Shul offers free kosher meals to meet need in Westminster

The brainchild of St John's Wood's Rabbi Yoni Golker, the scheme is also a way of involving young volunteers


St John’s Wood Synagogue has launched a free kosher meals programme in Westminster having identified significant local need.

Giving Together, the brainchild of Rabbi Yoni Golker, will also be a way of keeping the project’s young volunteers connected to the community during lockdown.

He successfully applied for a £20,000 grant from Westminster City Council, which he believes will cover at least nine months.

“We thought this would help not just members of our own synagogue but the wider community, both Jewish and non-Jewish,” he explained. “We also thought it was a great way to engage with our young professionals who are not able to attend synagogue at the moment [and] aren’t able to do events.

“But volunteering and social action is, of course, legal and a great way to get people involved.” Thirty volunteers have already signed up.

Those behind the project have identified more than 500 United Synagogue members over the age of 70 living alone in Westminster. They are being contacted to ask if they need meal support.

There are also plans to partner with local soup kitchens.

Although the elderly will be the primary beneficiaries of the fortnightly deliveries, Rabbi Golker has also received messages from single mums and a man with eight dependants who recently lost his job. “He just said two extra meals would be such a help.

“Anyone vulnerable or in need, we want to find out.”

The meals will be prepared by caterers and delivered hot, although they can be frozen for later consumption.

“It’s just a lovely idea that a young, friendly face will knock on the door, wearing gloves and a mask and hand [people] a meal.

“It builds that sense of community within the restrictive nature of what we’re all going through,” Rabbi Golker said.

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