July 14, 2024
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July 14, 2024
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Pesach Prep with Tomchei Shabbos

Bergenfield—With a dedicated warehouse and enhanced communication with the people it serves, Tomchei Shabbos of Bergen County was able to pack its 250 boxes for Pesach recipients a full week earlier than usual this year.

“In the past, when we packed in Teaneck at Congregation B’nai Yeshurun, we usually packed immediately before the Yom Tov and had to be in and out (of the packing room) in 24 hours,” said Tomchei Shabbos board member Sara Walzman, who spearheaded this year’s Pesach packing project along with Sara Zilberstein. “That’s why we sent out a request to the community asking them to drop off matzah long before Yom Tov this year,” she said. (A request had been sent out saying that 400 pounds of matzah would needed.) “Our goal was significantly exceeded,” Walzman said.

When all is said and done, at both packing locations in Bergenfield and Fair Lawn, Tomchei Shabbos will have packed more than 1,000 pounds of matzah, close to 4,500 pounds of chicken, over 500 pounds of chopped meat, and close to 1,000 dozen eggs. In addition to those staples, the boxes include wine or grape juice, non-perishable items like oil, jelly, matzah meal, ketchup, cake mixes, sugar, salt, coffee and tea, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables—sufficient for the size of every family it serves.

Walzman explained that Tomchei Shabbos continues to work with all the area rabbeim to assist families who need food assistance. Approximately 50 new frum families in our neighborhoods are recipients of Yom Tov boxes this Pesach, and many of the boxes are delivered to locations other than the homes of the recipients to preserve dignity and prevent any kind of embarrassment.

A new, special thing about this year’s Pesach packing was that the non-profit sent a note and a list to its participants in an effort to reduce waste, asking them to choose the things they needed from 60 items. The communication from Tomchei Shabbos was sent in both English and Russian, as the group serves a small constituency of Russian immigrants. “We didn’t want anyone to not send back a list because they didn’t understand,” Walzman said.

Instead, Tomchei Shabbos received beautiful notes back from many of the participants expressing gratitude for the food deliveries. Since Shereith HaPlate, another local organization that repackages and delivers cooked kosher food, does not operate during Pesach, Tomchei Shabbos is gratified to know that the food it delivers is appreciated.

Walzman added that the warehouse at 13 Foster Street in Bergenfield continues to be a great location for the community to come together to serve each other. “Teenagers, adults, the frum community and the larger Jewish community all gets together to put together the boxes,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing.”

For more information, or to send a much-needed donation to Tomchei Shabbos of Bergen County, visit http://www.tomcheishabbosofbergencounty.org.

By Elizabeth Kratz

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