NEW YORK – As COVID-19 spreads throughout the country, Kosher Food Lifeline (KFL), a program of the Orthodox Union – the nation’s oldest and largest umbrella organization for the North American Orthodox Jewish community, launched programs to combat the anticipated significant increase in food insecurity, especially for the Passover holiday.
With many airlines cancelling flights – especially flights to Israel – for the foreseeable future, there exists an abundance of available kosher meals. To avoid their going to waste, KFL arranged for Masbia, a nonprofit soup kitchen network and food pantry, to deliver these meals to those who need them.
Second, the organization launched a web resource on the KFL website (www.ou.org/kfl) to help match excess food with those who are in need. The online portal allows for people all over the country to submit information about available kosher food (both chametz for before Passover or kosher for Passover food) in different communities. Those in need can access the website and search by city and state to find food which is free or low-cost so that they can properly nourish themselves during this difficult time.
Third, the OU and Kosher Food Lifeline launched an emergency Passover food campaign to help the unprecedented number of families within our community who are experiencing financial strains that they never imagined they would suffer. For more information, visit: https://www.ou.org/giving/hunger/.
Even in normal economic times, more than 10-percent of the Jewish community faces food insecurity issues. But with businesses contracting and the stock market in decline, the current crisis will impact far more families that usual.
“The OU and all of our individual departments are working around the clock to assist the community in a variety of ways as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts us,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane. “As Passover quickly approaches, the issue of putting food on the table becomes a real concern for many in our community. These new programs will help fill that gap.”
“The COVID-19 crisis has deprived many families of income and others are confronting wholly unanticipated, non-discretionary expenses; all the more devastating during this period leading to Passover,” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin. “The OU is devoting significant resources to help with food insecurity issues our community is facing due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
“Kosher Food Lifeline’s mission is to help existing food pantries, Tomchei Shabbos programs and related social service agencies throughout the United States to provide nutritious kosher food to Jews in need,” said Kosher Food Lifeline Founding Director Allison Deal. “We have received calls from all over the country this past week as there is a tremendous need which we are looking to help alleviate.”