Many in the community have reached out to 5TC, asking for help to figure out why this amazing distribution is no longer being made available to the Jewish community. All the Jewish communities throughout the U.S., with the exception on NYS, still have food being handed to them each week. In fact, even in NY, the food is still being given out in public schools as it did since the start of the pandemic, however, the Lawrence public school Kosher distribution has been discontinued without explanation. Why? Why is it that in Chicago, where they are feeding 37,000 children from seven different states, the government is trying to figure out how many Matza’s are needed per family for this coming Pesach but in our community in New York, they simply canceled the entire program in January?
We had reached out to several organizations and individuals and at this time we still do not have a decent answer. A local community member, Tova Plaut, decided to start this petition as an attempt to reinstate the program and to help continue to provide food for the 20,000 children who need it. See all the details below and we have attached a link at the bottom of the article to sign and join the petition.
The following letter was composed by Tova Plaut:
The NYSED (New York State Education Department) has unfairly canceled the Lawrence School District Kosher Food Distribution program and we demand that these services be reinstated. The cancellation of this food program denies equitable access to food and nutrition services for over 20,000 children on Long Island who are enrolled in the program. This was the only kosher program on Long Island including Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Please note that the NYSED did not cancel the district’s distribution of non kosher meals.
The FFCRA and CARES Acts allow states to loosen their school meal programs to serve all students in an area, even if that area wouldn’t under normal circumstances qualify for 100 percent free meals. The NYSED has unfairly determined that the children enrolled in the Lawrence School District Kosher program do not qualify because many are not enrolled in the public school. The majority of students are attending schools which do not have a USDA or government sponsored food program. This cancellation is in direct contrast to the intent of the program during the COVID-19 pandemic. By canceling this program and food distribution site the NYSED is denying children access to food and nutrition during this unprecedented time and is leaving many children on Long Island hungry.
We call upon our elected officials in Albany and Washington and the NYSED to immediately reinstate the kosher food distribution program and ensure that there is no gap in food and nutrition services for our children.
We also received the following template to send to our elected officials:
To My Fellow Members of the Community,
As someone who has benefited greatly from the kosher food distribution every week from the Lawrence School District, I was extremely disappointed to receive an email saying this week will be the last pickup.
The only way we can have this continue is to MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD by our elected officials. Please email/write or call any of the officials listed below. You can use the template below with switching out their names and where you live.
Please spread the word & forward to all your chats and social media platforms. Let’s make our voices be heard!!!
I hope that you, your family, and your staff are well, especially in light of last week’s events. Over the past year my community has been receiving the kosher school meal distribution through the Lawrence Union Free School District. Today, all participants received an email stating that this week (1/13/21) would be the final distribution, as the district was instructed by the New York State Education Department to terminate the program. This is extremely upsetting to my community, as many families, including mine, rely on this distribution to feed our children. I don’t understand why the New York State Education Department has instructed The Lawrence School District to end this vital federally-funded program. Please help us. I need this program to continue! I look forward to hearing from you about this in the near future. Thank you for your service to our community and our country.”
Thank you in advance for your help in this matter,
US Representative Kathleen Rice: 202-225-5516 or 516-739-3008
Senator Charles Schumer: 202-224-6542
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: 202-224-4451
NY State Senator Todd Kaminsky: 518-455-3401 or 516-766-8383
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran: 516-626-4266
Nassau County Legislator Howard Kopel – District 7 – 516-571-6207