2019-01-30 / Editorial

We have an opportunity to help those suffering from hunger

Last week, Community Mitzvah Days were a focus of the South Jersey Jewish community. The event, whose theme was giving back to the community, was perfectly timed to coincide with the weekend during which we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose life mission (and ultimate sacrifice) was to improve the world he lived in. As Jews, we are given the task of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. Unfortunately, we have many opportunities to do so—and not so far from home. Volunteers at Kellman Brown Academy, for example, made Chemo Comfort Bags for patients of MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. M’kor Shalom volunteers made dinner for residents of the Gift of Life Family House in Philadelphia, which provides temporary housing and meals for families who travel from out of town with patients in need of transplants. At the JCC, 125 teens made snack packs for the South Jersey Food Pantry for children in need, dry ingredient soup jars for the JFCS Food Pantry, and utensil packets and fleece blankets for the homeless. And at Temple Beth Sholom, volunteers packed food for the Jewish Relief Agency (JRA). Many other area Jewish organizations, schools, and synagogues participated in Community Mitzvah Days, each in their own way doing their best to improve our community. In addition to the Community Mitzvah Days, our community held Super Sunday earlier this week. Funds raised for the Federation’s JFund Annual Campaign help alleviate hunger locally, in Israel, and around the world.

It is no accident that many of the activities on Community Mitzvah Days were related to hunger and helping those in need of food. We live in a country of plenty, but hunger is still a pervasive issue. In New Jersey alone, 1 out of 10 people—that’s almost 1.5 million—are food insecure, according to Hunger Free New Jersey. It’s even worse for kids: 13.5 percent of New Jersey children (more than 268,000) suffered from hunger.

The late Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson said, “If you see what needs to be repaired and how to repair it, then you have found a piece of the world that G-d has left for you to complete.” In this case, we don’t have to look far to see what needs repairing. Our community and our country are suffering, but each of us in our small way can do what we can to help. JFCS and other food pantries are always accepting donations of food, as are other organizations. A simple Google search can identify volunteer opportunities to help deliver or provide food to those in need. Those of us who are blessed with enough have the chance to provide for those who aren’t, and if we work together as a community, we have the potential to save lives. 

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