High Holiday Food Drive Collects 500 Bags of Food

Posted on October 03, 2012

Throughout the holidays, members of Beth Israel, Beth El, Beth Judah, Emeth Shalom and Beth Shalom donated non-perishable canned goods and food items for the on-site Jewish Family Service food pantry in Margate. The synagogues collected more than 500 bags of groceries during its annual High Holiday Food Drive thanks to the generous contributions of local congregants.

According to Susan Sokalski, Beth Israel Synagogue Administrator, the annual food drive was started in 1986 by Beth Israel upon the synagogue’s move to Northfield.  Over the past 26 years, local synagogues have joined the annual tradition of collecting non-perishables during the Jewish High Holidays to benefit the JFS food pantry.

“Every year the High Holiday Food Drive surpasses expectations. Thanks to the synagogues and congregants, the shelves in our pantry are full,” said Leigh Turner, Community Initiatives Coordinator. “This year, the number of volunteers who helped collect, sort and stock the pantry over a two-day period was overwhelming. It is amazing to see so many individuals support JFS.”

With the generous rental donation from Just 4 Wheels, JFS was able to completely pack an oversized moving truck full with donations.  In total, more than 500 grocery bags of food were donated.  This included top JFS necessities such as pasta, peanut butter, tuna, hearty soups and cereal. The food drive donations make a difference in the lives of hundreds of recipients, including elderly individuals and couples, single-parent families, people who are ill, and those who have been impacted by unemployment or major medical problems.

Extending the generosity throughout the year, Congregation Beth Judah, led by Rabbi Aaron Gaber, is conducting a “12 Months of Giving” campaign which the synagogue’s congregants will donate an item of the month. For October, peanut butter and jelly donations are requested while November asks participants to support the agency’s Turkey Drive.

“As we approach the long winter months, we will continue to depend on the generous support of individual donations and community drives,” said JFS Executive Director Andrea Steinberg. “To make the holiday season special for our community members, JFS is already beginning our Butterball Turkey Drive and preparing for our holiday gift collection.”

Throughout the fall, JFS will be collecting monetary donations to purchase certificates for Butterball turkeys as well as Kosher turkeys upon request. A $25 donation to JFS will allow the agency to purchase a turkey for a family’s holiday dinner. Holiday trimmings such as cranberry sauce, stuffing and other necessary staples are also needed.

Jewish Family Service accepts donations throughout the year.  If you have a question regarding the JFS Food Pantry or how you can assist, please contact Leigh Turner at 609-822-1108 or email. Jewish Family Service also encourages community members to host their own food drives. Visit theJFS Community Exchange website for ways to give throughout the year.