Shuls facing rocketing demand for food aid

United Synagogue prepares to support 4,000 isolated people and vulnerable families before the festival. It would normally expect to help 600 families


The United Synagogue is preparing to support more than 4,000 isolated members and vulnerable families with food vouchers, Seder boxes and general supplies for Pesach.

With demands on its Chesed department soaring during the pandemic, the US will be running a 36-hour online appeal on Sunday and Monday to raise the £300,000 needed to fund its Pesach effort and other support. The US says it would normally expect to assist around 600 families around the festival.

The food vouchers will be from Kosher Outlet and Tesco. In some communities, the local care co-ordinator will purchase the supplies and be reimbursed by the US. Those helped will also include members of US regional congregations such as Birmingham, Sheffield and Southport.

Its Seder boxes will also be available to buy for those who can afford to. The boxes include a Seder plate, a three course meal, matzah, grape juice, crockery and cutlery and educational materials.

Communities have been given general criteria on eligibility and the US has “suggested numbers we can help based on the size of a community. But we know we will need to be flexible while the need is so great”.

The Pesach drive is just the tip of the iceberg for Chesed, which the US says is improving the lives of thousands through help with shopping, bereavement support and general befriending.

One family receiving monthly support told the JC: “The increase in the cost of food and bills while all the family are at home has made it impossible for us to cope. With the loss of income we have had during this pandemic, we would never have been able to afford to eat and pay our bills. It is with thanks to our shul and US Chesed that we can keep our heads above water.”

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