On Sunday, April 13, 50 elderly residents of Jersey City, Bayonne, and Hoboken will receive packages with food for Passover, courtesy of CareLink.
An extra treat awaits the recipients: The packages will also contain crafts from the children of the Jewish Community Center of Bayonne Nursery School, the United Synagogue of Hoboken Learning Center, and the United Synagogue of Hoboken preschool.
The packages, tote bags that volunteers are scheduled to fill today, will contain chicken, grape juice, gefilte fish, horseradish, matzoh, macaroons, and a Haggadah.
"The crafts will make someone happy," said Richard Kuperman, coordinator of volunteer services at Jewish Family Services of Metrowest, who is in charge of organizing the drive.
CareLink is a program run by the Jewish Family & Counseling Services of Hudson County.
Kuperman said he is expecting between 15 to ‘0 volunteers from all over Hudson County to meet at 9 a.m. at the JCC of Bayonne and then deliver the packages to the homes of the recipients, who "have a great need."
He encouraged those who wish to volunteer to register before the 13th.
Some of the volunteers will bring their children because they want to expose them to this kind of activity, he said.
As well as being a mitzvah, he added, "it will be a fun outing for them."
According to Kuperman, CareLink spent between $700 and $800 just on the kosher chickens.
He pointed out that although not all the recipients are observant, CareLink takes pains to be.
"We have to be as religious as the most observant person so we do not insult anybody," he explained.
The cost of the rest of the items that will go into the packages was between $600 and $700.
The cost was met by CareLink and Hudson County residents, said Kuperman.
"We cannot rely on local business [to contribute the food]," he said. "What’s more important is that people have to stand for each other as a community. If we do not do it, nobody is going to do it for us."
Kuperman praised Marcia Ripps, CareLink’s chair, "because through her efforts we are able to spearhead this," he said.
The Jewish Community Center of Bayonne is at 1050 Kennedy Boulevard. For more information or to volunteer, call Kuperman at (973) 467-3300, ext. ’75.
Tomchei Shabbos of Bergen County, which distributes meals to the needy every week, will deliver about 1’0 Passover packages that will include matzoh, vegetables, gefilte fish, oil, apple and grape juice, a Haggadah, and "miscellaneous" items, said Claire Strauss, one of the organization’s founders.
According to the organization’s mission statement, the recipients include single mothers, Russian immigrants, the elderly, the unemployed, and the sick or the disabled. Some require assistance for a short time, others for an extended period.
The organization relies on hundreds of volunteers to pack the food and deliver it, said Strauss.
Asked about the budget for the Passover packages this year, Strauss said it was a "biggie."
Schools like Moriah in Englewood and Yeshivat Noam in Teaneck, and Cong. Ahavat Achim in Fair Lawn, are donating several items for the holiday, she added.
Tomchei Shabbos covers between 15 to ‘0 towns, among them Teaneck, Fort Lee, Fair Lawn, Maywood, Closter, Elmwood Park, and East Rutherford.
Founded in 1990 by three Bergen County women, Tomchei Shabbos is headquartered at Cong. Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck.
For information on how to volunteer or otherwise contribute, call (’01) 836-8916.
In Teaneck, three restaurants, Chopstix, Dougies, and Chickies, are helping residents dispose of non-Passover food.
The food, consisting mostly of canned goods, is being donated to the Center for Food Action in Englewood, said Elie Katz, Chopstix owner and Teaneck’s mayor.
Some 19,000 needy families in Bergen County benefit from the services of the Center, according to Katz.
Chosptix started the drive 10 years ago and has partnered with the other restaurants to "engage our customers and friends to donate and give back to the community," he said.
This year there is a competition to see which restaurant collects the most food, but "we don’t know who will win until two days before Passover," said Katz.
Donations can be left at the stores, all located on West Englewood Avenue between Queen Anne Road and Palisades Avenue.