Kosher Food Bank in the News……
Kosher Food Bank, in South Euclid, helps feed the area’s needy; organization needs volunteers, donations
Kosher Food Bank volunteers who packed grocery bags on Aug. 25 were, from left, Nancy Leviton, Rose Leder, Chany Klein, Lauren Rubin, Shira Atik, Nancy Sternberg, Kalli Sternberg, and Lilianna Gershenovich. (Jeff Piorkowski/Special to Sun News)
By Jeff Piorkowski, special to Sun News
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on August 27, 2015 at 9:54 AM
SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio — In Jewish culture, performing a mitzvah is doing a good deed.
The Cleveland Kosher Food Bank, tucked away in a small garage-like building off South Green Road, next door to Senders Pediatrics, is a place where many good deeds are done. In a typical month, food to fill 3,000 bags of groceries are collected from the Cleveland Food Bank and through donations, bagged, then delivered to those in need in the area.
Among the approximately 100 volunteers at the Kosher Food Bank is Debi Slater. The Solon resident, a certified wellness coach and member of Solon Chabad, bags groceries and organizes volunteers. For Slater, pitching in to help the needy is not merely a matter of performing a mitzvah.
“This is bigger than me,” Slater said of the need for food many face. “I don’t even think about it, it’s just something I have to do, to help.”
Most every day, volunteers are in the small Kosher Food Bank building, 2004 S. Green Road, packing food and delivering it to people living in low-income, subsidized apartments and to senior centers in the Heights area.
Ben Katz, a supporter of the Kosher Food Bank for five years and a Beachwood resident, said that just because there is a need for a food bank is reason enough to help.
“There are people living in Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and Beachwood who have no idea that there are people living among them who don’t have enough to eat, whether because of an illness or job loss or their circumstance in life.”
Katz, who works in the employee benefits business for a financial planner, donates monetarily to the Kosher Food Bank, while his wife, Michelle, helps pack bags of groceries. Further, Katz lends his time to speak with the food bank’s leadership to help them maximize their efforts and to ensure a presence on the internet.
Founded 40 years ago by Shula Kazen as a means to aid Jewish refugees who had moved to the Cleveland area from Russia, the organization is now directed by Kazen’s daughter, University Heights resident Devorah Alevsky.
The Kosher Food Bank has grown to distribute more produce than any other participating agency of the Cleveland Food Bank, and to serve as the only food bank that delivers.
While the food delivered is kosher, Slater said only about 80 percent of the people served are Jewish.
Slater said she was once asked by someone within the organization if she liked doing work for the Kosher Food Bank. She proceeded to recount an experience to that person about delivering to non-Jews in a low-income apartment, the only turn she took as a delivery person.
“I delivered bags to the (units in the) apartments,” Slater said. “It was just so sad. I became verklempt (overcome with emotion).”
As Slater recalled the memory, her voice became heavy with emotion.
“It was very upsetting,” she said. “I told (the co-worker) I can’t do this (delivery) any more. So, I bag and organize the volunteers”
Kosher Food Bank Project Coordinator Rivka Goldstein said the organization needs volunteers and donations of money and kosher food.
“There are a number of Jewish families in the area who need food,” Goldstein said. “There are more Jewish families in need in the Cleveland area than a lot of other cities, like Chicago and Baltimore.
“This is a good time to think about donating to the Kosher Food Bank because Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is coming (Sept. 13-15), that’s a time a lot of people want to do good things.”
Those interested in donating or volunteering, or those in need (income guidelines apply), can call the Kosher Food Bank at 216-382-7202, or visit firstname.lastname@example.org