The pandemic has made it difficult for many people financially and it has been left to community organizations to help some families make ends meet.
One such group, the MADA Community Centre, a Jewish organization that supports those in need, is once again doing its best to help some families celebrate Passover on March 27. Hundreds of volunteers are packing Passover boxes of food for those who can’t afford it.
“We have to make sure that everyone can celebrate the holiday with dignity and with joy,” Rabbi Shmuel Pinson told Global News. “We are trying to help out a little bit with that.”
Pinson said it’s a yearly tradition for MADA to hand out Passover boxes to needy families, who must register to get one. According to him, each box contains about $100 worth of groceries.
“When we’re doing the distribution, we’re adding a chicken to each box,” he said.
Pinson added that there’s even another program where the group prepares meals for those who aren’t able to cook.
With the pandemic, though, volunteers say this year is very different.
“Yes the pandemic really hit a lot of people,” volunteer Ayala Waknin said. A lot of people have been dismissed from work, according to Waknin.
Pinson said that the demand for help has jumped this year.
“I would say there’s a growth of 25 per cent at least,” he said.
According to him, more than 2,000 Passover grocery boxes will be packed for distribution to families. Some deliveries start Wednesday.
Volunteers at a Saint-Laurent warehouse told Global News that doing things like this is their way of giving back to the community. For some, it has become somewhat of a family activity.
“Yeah, it’s my first time,” laughed Meriam Hassine. “It’s my mom who was volunteering here last year and said it was a lot of fun.”
Waknin stressed that making it possible for others to celebrate the holidays will help lift their spirits, especially for those, like her, who are missing family. She says it’s been tough.
“Yes, very hard. Very hard,” she said, fighting back tears.
She’s encouraging anyone who wants to to contact MADA and help make Passover a little brighter for others.