met_053115_025.jpgMet Council Helped Students Start The Year Off Right

This school year, Met Council distributed 200% more backpacks and school supplies to children in need over last year. New school supplies is often cost prohibitive for many low income families. Met Council distributed the backpacks to families at Boro Park JCC, Canarsie JCC, COJO Flatbush, Crown Heights JCC, JCC of Marine Park, Queens JCC, JCC of Washington Heights- Inwood and Met Council’s crisis department and family violence department. Thanks to UJA-Federation of New York’s Supplies for Success, Jeffrey and Susan Goldstein, and anonymous donor, Met Council provided more than 1,200 students with quality supplies needed to succeed in the classroom. A head of the school year, backpacks were stuffed with pencils, notebooks and other essential supplies.

In addition to providing funds for the backpacks and supplies, Supplies for Success enabled Met Council to increase its purchase power.  Supplies for Success is UJA-Federation of New York’s initiative to provide new school supplies for children in need.  Each year, UJA provides brand new filled backpacks to thousands of disadvantaged children.

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met_053115_025.jpgIn Time For The Jewish New Year, Met Council - The Largest Kosher Food Pantry System In The Country - Takes Major Steps Towards Providing The Most Dignified Food Experience

Ahead of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) will provide kosher food to over 67,000 hungry New Yorkers at 74 citywide sites.  The high cost of kosher food presents a unique challenge for many New Yorkers: on average, a kosher meal is 30% more expensive. To enable poor and near-poor New Yorkers to celebrate the upcoming holiday,Met Council distributes an increased amount of food because we understand the unique challenge of affording kosher food and the importance of food for rituals.

In order to provide the most dignified food pantry experience, Met Council has transitioned forty percent of the network’s 33 monthly sites to client-choice pantries, where clients are empowered to select the items most appropriate for their families from the array of food available.  In the past four months, the majority of the sites have moved away from a traditional pantry system with pre-packed bags and transformed into a client-choice pantry.

“As we enter the New Year, Met Council is renewing its promise to provide our services with the upmost dignity,” said Alan Schoor, CEO and Executive Director of Met Council. “Transitioning 40% of our network pantries to client-choice is a major step towards enhancing the experience for our clients.  In New York City, with more than half a million poor and near-poor Jewish New Yorkers, it is not only our mission, but our obligation to ensure that the most vulnerable New Yorkers, no matter their circumstances, have access to kosher and nutritious food year-round and especially during the holidays.  Thanks to our partners in government, private donors and local Jewish Community Councils we are able to work towards meeting this need.”

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Local Organizations And Elected Officials Partnered To Address The Rise Of Jewish Children Living In Poverty

Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (“Met Council”), The Jewish Education Project, the New York City Department of Education, Council Members David Greenfield and Stephen Levin, the Jewish Community Council of Boro Park, and the UJO of Williamsburg provided 4,000 free kosher lunches to school-age children from low-income families during the week of August 24th.

Kosher Summer Meals was launched in 2012 to help low-income families provide nutritious meals for their children during the last week of summer, when children lack access to meals they ordinarily receive through school or camp. The program mirrors the Citywide Summer Meals program, while acknowledging the needs of children who keep kosher. The program was created in response to the alarming number of children living in poor Jewish households.   In Brooklyn alone, there are 168,800 poor and near-poor Jewish households with children, and 45% of all children in the New York City area live in households that are at or near the poverty line.

“Every day, 300,000 New Yorkers struggle to find access to nutritious and kosher food.  The annual Kosher Summer Meals is an essential program because for many families, the week between camp and school is particularly difficult to provide adequate meals,” said Met Council CEO and Executive Director Alan Schoor.  “We thank the generosity of our donor and the hard work of our partners: Chancellor Farina and the New York City Department of Education, Rabbi Schloss and The Jewish Education Project, Council Members David Greenfield and Stephen Levin, Rabbi Silber and the JCC of Boro Park, and Rabbi Niederman and UJO of Williamsburg.”

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LDO15_group.jpgSenior Impact Day: Engaged In Combating Hunger

In honor of National Senior Citizen Day, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, The Samuel Field Y Senior Day Center, Engage Jewish Service Corps and 50 local seniors participated in Senior Impact Day: Engage in Combating Hunger.  Senior Impact Day was a dual-impact event; it provided seniors in the Queens community with important information and assistance on benefits and services while also engaging senior volunteers in peer outreach. Senior volunteers learned how to pre-screen seniors in need for SNAP and Met Council’s Metropair, a free handyman services.

Nationally, three out of five seniors are eligible for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formally Food Stamps), but do not participate. In New York City alone, 700,000 people are eligible for SNAP, but do not participate in the program. Met Council’s goal through education and assistance, is to provide client friendly and dignified support to help gain access to public benefits.  Last year, Met Council enrolled 11,195 families into SNAP, leveraging more than $3 million in government benefits.

Since Met Council’s inception, caring for seniors has been core to our mission,” said Alan Schoor, Met Council CEO and Executive Director.  “Many of our clients work their entire lives, but when they become too frail to work, their lack of a deep and wide enough safety net makes it difficult for them to afford a nutritional diet or hire handymen.  Our SNAP outreach work helps clients gain access to public benefits and our Metropair program helps frail seniors age in place and live safely in the homes they love.”   

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