Northbrook synagogue provides food assistance for families in need
Volunteers have been distributing kosher food to families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic through the Jewish Relief Agency's Kids Wellness initiative, a program of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois in Northbrook.
Every Thursday, any family with children that signs up for the program can pick up a box with items including milk, bread, canned goods and meats, no questions asked, said Rabbi Meir Moscowitz of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois. The program is in collaboration with Agudath Isreal of Illinois.
"Anyone with children can sign up and pick it up," Moscowitz said. "Big boxes, small boxes, in the service of families with children. And it's kosher, that's a plus."
"If a family keeps kosher and they need a little extra assistance, they're very limited where they can get it from," Moscowitz said. "So we're making it easy for them by providing the service."
Recipients do not need to be Jewish to participate in the program, he said.
The food, provided through the federal government, is picked up from a Chicago warehouse by volunteers in a hired truck, transported to Northbrook, and distributed to needy families on a weekly basis, Moscowitz said.
Participants drive to the front of the synagogue, 2095 Landwehr Road, and after being checked from a list, volunteers, including Moscowitz's sons, place a box of food into the vehicle.
Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois Executive Director Rabbi Yosef Moscowitz, Rabbi Meir's brother, said the food distribution is an expansion of a program that involves volunteers bringing food to the homes of people in need. In addition to providing food, the delivery by volunteers gave recipients a chance to interact with people.
"Now with COVID, there's a much stronger need, so we accelerated it by partnering with the other organization, Rabbi Yosef Moscowitz said. "So this is like the JRA 2.0."
There have been many positive responses from recipients in the program, and it helps give people a chance to eat kosher food, he said.
"As an organization, we're always hoping to help people spiritually," Rabbi Yosef Moscowitz said. "The best way to help people spiritually is to help them with their basic needs."