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Essen-tials, Kosher Food Program

ESSEN-tials is a Kosher Food Distribution Food Project of Jewish Family Service and Rachel’s Table

In collaboration with Rachel’s Table, a program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, Jewish Family Service provides kosher food multiple times a year to individuals and families in our community who experience food insecurity or limited access. In a recent study conducted by The Weinberg Foundation, they found the percentage of Jewish households earning less than $30,000 is between 16% and 20%, with 7% earning less than $15,000, and that Jewish poverty is concentrated among older adults, Hasidic Jews, individuals with less education, and those working just part time, as well as in Holocaust survivor communities.

People who observe kashrut, the Jewish dietary laws, cannot depend on food pantries to meet their needs. ESSEN-tials provides special items appropriate for the seasonal holidays, kosher meat and chicken, produce and other non-perishable kosher items.

For questions, referrals or if you would like to receive kosher food, please contact Cathy Chandler, email c.chandler@jfswm.org or call 413-737-2601.

All information is kept strictly confidential.

Rachel's Table
Rachel’s Table is a project of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. Founded in 1992, Rachel’s Table has worked tirelessly to alleviate hunger and reduce the waste of food resources in the Pioneer Valley. Six days a week more than 200 volunteers collect food from over 60 donors such as local supermarkets, restaurants, caterers, farms, and bakeries, and deliver it to more than 50 agencies, including soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters in the Pioneer Valley. Rachel’s Table is also a catalyst for community activism through programs that raise awareness about food justice. Over the years, it has created special projects focusing on healthy nutrition and education such as the Gleaning Project which works with youth and school groups to engage them in the service of collecting the excess produce and donating it to agencies that serve the hungry and homeless in the Pioneer Valley. It also created Growing Gardens, which supports any RT-affiliated agencies to grow their own food for direct access to self-determined, healthy and culturally appropriate food.