MILLTOWN — For the Jewish Family & Vocational Service of Middlesex County, this Passover season was a heartwarming reminder of the important needs of the community and how people can work together to accomplish great things.
The JFVS, with help from the community, was able to provide Passover food packages to 591 residents of the county. The food drive received the help of area synagogues, many individuals and various organizations that provided volunteers and collected, donated and delivered food packages. Former JFVS board trustee Ann Salzberg, current JFVS Vice President Jack Goldberg and past President Vickie Solomon have been coordinating the Passover project for the last 10 years. Gary Steinbach, JFVS president, plans out the driving routes and directions for the volunteers delivering food packages.
Jack Steinweis, owner of the Gola Warehouse in East Brunswick, allowed the use of his building to store the Passover food and to coordinate the packing and delivery of food packages, which was done by more than 90 volunteers.
The JFVS Kosher Food Pantry provides year-round assistance to members of the community. JFVS has two food pantries, inMilltown and Monroe, which provide perishable and non-perishable food packages to any resident of Middlesex County who demonstrates need. The kosher food pantries require appointments so that food packages can be tailored to the number and ages of family members and specific dietary concerns.
JFVS has seen an increase in the use of the food pantries over the past year due to the current economic conditions. In 2008, JFVS provided food to 962 individuals. In 2009, that number increased to 1,183. The Passover food drive saw an increase in individuals requesting assistance from 493 people last year to 591 in 2010.
The pantries are in need of unopened, unexpired, nonperishable items such as tuna fish, dry milk packets, pancake mix, instant potatoes, rice, pasta, cereal and juice. Diapers and baby wipes are also accepted. Donations can be dropped off at the Milltown office, 32 Ford Ave., second floor, or the Monroe office, 52 Concordia Shopping Center.
Students and organizations are encouraged to organize food drives. To make an appointment to receive food, schedule a food donation delivery, or learn about developing a community project, call JFVS at 732-777- 1940 or 609-395-7979.