamsburg Senior Center, located at 202 Graham Avenue in Brooklyn. Drop-off times are Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The initiative follows one Purim tradition of offering mishloach manot, or charitable food baskets, to friends, neighbors, and those in need. Fanning out over New York City, Long Island, and Westchester, over 40 UJA-Federation beneficiary agencies, synagogues, day schools, and other organizations are collecting food donations and many are organizing food-packing projects to help inspire community-building and charitable giving.
"Approximately 2.6 million New Yorkers – or nearly one in four – have difficulty affording food for themselves and their families and we need to come together to help feed our neighbors," says Susan Kohn, executive director of the Volunteer Leadership Development Department at UJA-Federation of New York. "In the spirit of Purim, we are so grateful to our food collection sites and encourage all New Yorkers to come out and help members of our community who are just trying to feed their families."
“Our goal for last year was to deliver over 2,000 food packages, and this year we raised that goal to 3,000 to further alleviate pressure on food distribution sites and increase the number of families we can serve,” said Kohn.
Each Pack It Up for Purim food package will contain nutritious, nonperishable items such as whole-grain cereal or oatmeal, canned vegetables, canned tuna, pasta, beans, granola bars, and peanut butter.
"For clients of the Rina Shkolnik Kosher Food Pantry at the JCC of the Greater Five Towns, these packages are dually important – they allow for the poor to enjoy a festive meal and help forge a sense of happiness during the month in which Purim occurs. Pack It Up For Purim enables the community to fulfill these good deeds in such a beautiful way,” says Joel Block, executive director of the JCC of the Greater Five Towns.
The festival of Purim, celebrated annually by Jews around the world, commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.
For more information on how to volunteer and to find a list of the food collection sites, please visit http://www.ujafedny.org/purim. For information about the “Pack It Up For Purim” food collection site at JASA Williamsburg Senior Center, please contact Melissa Cardenas at (718) 388-6865 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Feeding Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Response
Feeding Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Response unites Catholic Charities and UJA-Federation of New York, two of the largest faith-based, not-for-profit organizations, to raise awareness about the issue of hunger and food insufficiency in the community. Through the shared values of “Let all who are hungry come and eat” and “No hungry neighbor should be turned away,” the Jewish and Catholic communities collectively pledge to make a difference in the lives of those who are hungry and in need. The interfaith initiative stems from Catholic Charities’ Feeding Our Neighbors initiative, an effort to fight hunger by replenishing dwindling supplies in emergency food programs that continue to be stretched thin. Together, Catholic Charities and UJA-Federation maximize their impact to realize a goal of collecting and distributing one million meals to feed hungry New Yorkers during winter's cruelest months.