Jewish Food Pantry receives $1 million donation

The new location of the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry at 10601 Baur Boulevard in Olivette is less than a mile away from the food pantry’s current location.

By Repps Hudson,Special to the Jewish Light

The Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry has a received a $1 million contribution from Max and Drew Erlich, which will ensure the facility will open in late October at its new location at 10601 Baur Road.

The food pantry, which serves about 5,000 people a month, will move from its present site in the Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) building at 10950 Schuetz Road and be named the Max and Drew Erlich Center.


Since the economic downturn several years ago, the food pantry has seen its clientele double. Fred Steinbach, former JF&CS board chairman and spokesman for the Kornblum operation, said that the Erlichs were looking for a way to make a significant contribution to the Jewish community and finally decided to donate to the food pantry.

The pantry had expected to move early in the summer. As work began on the newly acquired building less than one mile east of the JF&CS building, Steinbach said, it became clear that the cost to prepare the building up for food storage and to serve 5,000 people or more would be higher than expected.

In addition to the building acquisition cost of $1 million, Steinbach said, the total to make improvements is expected to be between $300,000 and $400,000. That estimate far exceeds the $50,000 that the JFCS board originally expected.

Donors so far have pledged or given $2,283,000 to the food pantry, which includes the Erlichs’ contribution, Steinbach said.

He said the Erlich donation was the result of efforts by a group of people who work closely with Max and Drew Erlich, including Karen Blumeyer, Kathleen Youngerman, Martin Abitz and Reed Wernick. A JF&CS team included David Weiss, board chairman; Lou Albert, executive director; Mark Rosen, major gifts officer; Michael Silver, board member, and Steinbach.

Five years ago, Steinbach said, the Erlichs made “a major donation” to JC&FS for the volunteer program and were pleased with the results.

The official opening of the Max and Drew Erlich Center will be from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 21. Local, state and federal political figures are to be invited, Steinbach said.