B’nai Brith food basket program gears up for Passover
March 12, 2013 | Mike Cohen - Correspondent
MONTREAL - With Passover just around the corner, volunteers from the Montreal B’nai Brith Food Basket Program are once again ensuring those less fortunate have an enjoyable holiday just as they do during Rosh Hashanah.
Montreal B’nai Brith Food Baskets was established in 1947 by Maple Leaf Lodge, beginning modestly with about 100 deliveries. Unfortunately, more than 66 years later the need for assistance continues to grow. Volunteers pack, distribute and deliver more than 4,000 food baskets each year.
This program has gone beyond a semi-annual program at Passover and Rosh Hashanah.
“Requests are up 10 per cent from last year at this time,” said David Guttman, who co-chairs the program with Sheldon Popliger and Murray Kozlick. “The B’nai Brith committee purchases all the products that are included in each kosher food basket to ensure uniformity and kashruth.”
This B’nai Brith program effectively uses volunteer resources for all of the labour and administration. This year the operation is based at a warehouse donated by the Olymbec Group at 5580 Cote de Liesse Rd. (corner of Devonshire) in suburban St. Laurent.
“We have always turned to the community to help the program and also to come out to volunteer,” said Popliger. Those in need of a kosher food basket must apply to one of a number of social agencies such as Agence Ometz, Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors, Jewish General Hospital, South Shore Jewish Community, Jewish Women International, synagogues and CLSCs.
“We have to thank the many dedicated volunteers who devote their time and energy to the program,” said Kozlick. “They are able to meet the ever-increasing needs of the community and help to ensure that all Jewish families can celebrate Passover this year.”
Senior B’nai Brith Canada board member Ted Greenfield has been involved with the program since 1958.
“Sadly, the need is growing,” he said. “Our volunteers work very hard to keep up with the demand and I see no sign of letting up, unless people stop supporting us. I do not think that will happen.”