By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Purim holiday which took place this past weekend was a lot more festive for hundreds of people in Brooklyn, thanks to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which distributed food packages to families in Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park and Borough Park as part of its Kosher Food Network.
Volunteers from the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush and the Jewish Community Council of Far Rockaway delivered 500 two-person meals to homes on Friday, March 14, in time for the Jewish festival.
The food giveaway allowed residents to partake in holiday festivities despite the often prohibitive costs of kosher food, organizers said. The meal included traditional staples such as challah, stuffed cabbage, vegetable soup, chicken, and potato kugel.
“Purim is a time for celebration and thanks to a generous Met Council supporter, 1,000 food insecure New Yorkers will be able to join the Jewish community in marking the occasion with joy and dignity,” Metropolitan Council CEO and Executive Director David M. Frankel said prior to the food distribution.
“There are a half a million poor and near poor Jewish New Yorkers who struggle to feed their family every day. These 1,000 meals will allow our clients to observe the holiday with a traditional and nutritious meal that otherwise would have been price prohibitive. Many of our clients are in a unique need because of the additional expense of kosher food: on average a kosher meal is 30 percent more expensive,” Frankel said.
Purim is one of the most joyous holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination. On Purim it is customary to give charity to those in need and to deliver gifts of food to neighbors.
The Purim meal packages were part of Metropolitan Council’s year-round Kosher Food Network, a project that provides a holistic care program of food packages, emergency food vouchers and prepared meals to supplement food to low-income households throughout New York.
The Metropolitan Council also fights poverty throughout the year by providing $460,975 in Food Gift Cards to needy families and by delivering 9,360 meals to home-bound seniors.
In anticipation of Jewish holidays, the council increases the amount of food distributed and food cards delivered, officials said.