Federation's Annual High Holiday Food Drive is already gearing up. The drive, organized through the Mitzvah Food Project, is a collaboration between the project, and area synagogues and organizations. Because of the current economic downturn, the success of this annual appeal is particularly critical.
"The Mitzvah Food Project has experienced a 15 percent increase in new recipients as compared to the same time last year," notes David Rosenberg, director of Federation's Center for Social Responsibility, the department that manages the project.
He explains that project coordinators depend on the nonperishable canned food collected during the High Holiday Food Drive, to augment the additional items they buy each month for the food packages. Purchased items include food that has a shorter shelf life than canned goods, such as pasta and cereal.
Last year, SHARE's State Food Purchase Program provided approximately one-third of the monthly food budget for these items. Due to budgetary cuts at the state level, MFP will not be receiving any state funding for the next three months. And until the state budget is passed, state funding for Federation's food project is on hold.
"We've simplified registration on our Web site, and are happy to speak with all those interested in joining the drive," notes Drisana Davis, Mitzvah Food Project associate.
The project is streamlining and greening its 2009 High Holiday Food Drive to direct more of its resources to purchasing food for vulnerable families and older adults experiencing food insecurity.
The annual food drive runs from Sept. 18 through Oct. 12 — from Rosh Hashanah through Simchat Torah. Individual synagogues and organizations will set the exact dates for the drive at their location. As part of the project's goal to go green, food donations will be collected in bins, rather than in plastic bags.
New this year, each synagogue and organization will collect a single type of kosher, nonperishable canned food.
Synagogues and organizations within a Federation Kehillah as well as Northeast Philadelphia will collect the same food items. For a list of items, by area, see below.
All canned donations should have a one-year future expiration date, be unused and properly sealed, since collected food is stored before being sorted and distributed.
All food must be kosher. Lower sugar and lower salt items are also needed.
To register a synagogue or organization for the food drive, and for a list of pantry locations, see: www.jewishphilly. org/mfp or call Drisana Davis at 215-832-0531 (e-mail: email@example.com).
To find out dates and times for specific synagogues or organizations, contact those places directly.
Kehillah/Area Food-Collection Items
Bucks — Canned Soup
Bux-Mont — Peanut Butter
Center City — Canned Fruit
Chester County — Canned Beans
Delaware County — Canned Tuna
Lower Merion — Canned tomato sauce/marinara/pesto
Northeast — Canned Tuna
Old York Road — Canned Vegetables