The week before school kicks off its new academic year in September is usually the time when low-income children experience the greatest hardships – summer camps have wound down, and classes have not yet started.
But for the last couple of years, organizations like the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council), The Jewish Education Project, the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn (UJO), and the Jewish Community Council of Boro Park, have worked in tandem with the New York City Department of Education to ensure that those children’s needs are met.
This year the group helped provide more than 4,000 kosher meals to school-aged children from low-income households during the week of August 25.
“In New York City, there are one-half million poor and near poor Jewish New Yorkers who struggle to feed their family every day,” said David M. Frankel, the Executive Director of the Met Council. “This year’s summer meals helped families feed their children nutritious meals that otherwise would have been cost prohibitive.”
In Brooklyn alone, the Met Council estimates that there are about 168,000 Jewish families who would qualify as poor or near-poor. Kosher Summer Meals was specifically started to address that period of time when children do not receive free meals as part of a summer program or camp, and have not started receiving their free lunches at school. The program mirrors the citywide summer meals program, with a special emphasis on providing kosher food.
In North Brooklyn, this charge was led by the UJO.
“The United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg is very happy to join together with our great partners at Met Council and The Jewish Education Project to once again bring kosher lunches to children in Williamsburg,” said Rabbi David Niederman, President of the UJO. “The meals help some of the community’s poorest children have a satisfying and nutritious meal when camp is over and before schools start.”
The program has received overwhelming support from local electeds including State Senator Daniel Squadron, Councilmember Steve Levin, and Assemblyman Joe Lentol, all of whom stressed the importance of the community coming together to ensure the continuance of the program.
“Throughout New York City, families struggle to put food on their table every night, it’s programs and events like these that provide much-needed help for those less fortunate,” said Lentol. “As we all know, the mind doesn’t work without food, so this program will satisfy these children’s bellies as well as their creative minds.”