Dear Mrs. Bluth,
It is this time of year again, when prices seem to explode from their original high to outright exorbitant making it impossible to make Shabbos, let alone Yom Tov. It started three weeks before Purim. Something that cost $5.99 suddenly rose to $12.99 literally overnight! These last three years have been very hard to put food on the table for my family of seven, let alone to dress five growing children with little to no outside help. On top of this, I became a widow. My husband, a”h, passed away from a sudden heart attack, and the future looks bleak and hopeless.
I know what you are going to say, that there are many organizations who will help. I came from a home that would be considered poverty-stricken, yet my parents were of the mind never to ask for charity. We ate from the meager income my father brought in. Five months ago I was forced to abandon my parents’ philosophy and reached out to a number of organizations for help. Five said that they were inundated with more cases than they had the ability to help and were turning people away and the sixth had their number disconnected. At this writing, I am running through my husband’s small life insurance policy money but am scraping by with my salary. But soon, I will have run dry. Yet I remain hopeful that HaKodosh Boruch Hu will watch over us and send something or someone who will help. But that is not why I am writing, at least, not for me alone.
I remember some years ago you wrote a column about a grocery store that through a chain of events by some good-hearted customer spear-headed a lowering of prices for Pesach so that everyone, the needy and not so needy alike could purchase food for Yom Tov and be able to feel the joy of the Geulah from Egypt to Freedom. Do you think you could once again implore on Jewish store owners to do such a wonderful chesed, if only for this Yom Tov where everything must be purchased anew?
Thank you so very much for being the voice of the many who cannot speak, to the many who are in a position to help in this extraordinary way. May we all be zoche, through gemilas chassadim, to welcome Moshiach this Pesach together .
Your letter was sterling and timely and said it better than any I could have written in response. It saddens me that our store owners and vendors tend to forget that there are those amongst our brothers and sisters who are in extreme hardship. Not to defend the steep uptick in prices, but COVID has wiped many out of business, and most of those still in business are in some way trying to recoup their debts. There should not be so great a difference as to make them rich off the bones of the poor, however, they need to cover their own expenses of keeping their businesses open and make enough to keep their own families afloat.
I remember the article you were referring to and have reached out to the store owner. He explained that he is nearly bankrupt and close to Chapter Eleven. Still he does help a few needy families who are in dire need and with small children. However, I hear your words in the back of my ear and I will do as you asked.
If there is any vendor or establishment owner who can see his way clear to make a kiddush Hashem and gemilas chassadim beyond their means, know that it is said that if you share your crumb of bread with one who has none, Hashem will bless you with an abundance of bread for all eternity. Those that give with a full heart will receive blessings in this world and the next and all his or her generations that follow will need for naught!
To all my wonderful readers who, themselves offer to help a needy letter-writer, I feel honored that you are my readership! May Hashem look down on all His children, those in need of parnassah, those in need of refuas, shidduchim, children, sholom bayis, nechomas halev, simchos and any other brochos one lacks in their life be heard and granted that which they pray for. Till then, there’s always the ‘Life Chronicles’ column that is willing and able to assist anyone with the hopes that we can be of some small help.
A Chag Kosher VeSomayach to all!