Ahead of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) will provide kosher food to over 67,000 hungry New Yorkers at 74 citywide sites. The high cost of kosher food presents a unique challenge for many New Yorkers: on average, a kosher meal is 30% more expensive. To enable poor and near-poor New Yorkers to celebrate the upcoming holiday, Met Council distributes an increased amount of food because we understand the unique challenge of affording kosher food and the importance of food for rituals.
In order to provide the most dignified food pantry experience, Met Council has transitioned forty percent of the network’s 33 monthly sites to client-choice pantries, where clients are empowered to select the items most appropriate for their families from the array of food available. In the past four months, the majority of the sites have moved away from a traditional pantry system with pre-packed bags and transformed into a client-choice pantry.
“As we enter the New Year, Met Council is renewing its promise to provide our services with the upmost dignity,” said Alan Schoor, CEO and Executive Director of Met Council. “Transitioning 40% of our network pantries to client-choice is a major step towards enhancing the experience for our clients. In New York City, with more than half a million poor and near-poor Jewish New Yorkers, it is not only our mission, but our obligation to ensure that the most vulnerable New Yorkers, no matter their circumstances, have access to kosher and nutritious food year-round and especially during the holidays. Thanks to our partners in government, private donors and local Jewish Community Councils we are able to work towards meeting this need.”
In addition to providing a more dignified experience, client-choice pantries also serve as an important tool that improves services for clients, increases nutrition, and reduces waste. Client-choice pantries increase interaction between clients and the volunteers/staff at food pantries, which enables the pantry to learn more about the overall needs of the clientele and connect clients with additional services. Our goal is to educate our clients on how to create a balanced diet and make healthier food choices for themselves and their families by utilizing the USDA’s MyPlate food groups in the client-choice system.
Clients choose what food they want to eat and what they do not, showing organizers what foods are most popular and enabling them to order more effectively.
This holiday, Met Council will be providing, salmon, chicken, milk, pasta, rice, grape juice, vegetable soup mix and of course the holiday staple: apples and honey.
Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on September 13th. If you or someone you know needs food or others assistance this holiday, please call: 212-453-9539.