Brooklyn, NY – Hoping to be able to serve a greater number of individuals who are having difficulty making ends meet, the Masbia Soup Kitchen network is reaching out to synagogues and yeshivos in Brooklyn and Queens, offering group appointments that will provide greater convenience and dignity to those in need.
The idea to invite clients to come to Masbia’s three locations in Borough Park, Flatbush and Queens in groups, instead of as individuals, was one that Masbia founder Alexander Rapaport had been considering for a while.
But the launch of a new software system that simplified Masbia’s internal operations and allowed for private appointments had Rapaport putting his plan into play at all of Masbia’s client choice food pantries.
“As a community, we aren’t so good at keeping exact appointments, but giving people a window of time where they can come in as part of a group provided the flexibility they needed,” Rapaport told VIN News. “What we wanted to avoid was the long lines that we have had where people could be waiting outside for an hour or more to get their food which can be very demeaning.
Now people come in with members of their group during their assigned time slot instead of getting stuck on a line where they could be competing against an entire zip code.”
Rapaport acknowledged that there might be those who would prefer not to pick up food in a room full of their peers, but that most enjoy the camaraderie which minimizes the stigma of coming to a food pantry. Masbia’s food pantries will continue their regular Thursday morning operations at all three locations.
In addition to having groups coming from shuls and yeshivos, Rapaport said that the Flatbush Masbia site has a group of single mothers, while the Borough Park location has a group of families of six or more. Having gotten five groups at each of the Brooklyn locations on his own, Masbia attracted two more groups after being given an opportunity to announce its new initiative at a Flatbush JCC meeting held last week.
Rapaport has also reached out to several synagogues in Queens in an effort to attract groups to that location as well.
“So far we have moved the pendulum and have many more people coming in with this new system, so we are excited to be announcing it on a larger scale,” said Rapaport. “There are so many families who are struggling financially and we look forward to being able to help as many people as we can in the Jewish community at Masbia.”