New York’s Met Council is struggling to do it, but says it still intends to feed more than 325,000 needy Jewish New Yorkers this Passover at a cost 18 percent higher than it was last year.
With the country’s severe inflation, including a near 68-percent increase in the costs of fresh proteins like chicken, fish and eggs, the agency is seeing a higher demand at its food distribution sites across the five boroughs, Long Island, Westchester, Connecticut, the Capital Region (Albany) and New Jersey.
More than 200 distribution points, supported by more than 1,237 volunteers have been set up to help distribute close to 2,800,000 pounds of food to Jewish New Yorkers suffering from food insecurity.
“The economic crisis we find ourselves in has created a tremendous burden on individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet. The sticker shock at the supermarket is affecting everyone,” said Met Council CEO David G. Greenfield.
“Passover is already the most expensive time of year for Jewish families who need to stock their pantries with kosher-for-Passover foods, and in the face of steep increases in rent, fuel and other basic expenses, they are struggling even more this year.”
Costs for the program are calculated based on wholesale rates Met Council negotiates for the bulk purchasing of food, fresh produce, chicken, fish and eggs; as well as related supplies, food storage, delivery and temporary staff costs for acquiring, storing and distributing this food.
While the cost for fresh produce has decreased from last year, the prices for fresh proteins have increased tremendously and that’s the most needed of the Passover items.
“While continuing to contend with limited supplies of fresh protein, ongoing shortages and delays in supply chains, and the end of many emergency funding programs, we are seeing an increased need for our food pantry services — even when compared to recent years,” said Jessica Chait, the managing director of Met Council’s food programs.
The free Passover packages include Matzah, kosher for Passover chicken, gefilte fish, eggs, tuna, grape juice, apple juice, tomato sauce, apple sauce, jam, oil, pickles, lemon juice, macaroons, imitation vinegar, sugar, potato starch and produce.