In the wake of the horrible anti-Semitic attack in Jersey City, the kosher community was left without their only supermarket that was decimated in the terrorist attack. Jersey City’s Mayor Steven Fulop knew whom to call to get emergency food to his city: Met Council. “We got the call Wednesday night and our immediate response was, “Of course we will get your constituents food for Shabbos.” Twenty-four hours later, we delivered and distributed over 10,000 pounds of food – from cholent mix to challah to eggs and even dessert like rugelach. We made sure that these 100 families had everything they needed for Shabbos,” explained David G. Greenfield, Met Council’s CEO.
“I’m so grateful to Met Council for swiftly stepping in during this crisis,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who joined in the food distribution. “Thank you for your support. We are all one big community and helping each other is what it is all about. Thank you.”
After receiving the call, David Greenfield sat down with Jessica Chait, Met Council’s Managing Director of Food, and Ben Segal, Deputy Chief of Staff, to properly plan the emergency distribution. They quickly determined that the food needed to have chasidishe hashgachos to accommodate the mostly chasidic community in Jersey City. “What makes Met Council unique is that because we provide food every day to over 40 kosher food pantries, we have expertise with every segment of the community,” explained Chait. “We knew that all the food would have to have CRC hashgachah or equivalent.”
Jessica Chait went to Met Council’s Brooklyn warehouse to personally oversee the packing of five pallets of glatt kosher food. She left the warehouse at 1 a.m. and returned at 7 a.m. to finish the job with her team. While Met Council provides over 7.2 million free meals each year to the Jewish community, they realized that they would need additional items for oneg Shabbos such as challahs and dips and pastries. Met Council reached out to KRM Supermarket in Boro Park who immediately provided those additional products.
At around noon on Thursday, one of five Met Council trucks left the Met Council warehouse with five pallets of food and stopped in Boro Park at KRM to pick up the fresh oneg Shabbos food before making their way to Jersey City.
Dozens of community residents came out to “shop” at Met Council’s impromptu free “store” at the Bethune Community Center. Mayor Steven Fulop joined in the distribution and Agudath Israel’s Avi Schnall joined, as well. Volunteers took “orders” via WhatsApp and delivered the food to families that could not pick it up.
“It’s a real privilege for me to run the largest tz’dakah in America. Baruch Hashem, we do amazing things every day,” said David Greenfield. “No other organization can pack, deliver, and distribute 10,000 pounds of kosher food overnight. Today, however, was a special day. It was a true kiddush Hashem. We’re especially grateful to Mayor Steven Fulop for his leadership and sensitivity to the needs of his kosher constituents.”
Greenfield also thanked Jersey City askanim Chesky Deutsch, Lipa Berkowitz, and David Rosenberg, L D and Brachia from KRM Supermarket, and UJO of Williamsburg for helping make the emergency food distribution happen. Mayor Fulop’s staff members Stacey Flanagan and Paul Bellan-Boyar coordinated the entire effort with the amazing team at the Bethune Center.
Met Council is America’s largest Jewish tz’dakah, with ten different programs dedicated to helping over 225,000 New Yorkers in need each year. Free programs range from 100 percent affordable housing at 21 locations across New York to domestic violence services to Holocaust survivor assistance to senior programming to the largest free kosher food distribution program in the world.