Food Pantry Faces Crisis

The Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry is running dangerously low on food, and it is our responsibility to help.

Shortly after the High Holiday season in September, the food pantry, had “a mound of food from the floor, almost to the ceiling,” according to Ellen Sabin, who works for the food pantry operated by the Jewish Family & Children’s Service.


Now, the boxes in which the food was sorted and stored are mostly empty. The staff has given out almost all the food that had been collected.

“It’s pretty scary,” said Sue Rundblad, food pantry coordinator.

Indeed, it is pretty scary that there would be shortages in essential food supplies for the needy in our community, especially during the challenging winter months.

And while supply has dwindled, demand has increased dramatically.

Demand for food began to rise in September, and October saw the largest number ever served with more than 2,000 clients compared to 1,400 each month during the summer.

The number of new clients is also up to about 80 a month compared to the 50 to 60 a month previously. While most clients come to the JF &CS offices to pick up a 7-to-10-day supply of food, the pantry also delivers food to about 300 elderly, infirm or disabled clients a month.

And the holiday season creates even more demand. With children home from school, families need even more supplies than usual. Rundblad expressed concern that many area food pantries have closed their doors, stressing, “We will not close our doors, and we will not turn anyone away.”

Many members of the Jewish community are probably unaware of the severe shortages at the Jewish Food Pantry. We need to think of the needy among us not just during the two weeks of the High Holidays, but for the other 50 weeks of the year as well. Many bar and bat mitzvah celebrations are made more meaningful by asking guests to bring food baskets for the Jewish Food Pantry instead of table decorations, etc.

One of the most important mitzvot, or commandments of our Jewish faith is to assure that we feed the hungry. We urgently ask that our readers re-double their generous donations to the Jewish Food Pantry. To find out how you can help, call 314-812-9307.

Act now to end this serious crisis. As Hillel said, “If not now, when?”