In the last two years, during one of the worst recessions in the United States, Queens Jewish community leaders have had a 325 percent increase in requests for emergency assistance. To ensure the most needy Jewish residents get the proper food necessary to celebrate Passover, Stop & Shop Supermarkets partnered with the Queens Jewish Community Council and city politicians and donated 1,000 pounds of kosher food.
Warren Hecht, president of the Queens Jewish Community Council, said he would love a day when he could turn down donations. “Unfortunately, we do need it. Guaranteed, people will be waiting [at the food pantry.]”
In February, the Queens Jewish Community Council served 2,240 people, and with an estimated 20 percent of the city’s Jewish families living in poverty, Hecht said people must stay cognizant of hunger issues.
Tammie Smith, store manager of the Forest Hills Stop & Shop, where a press conference was held last week to announce the donation, said she was pleased to assist the Queens Jewish Community Council.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said it’s disheartening that so many people live in poverty. “It’s especially difficult if a family cannot celebrate a religious holiday.” She thanked Stop & Shop for recognizing the religious beliefs and diversity of Queens residents.
Borough President Helen Marshall echoed Crowley’s sentiment. Thanks to Stop & Shop’s donations, she said, “all Jewish residents, regardless of income level, can celebrate Passover.”
By Eric Yun