Chabad to Feed Hungry For Holidays… and Beyond

In response to the lingering recession and increased sense of need and spirit of giving characteristic of the holiday season, Chabad of the Conejo has announced that it will be opening a special food bank to help struggling individuals and families put food on the table.

“It is unacceptable, even unconscionable, that in this day and age in the United States of America, so many people – among them children and elderly – do not know from one day to the next how and wherefrom their next meal will come about,” says Rabbi Moshe Bryski, Executive Director of Chabad of the Conejo. “Although we are struggling to meet our existing operational budget, we decided that this is something we simply must address in a major way, in the hopes that the community will respond in kind and join us in this vital effort.”

Bryski went on to say that while Chabad typically receives an increased stream of people showing up at its doors asking for help during this time of year, and never turns anyone away, the sheer volume of requests amassing this year in particular has prompted the organization’s leadership to tackle the crisis on a much larger scale than previously.

Those residing in the West Valley or throughout the Conejo Valley who are struggling to feed themselves and/or their families will be able to choose from a pre-printed list of food-items and quantity-options and submit their requests either in person, fax or email. Food packages consisting of a week’s supply at a time will be filled accordingly and made available for pick up. Select deliveries will be made to the homes of elderly, disabled or otherwise non-ambulatory individuals.

“The most basic and fundamental principle of charity says that when a person is hungry, you must feed him,” said Rabbi Yisroel Levine, Director of Development for Chabad of the Conejo, who will be coordinating and heading up the food bank program. “This is a tradition that dates back thousands of years to our forefather Abraham…”

“It is absolutely heartwarming and uplifting to see that although almost everyone is hurting financially due to the economic downturn; most are nonetheless sensitive, perhaps even more so in these times, to those who are even worse off than themselves to the extent that they need to rely on the generosity of others for their most basic of basics… The positive response we’ve gotten to this campaign is an inspiring reflection of the human and holiday spirit at its best.”

Levine made it clear that the program is non-sectarian and will be open to Jews and non-Jews alike. While, for now, the program is set to be functional throughout the holiday season and for the entire month of January thereafter, it may also continue beyond that point, should it prove to be sustainable that way.

Chabad of the Conejo is a nonprofit educational, outreach and social service organization serving the greater West Valley and Conejo Valley areas through six regional community centers. This past September, Chabad completed the first of a two-phase construction project at the site of its headquarters in Agoura Hills with the opening of a new multipurpose facility called the Center for Jewish Life.

Those who wish to make a tax-deductible contribution toward the food bank campaign, or to volunteer their time to help prepare or distribute the food packages, are asked to call (818) 991-0991. Any food retailers or wholesalers who would like to donate appropriate goods for the effort are likewise asked to call in.

Those in need of food assistance may call (818) 991-0991 or send an email to foodbank@chabadconejo.com including your best contact information.