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Carrying on Passover Traditions
By Rachel Sherrow, Associate Executive Director & Chief Program Officer
March 30, 2018
Citymeals began delivering special holiday boxes for Passover over twenty years ago, when we learned that Kosher meal recipients would often go without food over the eight-day holiday. At the time, meal centers across New York City often closed for the duration, rather than undertake the laborious and costly process of turning their kitchen over and cleaning it from top to bottom as required by kosher for Passover laws.
We wanted to ensure that not only would Jewish meal recipients have appropriate food for the holiday, but that it would be familiar, comforting, celebratory meals to remind them of Passovers spent with family and friends.
To create these special holiday boxes – each filled with eight shelf-stable meals that are kosher for Passover – Citymeals works with special food companies across the country that provide traditional foods like matzo, macaroons, and dishes like gefilte fish, which is how one typically begins the Seder meal. Each box also includes beef brisket, stuffed cabbage and turkey, as typical main courses they can enjoy throughout the holiday.
Long before most people have begun thinking about the holiday season, our warehouse team is busy preparing thousands of these boxes destined for meal recipients across the five boroughs. This year, they packed over 4,000 boxes – nearly 32,000 Passover meals – for distribution across the five boroughs. In the weeks leading up to the holiday, nearly 700 volunteers hit the streets, delivering boxes and ensuring our recipients receive their traditional meals in time for Passover.
Citymeals delivers special holiday packages throughout the year, including for Labor Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Independence Day and Passover. And we always receive wonderful notes from meal recipients who want to personally thank us. Earlier this week, we received an email from Avrahm, a homebound elderly man in Queens, who wrote: “I want to express my sincere thanks to you for sending a very large Passover meals package. It was a great and unexpected surprise. I am deeply indebted to you since I am no longer able to travel to Manhattan or Brooklyn to purchase what is needed for Passover.”
We always want our meal recipients – many of whom now spend holidays alone – to know they have not been forgotten. And to everyone celebrating Passover this year was say, pesach sameach!