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Pasadena Now

Guest Opinion: Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater: Let All Who Are Hungry Come and Eat

During the holiday of Passover, which recently ended, there is a line in the story about letting “all who are hungry come and eat…” This line has always been an important one for me, even before I started my work at Friends In Deed. And obviously, now it has become a central tenet of how I spend my days, striving to lead our agency to feed as many people as we can. The Jewish people limit the types of food […]

During the holiday of Passover, which recently ended, there is a line in the story about letting “all who are hungry come and eat…” This line has always been an important one for me, even before I started my work at Friends In Deed. And obviously, now it has become a central tenet of how I spend my days, striving to lead our agency to feed as many people as we can. The Jewish people limit the types of food that we eat during Passover as a spiritual quest, one that calls us to remember “all those who are hungry.” We are also called upon to give ‘gifts to the poor’ in honor of the holiday. These two traditions coalesce into one in these trying times.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, food, or lack of food, is now central to so many more people than ever before. As with any time of struggle in our nation, it is the poor and needy that always suffer the most. There were millions of people who were hungry before the virus struck; now, with unemployment skyrocketing; with food in short supply; and with hunger on the rise, our work at Friends In Deed is even more critical. Before the crisis struck, we were seeing an average of 350 households a week during our three days of food pantry operation. As we prepare to reopen on Tuesday, April 28th, we are expecting to see at least 500 households a week. Many of these folks will be first time clients, having seen their jobs and incomes disappear or be greatly reduced.  We want to be ready when our doors open.

We know we will be seeing many seniors, single moms, large families and those struggling to get by on their own, lining up for our help. The looks on the faces of those waiting for food, especially those for whom this is a brand new experience, tell so many stories. Our goal is to receive each person with as much compassion, connection and dignity as we can. If you, or someone you know, is in need, please know that Friends In Deed is a place where “all who are hungry can come and eat.”

To learn more about our specific needs, and how you can help, please visit our website at www.friendsindeedpas.org.

May all of us stick together during this time, and know that with love and support, we will get by, we will survive. And may those who are blessed with more, share with those who have less.