Over the last four weeks, Met Council conducted the largest free Passover food distribution in America to ensure over 305,000 Jewish New Yorkers have all the kosher food they need for the upcoming holiday. In partnership with UJA-Federation of New York, Met Council mobilized over 1,186 volunteers and staff to distribute over 2.7 million pounds of food to 191 locations throughout the five boroughs and Westchester.
With the pandemic still keeping people out of work and millions of New Yorkers living in food insecurity, Met Council worked around the clock since the beginning of 2022 to ensure their annual Passover distribution would reach everyone who needed it.
“Because of recent massive price hikes in food, this was our most challenging year ever,” said David G. Greenfield, CEO of Met Council. “We are so proud of our food programs team led by Jessica Chait, our 1,186 volunteers, and the 191 community partners who understand the mitzvah of Kimcha D’Pischa that have allowed us to set another record serving more people in need this Pesach than ever before. We’re especially grateful to UJA-Federation for always being a great partner in our Passover food operation.”
Met Council expanded the distribution to new locations and reached more people than ever before. Over $9,613,000 worth of chickens, eggs, tuna, matzah, fruits, vegetables and other essentials were acquired, stored, and sent out to the 191 soup kitchens, food pantries, yeshivos, community centers, and other partners who know their neighbors and neighborhoods best, including Tomchei Shabbos, Sephardic Bikur Holim, Chazaq, UJO of Williamsburg and 187 other local organizations that get their free food from Met Council. All told, over 305,000 New Yorkers received food for Passover, making the effort America’s largest, and surpassing Met Council’s own massive undertakings in previous years.
NYS Attorney General Letitia James, NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Congress Members Grace Meng, Gregory Meeks, and Carolyn Maloney, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez, Queens DA Melinda Katz, State Senators Joseph Addabbo Jr., Brian Kavanagh, Andrew Gounardes, Simcha Felder, Roxanne Persaud, Shelley Mayer, Assembly Members Peter Abbate Jr., Daniel Rosenthal, David Weprin, Helene Weinstein, Steven Cymbrowitz, Simcha Eichenstein, Michael Cusick, Andrew Hevesi, Mathylde Frontus, Jaime Williams, Council Members Carlina Rivera, Eric Dinowitz, Lincoln Restler, Kalman Yeger, Ari Kagan, Rita Joseph, Jim Gennaro, Inna Vernikov, Farah Louis, Gale Brewer, Marjorie Velazquez, Carmen De La Rosa, Joseph Borelli, Tiffany Cabán, Lynn Schulman, Linda Lee, Sandra Ung, Robert Holden, Mercedes Narcisse, Shahana Hanif, Selvena Brooks-Powers, Vickie Paladino, and Chi Osse joined Met Council leaders and volunteers at various distributions in all five boroughs throughout the last couple of weeks.
“It is inspiring to see this mobilization of our volunteers and our community partners ahead of Passover in contrast to the challenges and despair our communities have faced over the last year,” said Jessica Chait, Met Council’s Managing Director of Food Programs. “To reach over 300,000 people in a matter of weeks is extraordinary. We are proud to help make this Passover a little easier for so many of our neighbors and their loved ones.”
Met Council’s programs are not limited to just Passover, of course. Since the pandemic started, Met Council’s ten programs have helped over 300,000 New Yorkers and counting. When COVID-19 hit, Met Council dramatically escalated its food and grocery programs, launching a massive home delivery operation, opening a new warehouse in Greenpoint, and expanding its network of food pantries to help serve homebound families, seniors, and Holocaust survivors.
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