Jewish Family Service (JFS) held a food drive on Sunday, Oct. 18, in the parking lot of Adath Israel Congregation. Scheduled the weekend after the end of Sukkot, it extended the traditions of sharing food associated with that Autumn harvest holiday. The goal had been to fill up the food pantry van with non-perishable foods and especially personal care items; this they did, twice, plus four private cars, and a room full of food at Adath Israel.
The Heldman Family Food Pantry in the Barbash Family Vital Support Center on the campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has seen at least a twenty percent increase in need during the downturn caused by Covid-19-related economic disruptions. The food pantry offers both kosher and non-kosher food, serving approximately two hundred households in a year; they are the only area food pantry that supplies kosher food. Liz Vogel, CEO of JFS, said “If you need help, come get help, please.”
According to Jonathan Magrisso, manager of the food pantry, donations have kept pace with the rising need so far; most of the synagogues that normally host food drives during the High Holidays did so this year, despite necessary changes in format. Magrisso said there has been a huge outpouring of support from the community coming together to help; he added, “I want to make it known how much JFS appreciates the support of the community.”