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Volunteers Pack It Up

Volunteers at Young Israel of Plainview spend time thinking outside of the box by sending food packages to families in need recently.

In advance of the Purim holiday, which took place on March 15 and 16, Young Israel of Plainview participated in a far-reaching effort to provide food for those in need. Known as Pack It Up For Purim, this fourth annual event brought out droves of volunteers to help with the efforts. The event is under the auspices of an effort known as Feeding Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Response, an initiative organized by the UJA Federation in conjunction with the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

While it is always important to help those in need, the effort bore additional significance due to the underlying themes of Purim.

During this yearly Jewish holiday, congregants, friends and neighbors alike take the opportunity to exchange baskets of food to one another, a hallowed tradition that began thousands of years ago. This concept of sending treats to those you know easily transitioned to the notion of giving food away to those in need. Many would argue that this recognizable parallel is not at all by coincidence.

When all was said and done, the event was a rousing success. The participants collected a tremendous amount of food items, donating the entire lot to the Alix Rubinger Kosher Food Pantry in Massapequa, a both willing and grateful recipient.

Iris Astrof, who can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and is a longtime volunteer at the pantry, was moved by the effort.

“We are so appreciative for the all the hard work and determination of the participants,” said Astrof. “Today’s efforts will go a long way toward helping a lot of people.”

Pack It Up For Purim also ended up raising close to $1,000, sufficient enough to now be able to provide additional food care packages for 60 families. These efforts, which will have a both real and significant impact in the communities involved, have not reached a conclusion but, rather, will continue on as an annual event, much like the Purim holiday it will coincide with.

Teen volunteer Sammy Gross was glad to be involved, saying that every family deserves access to a meal.

“A family having food to eat is not a luxury but a basic human right,” Gross said. “I wish we lived in world in which nobody had to worry about where their next meal was coming from. Until that day happens, I am happy to work with my friends and my synagogue to do my part to help out as many families in need as possible.”

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