June 21, 2024
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Gluten-Free Gemach to Hold Second Annual Drive

BergenfieldBy the time Pesach is over, few people want to look at another potato starch-based dessert. Most break out the flour to make their tried and true recipes, and breathe a sigh of relief as they return to cooking and baking with the recipes they know. But for a growing group, the increase in the availability of gluten free desserts is a welcome part of Pesach. Many Pesach items are made without any matzoh products, to accommodate those who have a custom to refrain from eating “gebrokts,” a term used to describe matzoh and liquid that come into contact with one another. But in recent years, non-gebrokts desserts have piqued the interest of those who follow a gluten free diet.

Those who restrict gluten intake—either by choice, or by medical necessity, often travel to specialty stores and pay top dollar to find food that caters to their dietary restrictions.

Miriam and Jeff Rosenfeld, of Bergenfield, found a way to unite the two groups. The Gluten Free Gemach idea was born out of a casual conversation. Before Pesach that year, the Rosenfelds gave some extra potato starch cans to a friend who does not eat gluten year round, because she said she relies on Pesach to stock up on items to last the year. This sparked an idea in their heads.

Following Pesach, the Rosenfelds posted on Facebook and the Teaneck Shuls listserve, that they were collecting leftover Pesach food for a gluten-free gemach. Though the Rosenfeld family does not follow a gluten-free diet themselves, they have many friends who do, who often lament the lack of options. “The gemach just seemed like an obvious solution,” Miriam Rosenfeld said. “There is so much ba’al tashchis after Pesach ends. Why not send it to people who will enjoy it?”

Through Facebook, the Rosenfelds were able to post specific items that were dropped off, and through their efforts collected and redistributed over 100 items of food. Even Teaneck bakery Butterflake joined their efforts and generously donated hundreds of dollars worth of gluten-free desserts.

This year, the family plans to house the gemach once again, and they are excited to use the Facebook page for people to post their gluten-free recipes which they can then distribute with the treats. In order to accommodate the high volume of food they expect, the Rosenfelds converted a room into a storage area, even adding shelves to display the food packages.

The gemach will be open for drop off and pick up, beginning April 22, after Pesach, at the home of Miriam and Jeff Rosenfeld. Please drop off sealed, store bought gluten-free products (cakes, cookies, pasta, potato starch, crackers, etc.) anytime in the bin outside 69 Wilbur, in Bergenfield. Pick up availability begins the Monday after Pesach, April 28th, through Thursday May 1st, 7 pm to 9 pm.

“Like” the gemach’s page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GlutenFreeGemach for updates and information.

By Jenny Gans

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