The special mitzvah of Matanot LaEvyonim requires Jewish people of all ages to give over and above customary tzedakah to at least two people in need on Purim. This tradition of helping those in need is central to the spirit of Purim and reminds us that we are obligated and honored to extend a helping hand in times of joy and celebration.
In the weeks leading up to Purim, Yad Chessed reaches out to rabbis, community leaders, synagogues, and schools to connect with people who are facing financial hardship. Anyone who is struggling can receive a Purim food voucher, as well as 1,000-plus individuals and families who currently receive year-round support from Yad Chessed. In 2022, Yad Chessed distributed food support to 950 families on Purim, up from 900 in 2021.
Yad Chessed then sends out kosher grocery vouchers with no dollar amount to the families in need on our list. The vouchers will not be activated until Purim, and the value per voucher is determined by the total amount of funds raised by our amazing community.
On Purim day, Yad Chessed determines the total amount of funds raised for Purim, including pledges, and calls the participating kosher markets to inform them of the value of each voucher. Once the voucher value is determined, recipients can use them to purchase food starting at 1 p.m. on Purim.
Eighty percent of the total funds collected for Purim are distributed for food purchased on Purim day. Any additional funds and donations that are received after the deadline are used to support Jews in need with food and emergency support during the rest of the year.
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