Borough-Park Councilman Simcha Felder Will be Wearing a Different Hat at Masbia Soup...
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Borough-Park Councilman Simcha Felder Will be Wearing a Different Hat at Masbia Soup Kitchen BROOKLYN, N.Y., Jan. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday evening, Borough-Park Councilman Simcha Felder will be wearing a different hat. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080102/AQW026-a) (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080102/AQW026-b) Though he has been a longtime supporter of the Masbia soup kitchen in Borough Park, Brooklyn, Felder will have an opportunity to see the plight of hungry New Yorkers firsthand, Wednesday, when he will be serving them a four course meal which his campaign is sponsoring. This year, food pantries and soup kitchens can use all the help they can get, as shortages have reached an all-time high. The source of scarcity is a federal program that has been steadily cut over the last five years, combined with a growing demand. Attendance at soup kitchen is at rise in NYC and soup kitchen feeling the pinch, including the Jewish community where poverty is on the rise. About 25 percent of the 1.4 million Jews in the five boroughs of New York -- roughly 348,000 -- live in poverty or near poverty, according to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. Masbia, the only Kosher soup kitchen in New York funded almost entirely by private donations, is in extra need of help. On opening night three years ago, Masbia, which Rapaport calls the "free restaurant," served eight meals. Today they serve 160. Masbia was founded by a few individuals who believed that the rich in the community would jump to support an organization like this, and that's exactly what happened, said Rapaport. "Donors pushed us to be open five days a week and brought the money forward to make it possible," Rapaport said. "We want to be open 24/7 we just need the money to be able to do it." Rapaport thinks this model has the potential to spread like wildfire. He has been contacted by leaders in several other religious communities looking to replicate Masbia. He is currently engaged in opening two new branches in Williamsburg and Flatbush, where the need is high, and Rapaport is convinced it won't stop there. "It's easier to rid the city of hunger than send someone to the moon," says Rapaport. "Masbia hopes to prove that to the city one day." While other soup kitchens and food pantries in the New York depend on government funding, Masbia has come to depend on private donations like local newlyweds who, in the days before their wedding, sponsor a night at Masbia. But Felder said he wanted to sponsor a "regular night" without occasion. "People usually give for occasions, for weddings and other Joyous Occasions, but I want to give in order to have everyday success," said Felder. "I want to help the poor so I will have luck in life." To sponsor a night at Masbia costs $960, roughly $6 per meal for 160 meals. When: Jan 2, 2008 4:00PM Where: 4114 14th Ave Brooklyn NY 11219 Contact: Alexander Rapaport, Executive Director 718-972-4446 Web: http://www.Masbia.org * firstname.lastname@example.org SOURCE Masbia Alexander Rapaport, Executive Director of Masbia, +1-718-972-4446, email@example.com