Passover can be a trying time of year for those of limited means, with the cost of holiday foods posing a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. As in previous years, the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island endeavored to ensure that as many low-income individuals (mostly senior citizens) as possible could properly celebrate the holiday.
This year, 3,435 distinct economically-challenged individuals received Passover assistance from JCCGCI, through Passover food packages, Passover food cards and Passover seders.
First, nearly 2,000 people benefited from pre-Passover distributions held at the JCCGCI’s central offices and its Jay-Harama Senior Center, Ocean Parkway Senior Center and Haber House Senior Center service sites. Participants lined up to receive food packages filled with chicken, eggs, tuna, gefilte fish, grape juice, borscht, oil, macaroons and fruits and vegetables, with traditional round hand shmura matzah (provided by Chabad). The packages were enabled by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty’s “Kosher Food Network” (the largest kosher food network in the country), the Food Bank for New York City, United Way of New York City’s HPNAP (Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program) and private donations. Volunteers were on hand to aid in the distribution, including an AIPAC crew organized by Met Council and headed by northeast political director Jason Koppel. Officials attending and participating in the distribution included City Councilman Mark Treyger, Howard Pollack representing City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Apple Bank’s first vice president and district manager Steven Dimaggio and JCCGCI board member Harold Steinberg, Esq.
In further efforts to assist those in need, 1,198 people benefited from special food card vouchers sponsored by Met Council and private donors. These food cards were mailed directly to their homes to be redeemed at participating Passover food stores.
Additionally, 242 individuals took part in communal Passover seders held at the Sea Breeze Jewish Center and the Warbasse Jewish Heritage Congregation, both partially sponsored by JCCGCI.
“It was both an honor and privilege to work together with Met Council under the leadership of their CEO, former NYC Councilmember David G. Greenfield, and our other partners, to ensure that area residents were able to enjoy a truly festive Passover,” said Rabbi Moshe Wiener, executive director of the JCCGCI. “We look forward to being able to continue this tradition every year and hope that in the future we will be able to serve even more people, further enhancing an even larger number of holiday celebrations.”