By Julianne Cuba
Hundreds of people that might not have been able to have matzoh for Passover opened their doors to welcome food baskets filled with a whole lotta matzoh and other staple holiday fare — all packaged and delivered by organizations in Marine Park, Brighton Beach, and Coney Island — before the eight-day holiday began. And one of the volunteers was happy to be helping those in the elderly community celebrate the holiday, said Mara Goldshtein, who packaged foods with the Be Proud Foundation in Brighton Beach on April 6.
“The event was excellent, beautiful. It is very nice very that the community thinks about elderly people who need to celebrate the Passover,” said Goldshtein. “I was very proud to be a part of this event.”
And this year, the Be Proud Foundation went all out by stuffing the nearly 550 packages with gefilte fish, matzoh balls, and chocolate-covered matzoh — almost everything needed to fill the seder table, said founder Raisa Chernina, who thanked all the volunteers.
“Absolutely incredible. People were so happy because this year we gave very good packages — not good, very good,” she said. “First time we give gefilte fish, it’s a little expensive.”
And over in Marine Park, more than 100 volunteers came out to the Marine Park Jewish Center on April 2 to pack together boxes of fruits and vegetables — and of course the unleavened bread — for local families. It was a meaningful experience to be able to hand deliver the food right to families’ doorsteps so they didn’t have to come out for it themselves, said the center’s founder.
“It was amazing. Staple items you can’t go wrong with, also special kosher for Passover matzoh and kosher for Passover cookies,” said Shea Rubenstein. “One of the beautiful things about this type of food pantry, we don’t allow the people in need to show up for their grocery order. That extra step delivering — that person’s dignity is more important than the food itself.”
Another Marine Park volunteer, who attended with his family, said there’s no better feeling than helping out your own neighbors.
“It was a beautiful outpouring of support for our community,” said Mark Plotsker.
Volunteers from the Shorefront Jewish Community Council in Brighton Beach and the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island also packaged and delivered more than 1,000 boxes of Passover food.
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