Passover Campaign

Food Security

Generation after generation, at Passover, Jewish communities have performed the mitzvah of providing Ma’ot Chitim … “wheat money” … to ensure that no one in the community is excluded from a seder and from the eating of the matzah.

This mitzvah is vitally necessary here and now. The Jewish Family Service Agency is seeing a consistent increase in the number of individuals and families – including seniors and households with children – who are living in poverty.

The cost of living in Metro Vancouver, combined with rising food prices, particularly for nutritious produce, protein and dairy-based staples, is creating a crisis for many families.

We know of too many instances where people are forced to choose between rent, food or medications … and this does not take into account special considerations such as the added expense of kosher food and other costs associated with Jewish observance.

These sorts of financial challenges can have a dangerous cascading effect. Choosing medications over rent can – and does – lead to homelessness. Choosing rent over medications and nutritious food can lead to deteriorating health. These are choices that no family should have to make, yet the JFSA sees hundreds of members of our community experiencing precisely these sorts of no-win options.

Intervening as early as possible to prevent problems from intensifying can change the course of lives.

 

How is JFSA is addressing Food Security?

Food security is a top priority for JFSA and we know, for the community.  More than 500 individuals in Metro Vancouver depend on JFSA for basic necessities.  JFSA aims to address this through 2 major programs – the Jewish Food Bank and Food Vouchers

  • The Jewish Food Bank pops up at the Peretz Centre every other Thursday morning and serves over 300 people each month.  Some clients access this resource once a month, and are able to receive 3-4 days worth of nutritious food.  In the past year, due to increasing hardship, over 100 of these same people have needed to access the Jewish Food Bank twice a month in order to make ends meet.  The number of families having to use the food bank twice a month has almost doubled, from 28 to 52.
  • In addition to the Jewish Food Bank, JFSA currently supports 305 households (individuals and families) through its Food Voucher Program. Clients requiring assistance range from young single-parent families to Holocaust Survivors living in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
  • The Voucher Program is critical in helping to address nutritional needs for the purchase of items, not offered through the Jewish Food Bank, as well as supporting those who simply cannot access this resource. They include those who are working during Food Bank hours, and those who are homebound or live too far away.
  • For families and adults (not including seniors), the average amount offered for Food Vouchers is a mere $65/per individual per month.  All our clients who receive financial aid live at or below the poverty line.  With the increasing demand year after year and limited funds, we made the difficult decision a few months ago to scale back from $65/individual per month to $45, in order to address current demands.  We also cannot address any new requests for support.

 

Annually, Project Isaiah, the community canned food drive during the High Holy Days is important for stocking the shelves of the Jewish Food Bank. However, you may be surprised to know that that campaign only brings in enough for about three or four months of non-perishable provisions. The rest is purchased throughout the year.

On March 1st, JFSA launched it’s annual Passover Campaign.  This Campaign is about addressing hunger and ensuring that everyone can celebrate Passover.

Funds raised will go towards:

  • providing 180 Passover food hampers for individuals and families
  • the purchase of special for Passover items for the Jewish Food Bank and other nutritious food
  • Funds will allow JFSA to give a little more in vouchers during the holidays
  • and enable clients to attend community seders.

 

Those of us who have the good fortune of plenty are blessed with the opportunity to do a great mitzvah.

We can reduce hunger and anxiety.

We can ensure that children and young people have what they need to succeed in their crucial developing years.

We can bring companionship to seniors and others who will enjoy seders and the full experience of Passover.

We can add to the joy of our own Passover celebrations knowing that we have made the holiday more meaningful for others.

This year’s campaign is seeking an unprecedented goal of $70,000.  Please give generously.  Neil & Michelle, who are one of JFSA’s most committed friends and donors are matching all new or increased gifts to the Passover Campaign.

How can you participate?

  1. Please call the JFSA after Shabbat to make a donation
  2. OR give an online gift:
    Visit www.jfsa.ca/passovercampaign or visit our CHIMP giving group.  Look for Passover Campaign – Maot Chittim

Thank you for your generous support, on behalf of the Rabbinical Association of Vancouver, the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, Jewish Women International – BC and Jewish Family Service Agency.

Chag Pesach sameach,

JFSA Board of Directors