Monday, March 2, 2009

The Kornblum Food Pantry: The St. Lou Jew gets involved

Looking for an easy way to make a real difference for needy families in St. Louis? You don't have to travel to New Orleans to do a little Tikkun Olam.

The Harvery Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, a service of Jewish Family & Children's Service was established in 1991 to serve those in need and has expanded to aiding those in 89 zip codes through the STL area.

During a recent meeting I had at JF&CS (for my day job), the director of development invited me to get involved. Saying no being one of my weaknesses, I found myself, along with a few other young Yids, and Coordinator Sue Rundblad, wading through a freezer in the storage area of the pantry on Sunday. At the end of an hour and a half, or so, we had totally rearranged the freezer to create more room for the important food stuffs (the pantry gets more than enough bread, but often lacks produce and protein). We also restocked and prep'ed their bagging room for business. And business, they have. The pantry has seen an 60% increase in new families served from 2007-2008

The project felt small to me, but was clearly helpful for the food pantry. It was also proof it doesn't take an organization, a big event, or any bribery to get young adults to volunteer (this is NOT a criticism of any of the aforementioned options...just sayin'). It is yet one more illustration that friends will participate together when acquaintances might not, and not just in terms of happy hours, but also community service and religious activities.

The Jewish Food Pantry is providing an incredibly important service, and while they get a fair amount of food from the Food Bank and Operation Food Search (not to mention support from United Way and the Jewish Federation), they also rely largely on the community to provide donations of food, money, and volunteer hours.

No One is turned away at the Jewish Food Pantry, and their success in this endeavor is largely because of the generosity of the St. Louis Jewish community. But they can always use additional support.

Their next big event is called Feed The Pantry - Feed The Soul and is an open house on Sunday, April 26th. The cost of admission is a bag of groceries (canned pasta with meat, hearty soups, tuna and peanut butter are among the most needed foods). Come for the entertainment, stay to make a difference.

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