As Jewish New Yorkers prepare to celebrate Purim, UJA-Federation of New York is teaming up with AmeriCorps to help defeat hunger in the community. The campaign, Pack It Up for Purim, is a community-wide effort to create at least 1,000 food packages for hungry New Yorkers, and to take part in the Purim tradition of mishloach manot, offering a charitable food package to a neighbor or someone in need.
Purim is traditionally known for its guilty pleasures. Hamantaschen and wine, lots of wine, are two major traditions. Most mishloach manot packages contain both of these along with other sweets. With nearly 1.4 million people in New York City unable to afford enough nutritional food, this rebranding of Purim presents an opportunity to provide not only a food package, but an opportunity to educate the underprivileged about healthy eating. Each Pack It Up for Purim package contains such goods as whole-grain cereal or oatmeal, canned vegetables, canned tuna, pasta, beans, granola bars, fruit juice and recipes from a registered dietician so families can use these products to create a healthy and enjoyable meal while celebrating Purim.
Packages will be packed at various volunteer events in New York City. Volunteers will gather at local synagogues, day schools and community centers and agencies to help pack food packages and spread the message of eating nutritiously. Food packages will be donated to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a UJA-Federation beneficiary agency, or another local pantry of choice.