Taking care of neighbors during the High Holidays

The High Holidays will be here before we know it!

Many of the Jewish holidays involve food-centric traditions, and the High Holidays are no different. When it comes to purchasing traditional holiday food items, these special days of the year can tend to be costly for many who observe-and especially for individuals and families who are food-insecure in our community. That’s why we come together as a community to ensure that our neighbors have what they need to celebrate appropriately and enjoy their traditions.

This year, we are extremely grateful to volunteers from the Volunteer Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh who will bake handmade holiday challahs next month for our clients at the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry (SHCFP). We’re so thankful for the efforts of the Jewish Federation and the challah bake volunteers, as well as Deena Ross and Moishe Siebzener from Creative Kosher who generously offered to donate ingredients and their time.

For the second year, SHCFP has reached out to Squirrel Hill congregations as well as several suburban congregations to provide holiday food baskets for observant families. In all, 20 congregations were contacted and asked to provide the number of baskets needed along with the size of the family so an appropriate amount of food can be prepared. These baskets are filled and distributed across the region.

As the only kosher-serving pantry in Southwestern Pennsylvania, SHCFP provides traditional holiday food items at all special and observant times of the year, including the High Holidays and Passover. SHCFP staff and volunteers also help observant clients maximize their budgets and shopping trips so they only need to minimally supplement additional holiday foods with their food benefits if they choose. In order to continue providing special holiday food items each year, the Pantry relies on the generosity of volunteers, local synagogues and our community partners, all of whom donate countless food items, volunteer hours and funds to help us ensure neighbors are able to observe and celebrate the holidays with their families.

You can help Pantry clients celebrate the upcoming holidays by donating special holiday-specific foods to the Pantry, making a financial gift, organizing a holiday-themed food drive at your workplace or congregation or volunteering your time at the Pantry. We encourage community members to donate kosher holiday food items such as challahs, honey-cake or apple-cake mixes, shelf-stable grape juice, kosher canned fruits and vegetables and/or honey, or to consider making a financial gift to help the Pantry purchase kosher chickens for clients. We are especially thankful to Rita Gould, who buys kosher chickens for our clients both on her own and through donations to the Pantry.

To learn more about the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry, please visit our website at  www.sqfoodpantry.org. If you would like to donate food items, organize a holiday food drive or volunteer, please contact Kathy Poth, SHCFP Coordinator, at kpoth@sqfoodpantry.org or by calling 412-421-2708.

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