Sep. 11, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed
Congresswoman Grace Meng on Friday, Sept. 8, presented a check for $3 million in federal funding to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) that will provide emergency food, free diapers and menstrual products to those in need.
The congresswoman joined Met Council CEO David Greenfield and their community partners at the Pomonok Houses Council Towers VI, located at 155-25 71st Ave., which is senior housing owned and operated by the Met Council in Meng’s district. Following the check presentation ceremony, Meng, along with volunteers, packed supplies such as diapers, wipes and children’s essentials for young families, and menstrual hygiene products. Afterwards, the group delivered a box of food to residents in the building.
“These baby products … this is my dream. I’ve read and volunteered at diaper banks around the country, large scale operations, but hadn’t seen anything to that scale here in Queens,” Meng said. “The organizations behind me have all been involved in those efforts — but a lot of their efforts have depended on private donors or someone generous who happens to come their way. I wanted to do something to help continue and expand their work to make sure they have a system ready and available to help their families.”
Holding up a bag of menstrual hygiene products, the congresswoman said that it’s not just a problem that affects people in underdeveloped countries, but kids and people in the New York City public school system who end up skipping school because they cannot afford those items.
“It is so important to me to try to think of ways to create a legacy for our most vulnerable community members. To make sure that we’re not just handing over a check for a short term program, but to think of ways to start and expand opportunities so that generations of families will benefit,” Meng said.
The Met Council is the largest Jewish charity fighting poverty in the nation and the largest distributor of free kosher food in the United States, helping get over 21 million pounds of food to more than 325,000 New Yorkers last year alone.
“We do tremendous work here in the district and across the city, and over the last five years we’ve distributed over 56 million pounds of food to our friends and neighbors,” said Jessica Chait, Met Council’s managing director of Food Programs. “While we are focused on ensuring those who maintain kosher and halal diets have appropriate pantry options, we truly are here for everyone. We are particularly proud of the work we have done here in NY since having delivered more than 10 million pounds of food to 35 different community-based partners here in the district.”
Founded in 1972, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) has been fighting poverty and promoting the social welfare of New York’s struggling populations including the impoverished, immigrants and the elderly.
Its “Kosher Food Network” is the largest kosher food pantry program globally, reaching more than 305,000 individuals annually. Its social services division supports more than 34,000 New Yorkers through direct assistance and helping to register them for applicable government programs. These include programs supporting victims of domestic violence, the elderly, Holocaust survivors, and the Jewish community’s largest network of affordable housing. For more information, please visit metcouncil.org.