Met Council and Chazaq united forces to create the Lev Aharon Community Food Pantry in Kew Gardens Hills. The center is a lifeline for our community’s underprivileged families. Together, the organizations feed the hungry and serve the neediest families amongst us. Simply put, these two organizations are changing lives for the better.

Met Council is the largest provider of emergency kosher food in the country. As need continues to grow and the price of goods sees no cap, Met Council and Chazaq remain steadfast in their commitment to helping those struggling to afford basic staples, as well as items essential for welcoming the Jewish New Year of Rosh HaShanah with dignity and joy. On Monday, August 29, a formal pre-holiday distribution was conducted.

Met Council operates nearly 30 High Holiday distributions, under the direction of Avi Spitzer and Aaron Cyperstein. Six of these programs are run here in Queens. In Forest Hills and Little Neck, Commonpoint operates online ordering powered by Market by Met Council; in Forest Hills, the QJCC; in Far Rockaway, the JCC of the Rockaway Peninsula; and in Kew Gardens, Tomchei Shabbos of Queens. Met Council also supplies countless other pantries with staple products.

Simon Sebag, Jewish community liaison to NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, brought along citations of recognition from his office to acknowledge the good deeds of the volunteers. Recipients included pantry coordinator Aviv Simantov and his assistants Amnon Baruch, Tova Morgenstern, Y.Y. Rosenberg; his mother Aliza Simantov; his brother Leor Simantov; and Lee Wang and Angela Zhang. “I presented these honorifics to the esteemed volunteers recognizing their commitment and dedication to serving the diverse communities of the City of New York, on the occasion of the Chazaq Rosh HaShanah Food Distribution,” said Sebag.

Attendance at the Chazaq pantry’s distribution included an array of leading elected officials, and those who assist their efforts. State Senator John Liu; New York City Council Members James F. Gennaro, Linda Lee, and Lynn Schulman were present. R’ Daniel Pollack, Jewish liaison to Rep. Grace Meng; P.O. Kevin McCarthy; Benjamin Zaientz - Senior Manager of Agency Relations at Met Council; Community Advisor Alan Sherman; Alan Weinberg, Staff Analyst at Queens Borough President’s Office; Great Neck activists Dr. Paul and Drora Brody; Civil Court Judge Candidate Evelyn Gong; Rabbi Yaniv Meirov, CEO of Chazaq; Israel Peskowitz, Director of Government Affairs for Chazaq; Pesach Osina, Director of Communications and Outreach for Jewish Affairs for New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams; Erick Adam Suionov, District Director for Gennaro; and Mrs. Peskowitz.

 By Shabsie Saphirstein