Food drive for Jewish High Holidays on horizon

Katz JCC will host one-day collection event for local pantry.

Katz JCC will host a community High Holiday food drive on Sept. 23 to support the Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Southern New Jersey’s Betsy & Peter Fischer food pantries. 

The organizations are looking for dedicated members of the community to consider donating any kosher, non-perishable food items and household products to help support clients who are still dealing with food insecurity for a host of reasons.  

The drive is going to last from nine to noon, because volunteers are eventually going to be loading trucks and then bringing them to the food pantry thereafter,” noted Rachael Ovitz, Director of Marketing and Communications for JFCS. 

Ovitz added that the drop-off point for the drive is expected to be the main parking lot in front of Katz, as it was during the organization’s drive last winter during the final pre-vaccine days of the pandemic.  

“We had cars pull up into the main driveway and then make their drop offs and then drive off,” she said.  

For those not familiar with Jewish dietary laws, the following foodstuffs will be accepted on the day of the event: matzoh, soups, peanut butter, mac and cheese, pancake mix, oatmeal mix, jelly, juices, shelf-stable milk, canned salmon and canned tuna, rice, regular pasta, tomato sauce, apple sauce and canned fruits. 

“What folks who are not Jewish don’t realize is a lot of those things are kosher anyway,” said Donna Broecker, JFCS food pantry coordinator. 

In terms of household products, the pantry is in need of toiletries, such as soap (hand soap and bar soap), shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, diapers, paper towels, toilet paper and baby wipes. 

The Fischer Pantries serve Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties, and is set up to serve all members of the community, regardless of race, religion ro economic background. There are three brick-and-mortar locations: one on the East side of Cherry Hill, one on the West side and one in Maple Shade.

Fischer has been operating only out of the westside location at Route 70 and Miami Avenue since the pandemic began.

“During the pandemic, we never stopped doing what we do, we only shifted to home delivery, contact-less drive-away for all in need,” Ovitz related. “As a social service agency, we also provide mental health services, and we are still committed to that even with our food drive.” 

Over the last fiscal year, Fischer Pantries distributed food to 6,300 individuals  and issued more than $270,000 in ShopRite gift cards. The organization’s goal is to continue its outreach, while acknowledging that a downturn in the number of citizens served is a good problem to have.  

“Now that there are a lot of federal food programs which are going away, we are committed to doing events like this more than ever for the community,” Ovitz said.

To make an appointment, call (856) 424-1333. For more questions about the drive, contact Broecker at: (856) 818-3604 or dbroecker@jfedsnj.org