Borough-Park Councilman Simcha Felder Will be Wearing a Different Hat at Masbia Soup...

Wed Jan 2, 2008 8:50am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

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 * alex@masbia.org

SOURCE  Masbia

Alexander Rapaport, Executive Director of Masbia, +1-718-972-4446,
alex@masbia.org
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