Saturday, September 22, 2012

Masbia Kosher Soup Kitchen in New York City: Brooklyn Jews Get Hot Meals...

Published on Sep 22, 2012 by 
For both Jews and non-Jews alike, there are organizations like the one behind me that are able to serve them a hot meal, and give them something to take home to their families. At the Masbia food pantry in Brooklyn, director Alexander Rapaport shows off some recent donations -- produce from a local farmers' market, some frozen vegetables, but also a few special items.

Masbia is unique -- its four facilities are New York City's only kosher soup kitchens, and here, they've been serving meals throughout Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. From Sunday to Thursday, volunteers and staff prep this tiny dining room for guests -- more than half of whom are Jewish. Tonight, a group of 18 to 24 year old volunteers are taping together boxes and heating up five-course meals -- all told, volunteers here clock some 70 thousand hours each year. The organization started operations in 2005 -- and Rapaport says the client list has grown because of the economic downturn.

We were asked not to film clients as they came in to pick up food or sit down for dinner -- but some were eager to explain why they come. One and a half million New Yorkers are classified as food insecure, and those with dietary restrictions often have a particularly difficult time. Andrew Smallman is the director of hunger and food support initiatives at United Way of New York City. In addition to providing food that comports with Jewish dietary laws, Masbia also tries to provide a welcoming atmosphere that's like no other soup kitchen. But this is just one night at the Masbia Soup Kitchen, and while it's close to the holidays now, they're open year-round, hoping to serve hot meals to hundreds of families around the New York area with a little bit of dignity as well.

Stephen Fee, JN1, New York.



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