Originally published in the Jewish Journal

created at: 2012-04-05How does New England’s largest kosher food pantry prepare for Passover?

One of the busiest times of year in a Jewish household is just before Passover/Pesach when everyone works to prepare their house for the upcoming holiday, clearing out the chametz (leavened foods forbidden during Passover) and stocking up on kosher for Passover foods. Recently JF&CS Family Table prepared in a similar fashion for the holiday so that we would be “Pesach-ready.”

Last year Family Table provided more than 19,000 bags of nutritious food valued at over $300,000 for people living on very low incomes. Family Table provides groceries once a month to recipients and additional food items for the holidays. This Passover we distributed food to nearly 400 families. This number has grown dramatically since our launch in 1993.

Our Passover preparations began in the depths of winter, when we asked our clients whether they would like kosher chicken, gefilte fish, matzah, macaroons, and much more. We turned to our 69 Family Table collection sites (local synagogues and day schools) to collect the food. The kosher chickens were purchased with the support of a generous donor. This year we provided more than 700 boxes of matzah to Jewish families!

Family Table is a grassroots effort with a great deal of community involvement that is essential. A group of volunteers from Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley joined JF&CS to help pack the Passover bags. Hundreds more volunteers assisted during Family Table distribution days at JF&CS Headquarters in Waltham and at our North Shore location, Temple Sinai in Marblehead.

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