Local Organizations and Elected Officials Partnered To Address the Rise of Jewish Child Living in Poverty

childrenMetropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (“Met Council”), The Jewish Education Project, the New York City Department of Education, Council Members David Greenfield and Stephen Levin, the Jewish Community Council of Boro Park, and the UJO of Williamsburg provided 4,000 free kosher lunches to school-age children from low-income families during the week of August 24th.

Kosher Summer Meals was launched in 2012 to help low-income families provide nutritious meals for their children during the last week of summer, when children lack access to meals they ordinarily receive through school or camp. The program mirrors the Citywide Summer Meals program, while acknowledging the needs of children who keep kosher. The program was created in response to the alarming number of children living in poor Jewish households.   In Brooklyn alone, there are 168,800 poor and near-poor Jewish households with children, and 45% of all children in the New York City area live in households that are at or near the poverty line.

“Every day, 300,000 New Yorkers struggle to find access to nutritious and kosher food.  The annual Kosher Summer Meals is an essential program because for many families, the week between camp and school is particularly difficult to provide adequate meals,” said Met Council CEO and Executive Director Alan Schoor.  “We thank the generosity of our donor and the hard work of our partners: Chancellor Farina and the New York City Department of Education, Rabbi Schloss and The Jewish Education Project, Council Members David Greenfield and Stephen Levin, Rabbi Silber and the JCC of Boro Park, and Rabbi Niederman and UJO of Williamsburg.”

“There is no better way to prepare for the New Year than to be part of a coalition serving the community’s needs in such a profound way,” said Rabbi Dr. Martin Schloss, Director, Department of Day Schools & Yeshivot at The Jewish Education Project.

“The Kosher Summer Meals program is a very important part of our effort to ensure that healthy, delicious meals are available to children throughout New York City,” said Eric Goldstein Chief Executive of the Office of School Support Services at Department of Education. “During this week, when camps are over and before schools begin, access to free kosher meals is more important than ever to thousands of children. I want to thank our community partners, as well as Council Members Greenfield and Levin for tremendous leadership in helping make this program a reality.”

“I am thrilled to be supporting the Kosher Summer Meals program,” said Council Member David Greenfield. “This time of year—between camp ending and school beginning—is an important time  to provide healthy, kosher food.  My thanks to the Met Council, the JCC of Boro Park and Councilman Steven Levin for their hard work in serving and supporting the community.”

“Every family in New York should have access to the healthy, nutritious meals their children need to grow and thrive,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “I am proud to support the Kosher Summer meals program to help bridge the gap between camp and school and ensure that no parent is left wondering where their child’s next meal will come from. I would like to thank everyone who helps to bring this important service to our communities every year.”

“It is most gratifying coming back every year, and seeing our neighborhood children enjoying a good nutritious lunch in the park,” said Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, Executive Director of Boro Park JCC. “Especially this week when most camps have ended and school has not yet begun. I am most grateful to our partners in this project for their ongoing support.”

“The end of the summer, with camps coming to a close but the school year yet to start, is a time when children are home,” said Rabbi David Niederman, President of the UJO of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn. “Unfortunately, many fail to eat a nutritious lunch, which effect not only their eating habits but their entire day. We are thankful to to Met Council, The Jewish Education Project and Councilman Steve Levin, for working with us to ensure that there is no reason to go hungry. Children are welcome to come and enjoy a ready packed nutritious meal, while also enjoying the outdoors.”

“It is tragic that in this day and age so many children and families are still in such desperate need of even one nutritious daily meal,” said State Senator Simcha Felder. “This effort is one step towards effectively eliminating this problem.”

“Summer’s end is approaching, the camps have concluded.  What a better way to prepare our students for the new school year,” said Assembly Member Joseph Lentol.  “Good nutrition, healthy eating habits all help our children to learn better and grow stronger.  This food distribution sends a great message about healthy starts for the new school year.”

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