JCRC & JFS Unite to Fight Hunger with the Jewish Food Stamp Challenge

Starting Sunday November 11, some locals will be drastically changing the way they eat for a week, and not out of concern with their own health or vanity. To raise awareness of and help address local hunger, they’re committing to live on the $31.50 grocery budget of the average food stamp recipient for one week.

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, in partnership with Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service (JFS), has endorsed the national Jewish Community Food Stamp Challenge . Participants will personally experience the challenges faced by individuals and families throughout the country on a daily basis.

As part of the Challenge, community members are also asked to show their support by contributing to the Food Pantry at JFS in multiples of $31.50. This will help the Pantry provide its biweekly deliveries of non-perishable goods, fruits and vegetables, and challah to our neighbors in need.

“Experiencing what others go through on a daily basis gives us a better appreciation and understanding and helps us to be more compassionate in our work,” said Danielle Hartman, JFS President & CEO, who is taking the challenge herself. “One person in seven in the United States uses Food Stamps, including nearly a quarter of all American children. Hunger is real in our own community despite the perception of affluence here. Our Food Pantry is now helping more than 550 people.”

Kristy Lopez, a graduate student in nutrition FIU who works with the JCRC, is preparing for the week by carefully considering food selections. “I was intrigued by the challenge of having balanced, healthy meals on this minimal budget, and want to find out how people can live on $1.50 per meal,” she says. “Healthy food really costs more. I will be passing up fresh produce and meat, and heading toward the canned and frozen vegetables, canned beans and tuna. I’ll be rinsing the canned goods to eliminate some of the salt, as it’s more expensive to buy low sodium products.”

Cindy Orbach Nimhauser, JFS Director of Development is also taking the Challenge. “As someone who raises funds to fight hunger, I want to be able to better understand and convey what it feels like to live with food scarcity,” she said. “I can see it will take a lot of time to plan and I wonder how low-income people who work, raise children or are disabled can manage. I know if I want fresh fruit, I’ll have to skip meals. It will be hard to avoid inexpensive and filling refined carbohydrates that are low in cost but not healthful as a mainstay of every meal. Those concerned about hunger in our community and beyond may participate in the Food Stamp Challenge week or make a tax-deductible donation by visiting www.jewishboca.org/foodstampchallenge .

Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service offers help, hope and humanity through a comprehensive range of programs and services which support people of all ages and beliefs. With locations in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, JFS programs and services include food and financial assistance, senior services, counseling and mental health services and many volunteer opportunities. Visit www.rrjfs.org.

At the hub of the Jewish community, the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County serves the Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Highland Beach areas, raising and allocating millions of dollars each year to meet vital human needs locally, in Israel and 70 countries around the world. The JCRC is the public policy voice of the Federation. Visit www.jewishboca.org.

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