Kosher food donated to Forest Hills pantry

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The Forest Hills Stop & Shop Supermarket made an emergency donation of 1,000 pounds of food to the Queens Jewish Community Council Tuesday to help the group restock its kosher food pantry that had been depleted of its Passover packages.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), Borough President Helen Marshall and officials from the Forest Hills-based QJCC and Stop & Shop gathered at the store on the border of Forest Hills and Glendale to announce the donation, which came after the Council gave out 1,000 bags filled with Passover food to families from throughout Queens.

“So many New Yorkers are struggling during this difficult time, finding it hard to even put food on the table for their families,” Quinn said. “It is especially difficult for a family if they are unable to celebrate a religious holiday because they can’t afford to buy the appropriate food. This donation, which will help to feed so many hungry children, defines the spirit of Passover, a holiday that is about family, community and miracles.”

Passover, a Jewish holiday which runs this year from March 30 to April 6, is the celebration commemorating the Hebrews’ escape from enslavement in Egypt.

This is the second year the Stop & Shop has donated food to the QJCC’s kosher food pantry and QJCC Executive Director Cynthia Zalisky said the 1,000 pounds will help to give several hundred more families Passover packages that include matzoh, soup, grape and apple juice, macaroons and vegetables.

“This is going to people who really need it,” Marshall said.

The QJCC, which serves people throughout the borough, has seen an increase in the number of families coming to their food pantry for Passover and in general, Zalisky said.

“The realities of this economy have had a devastating impact upon many New Yorkers who suddenly find themselves unable to provide basic necessities for their families,” said QJCC president Warren Hecht. “The requests for assistance from members of the Jewish community as Passover approaches has been overwhelmi­ng.”

Councilwomen Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) said the Passover donation would help bring a bit of normalcy to lives that have often been shattered by jobs lost in the recession.

“Too many people in this city live in poverty and experience hunger, especially during today’s harsh economic reality,” Crowley said. “Not only does Stop & Shop deliver for families in need, they recognize religious beliefs of the diverse communities of this great city.”

The Jewish community, like other people throughout the city, has been hit hard by the economy, according to William Rapfogel, the CEO and executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

“The number of Jewish children impacted by poverty is staggering,” he said. “A recent Met Council report found that 52,000 Jewish children — 23 percent of the Jewish children who reside in New York City — live at or under the poverty level.”

Individuals may pick up the Passover packages at the QJCC from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and Monday morning. The QJCC is at 119-45 Union Tnpk. and its telephone number is 718-544-9033.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 5:54 pm, October 10, 2011
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