Numbers matter, especially when it comes to the worldwide numbers of the food insecure, due the pandemic. In my recent conversation with Deborah Carver, Director of the InterFaith Food Cupboard (Abington Food Pantry), numbers are heartbreaking and hopefully motivate us to help.
She shared “that our food demand has been consistently at least 25% higher than pre COVID. In March there was a period of panic where our numbers surged, and then settled back in April and May to the 25% above the baseline level of need recorded in the fall of 2019. In addition to our regular clients, our numbers of new families seeking help per month has doubled. We are helping approximately 350 unique families each month. That’s over 1000 people that we are touching a month. We are providing each family with 4 bags of dry pantry staples, household cleaners and personal grooming supplies, milk, eggs, cheese, meat, bread, and fresh produce. A family of 4 might get 6 to 7 full bags of groceries, and more for larger families.”
In this week’s Torah portion, Bemidbar, begins by taking census. Our main concern in this section of Torah is for the protection of our community during the wilderness journey. We can relate to being in the wilderness now, wandering and wondering where this time will take us. We too are at a place in time, that we must pause and take account of our community and take care of one another.
We look at the people around us and ask, who helps us walk through the wilderness of life, and in what ways do we support each other? We at KI try to do this in many acts of kindness, because we feel every life is valuable, and we must find ways to protect and support the most vulnerable amongst us. The food insecure are in dire need of help.
Our HaMotzi Committee along with our congregation, has been working to help support the food insecure long before the pandemic. Now in this critical time, we are continuing our efforts. You can help us continue to help our community by making donations to Sharing is Caring, which helps us continue to give gift cards to the Cheltenham School Families and the Abington InterFaith Food Cupboard; donating the food from our Tzedek Center to the InterFaith Food Cupboard, Willow Grove Baptist Church, and to St. Paul’s Church Food Pantry, which benefits the Lowell Elementary School Families.
We have several meal trains now supporting our own congregants in need. Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to make a meal and support congregants in need, or if you are in need use this form.
We are excited to announce that we will have a Virtual Bingo Event that will help raise funds for the food insecure. Please watch for information in next week’s events and e-KI. While we soon hope to continue HaMotzi dinners and in-person, work/food preparation and have donation drop-offs at KI, we are still reviewing what is permissible and safe for all.
When we begin to count the numbers, we truly feel as though we are in the wilderness. However, we must try to remember that when we work together and help those in need, the wilderness seems a lot less overwhelming and lonely.
Cantor Amy Levy