October 2007

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• Jewish Silence on Iraq
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• Ulpan 101
• Strategy Vs. Terrorism
• Crimes On Democracy
• Jews Choose Dems
• Too Early To Pander
• NJDC Blasts Moran
• German Workers
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In Their Own Words
• Rep. Duncan Hunter

Networking Central
• Mitzvah Food Pantry 

Raising A Mensch
• Conceptual Detour

• Jews Paint By Number
• Israeli Politicals Confs.
• Akiba Name Change
• Citizenship
• Okinawa High Holidays

Living Judaism
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The Kosher Table
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Volunteers at the Mitzvah Food Pantry.
Networking Central

Philadelphia Mitzvah Food Pantry
Helping the needy in our community.

-- Drisana Davis

The Mitzvah Project, coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, was formally launched in the spring of 1995. The goal of this program is to bring people together to perform mitzvot and provide opportunities to do gemilut hasadim through community projects. Most importantly, it exists to assist people in our community who are in need.

In August 1996, the concentration of the Mitzvah Project became focused on the creation of a Food Pantry Project for the Philadelphia Jewish Community. All of these five Mitzvah Food Pantry sites are run with the same basic principles. The Mitzvah Food Pantry network is committed to serving the multiple and diverse needs of clients who range in age from infants to the elderly. Although the Mitzvah Food Pantry represents the Jewish communal response to hunger, there is no religious requirement for clients.

"We are grateful to the Federation and the Mitzvah Food Pantry.
The food packages truly saved our family and helped us get through the toughest time in our lives." -- Actual client

The mission of the Mitzvah Food Pantry is to provide food and basic staples in a caring and dignified manner to those in our community who are in need through the alliance of caring individuals, spearheaded by our synagogues and Jewish organizations. The Mitzvah Food Pantry distributes supplemental food packages that are intended to last each family for three days. In addition, special food and supermarket certificates are distributed for Shabbat and Yom Tov. By providing these items, families may use their dollars to buy fresh food or to meet other needs.

Through the dedication of over 100 volunteers who help with the regular operation of all five Pantry sites as well as groups of volunteers who assist occasionally throughout the year, the Pantry network served 4,300 people in 2006-2007, distributing more than 23,000 food packages. Recipients included elderly individuals and couples, single-parent families, people who are chronically ill, and those who are newly poor due to recent unemployment or a major medical problem.

"The Mitzvah Food Pantry is a true statement that our community cares about us." -- Actual client

The Mitzvah Food Pantry is now holding its 2007 High Holiday Food Drive. The pantry will be accepting donations of non-perishable food items, personal care items and household supplies between until October 19 at locations throughout Greater Philadelphia. The food and household items collected during the drive will be sorted at the SHARE Food Program Warehouse at 2901 W. Hunting Park Ave. in Philadelphia on October 21, 2007, during Federation’s Mitzvah Mania event, the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community’s largest single effort dedicated to helping to repair the world one good deed at a time. The items then will be distributed over the next few months by the Mitzvah Food Pantry.

This year's High Holiday Food Drive is more important than ever. In the last quarter of its 2006--2007 program year, the Mitzvah Food Pantry’s six distribution sites increased the number of food packages they distributed by 56%. And according to the Consumer Price Index, food prices rose more than 6% in the first five months of 2007. With recent increases in food and living expenses in Greater Philadelphia, the number of clients requesting services from the pantry continues to grow.

Though the Mitzvah Food Pantry is serving an increasing number of clients, there is still much more we must do to reduce food insecurity in our community. You can help out by donating kosher, non-perishable food items, toiletries, household cleaning supplies to the pantry or by donating time, organizing a food drive, or purchasing Mitzvah Baskets as centerpieces for an event.

The Mitzvah Food Pantry at Jewish Community Center's Kaiserman Branch is in need of two new volunteer drivers on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month to pick up packages at the JCC and deliver them locally to families and individuals in need. Help is needed either temporarily or permanently.

If you would like to make a donation to the Pantry or volunteer at one of our five Pantry sites, please contact Drisana Davis by email or phone 215-832-0531.

Past Networking Central Groups of the Month

In this section, we highlight a new local group each month in order to encourage networking.

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