Over 2,000 families made their way to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Sunday to receive food distributed by the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn (UJO) and the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty as part of their annual Passover food drive.
Hundreds of bags and boxes filled with potatoes, onions, carrots and grape juice were lined up along one of the docks at the Navy Yard. Cars made their way one at a time to be loaded with produce by dozens of volunteers on hand to help Jewish families in need during the time of celebration. People received portions based on the number of family members.
“This program has grown tremendously over the years and the fact that there are more families and more children, now the need for it is greater still,” said Rabbi David Niederman, director of the UJO. “We are really grateful for the work of the Met Council that we are able to provide so many families with the most basic needs for the holidays.”
The Met Council has been running the program for over 20 years. This year, more than 2 million pounds of food will be distributed among 50,000 Jewish families in need across the city during the period of Passover.
At Sunday’s food drive, several elected officials were on hand to pitch in with the distribution. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, State Senator Martin Dilan, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, City Public Advocate Letitia James and City Councilmembers Steve Levin, Rafael Espinal and Laurie Cumbo were just some of the politicians helping out on Sunday. Many echoed the sentiments that families shouldn’t be held back from religious celebrations due to financial constraints.
“It is critically important to produce these packages during the holidays,” James said. “The poverty within the Jewish community is very real and providing them with nutritious, kosher meals during this time is necessary.”