Community unites to feed Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry

The first thing my kids do when they get home from school or summer camp is head to the kitchen for a snack. Before I have a chance to ask them, “How was your day?”, they tear into a granola bar, devour a bowl of cereal, and polish off the leftover chicken parmesan before they finally come up for air and ask me, “What’s for dinner?”

My kids are lucky. They always have something to eat and drink. It’s easy to take for granted that our refrigerator and pantry are full with healthy food. An important lesson to teach our children is that many kids are not as fortunate. A lot of them are hungry because of various economic hardships that make it difficult for their parents to afford food in their bellies, let alone fuel in their gas tanks. One of the best hands-on ways for our children to help their hungry peers in the St. Louis area is to donate food and volunteer at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry.

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Since 1991, people of all backgrounds have turned to the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry to nourish their bodies and souls with meals, food, and personal care items. Unlike other local food pantries that close their doors because of empty shelves, the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry never turns anyone away, even when the cupboard is almost bare. Today more than ever, the demand for food is greater than the supply, and the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry needs our help.

About 2,000 children and adults depend on the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry each month, which is a 10 percent increase from just a few weeks ago. One of the reasons for the increased demand is because children who are normally fed breakfast and lunch at school are not eligible for these federally funded programs in the summer.

So if you really want to make a difference in the community and continue the legacy of the late Harvey Kornblum and his wife Gay, whose mission is to help local families in need, step up to the plate and do a family mitzvah project this summer. Start by taking a tour of the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry in the Jewish Family & Children’s Service building on Schuetz Road, and don’t come empty handed. Bring a bag of groceries with you. Encourage your children to help in their own way, too. The next time you’re at the grocery store, for example, let your kids pick out their favorite healthy snacks to share with other youngsters. Ideas for kid-friendly, non-perishable munchies include fruit snacks, yogurt-covered raisins, canned fruit, pretzels, cereals, peanuts, granola bars, microwave popcorn, peanut butter crackers, cheese crackers, fruit cups, dried pasta, hearty soups, sports drinks, and juice boxes.

In addition to food items, the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry also needs personal care products, such as toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, tissues, diapers, paper towels, and toilet paper. Food stamps and government grants don’t cover these non-food necessities, so the Jewish Food Pantry relies on donations.

Also, volunteers are always wanted to sort and stock items at the main location, as well as the food pantry at Central Reform Congregation, which is now open once a month. For more information on how to help, call 314-812-9307.

With the current economic crisis and unpredictable future, any one of us can end up in a desperate situation at any given time and need the helping hand of the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. So give while you can because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

“Mishegas of Motherhood” is the creation of Ellie S. Grossman, a St. Louis freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom who never stays home. Currently, she is obsessing over her son’s bar mitzvah photo album, so please feel free to send any advice to: [email protected] or visit her website at www.mishegasofmotherhood.com.

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