When an anonymous donor donated 50,000 pounds of food to Chabad of Hewlett, Shliach Rabbi Nochem Tenenboim realized that the food was too much for him to distribute. It ended up helping three Chabad Houses.
A Hewlett Harbor resident who wants to remain anonymous donated 50,000 pounds of food to the Chabad of Hewlett that was used to help those in need across the Five Towns and in Queens.
“Yes he is Hewlett Harbor resident, a dear friend of Chabad of Hewlett,” said Rabbi Nochem Tenenboim, leader of the Chabad in Hewlett. “The donor reached out to me, after reading about our support to our community — Passover food, Seder plates to hundreds of families, shopping and delivering to Holocaust survivors, thousands of masks and the Shabbat and holiday packages.” For Shavuot, the Chabad sent packages to 1,000 families.
Tenenboim said that the donation was much more than what is needed in Hewlett and also included a large amount of perishable food, which lead him to contact Rabbis Mordechai Hecht from Chabad Chessed in Kew Gardens and Eli Blokh, director of Chabad Rego Park, Chabad leaders he is well acquainted with.
“Rabbi Tenenbiom called me, ” Hecht said, “we contribute regionally and distribute all sorts of tangible items from household items to cars. We find organizations or individuals like a matchmaking service. We had success before Covid and he said he knew someone from the Five Towns who was donating a lot of food.”
Hecht was beside himself when he saw the tractor trailer truck pull up with pallets full of “chicken, meat, fish, soda, candy, spices and all sorts of wonderful stuff.” Hecht said that his first thought was that you could also give a good portion of the items to the Metropolitan Council of New York, an organization that provides critical services.
Many people, Hecht said are not aware of local food banks or social services, especially people who are not typically challenged by food insecurity. Because of the coronavirus pandemic there are people unemployed who did not seek those services and older people cannot get out their homes. “It is the fear of the unknown and they are not sure what the future holds,” he said. “People are distanced from one another. But there is something about receiving a gift that instinctively it’s exciting.”
Rego Park’s Russian-speaking immigrant community was hard hit by the virus, Blokh said and because of that unemployment struck many families as many were hourly wage barbers and beauticians. Even in the best of times, he said, families are struggling with single parents raising three to four children and seniors on fixed incomes. His Chabad is feeding 45 families weekly, so the food donation was greatly appreciated.
“I think it’s amazing,” Blokh said of the donation, “there is a lot negativity. To emphasize the good that’s a step in the right direction and to follow action with just not words. When our neighbors read about it they see the good in people.”
Tenenboim said that food is still being collected and aims to connect commercial donors in the Five Towns to the organizations that help people in need.
To contact the Chabad of Hewlett, call (516) 295-3433 or go to https://www.jewishhewlett.com/.
To donate to Chabad Chessed in Kew Gardens, call (718) 441-2470 or go to https://www.chabadofthegardens.com/.
For the Chabad Rego Park, call (718) 393-3085 or go to chabaderego.org/donateonline.