US Chesed News

Shabbat in a Box brings comfort during Coronavirus crisis
Date Uploaded: 
Monday 4th May 2020

The United Synagogue has launched two new projects to support its most vulnerable members during the Coronavirus crisis.

Following the organisation’s successful “Seder in a box” and “Pesach Food Parcels” initiatives, the United Synagogue has launched two new programmes: “Shabbat in a box” and “Essential Food Parcels”.

The “Shabbat in a box” contains everything one needs for Shabbat: Friday night dinner, Shabbat lunch and Seuda, challah, grape juice and printed materials. The freshly-cooked meals are delivered weekly before Shabbat.

The “Essential Food Parcels” were developed to ensure that people do not go hungry. They are offered, free of charge, people who are self-isolating and cannot go out to buy food and to those in financial need. contain items such as tea, coffee, soup, tinned vegetables, pasta, rice, crackers, cheese and cold meats. The organisation has tried to include some household items too such as toiletries and washing machine tablets that are needed for day to day living.

The United Synagogue has set up an Amazon Wish List so that the community can sponsor items to help support those in need:

Over Pesach, more than 900 vulnerable families received Pesach food parcels from the United Synagogue, more than in previous years. The organisation delivered 1,001 Seder in a box kits complete with a three-course meal for those alone or self-isolating. 

Michelle Minsky, Head of the United Synagogue’s Chesed department, said: “We have been facing ongoing demand to support our most vulnerable members during the lockdown period. Our communities have been identifying people who really need additional support during this time and we have an obligation to help them.

“We are specifically offering these initiatives to those most in need, to members who are self-isolating or who have had difficulty in meeting the costs of their essential food items due to a change in circumstances. The United Synagogue is one big Jewish family and as the Talmud teaches, “kol yisrael areivim zeh la-zeh”, we are all responsible for one another.”

Karen Harris, member of Woodside Park United Synagogue’s Care team, said: “When I informed one of our members that she would be getting a “Shabbat in a box” from the United Synagogue last week she was so relieved it brought tears to my eyes.

“She doesn’t have the resources or energy at the moment to prepare food and she has been really worried about how she was going to eat, especially over Shabbat.”