The Evolution of JF&CS’ Kosher Food Pantry

May 02, 2024

The Evolution of JF&CS’ Kosher Food Pantry

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, JF&CS’s Kosher Food Pantry (KFP) was exactly that: a pantry. Housed in a room not much bigger than a closet in our Dunwoody headquarters, the KFP stocked food to help Holocaust Survivors and existing clients who needed a helping hand as they worked toward self-sufficiency. In 2015 the pantry distributed ~330 pounds of food a week to an estimated 1,180 people per year.

When the pandemic happened, community needs rose to unprecedented levels, and we moved quickly. We shifted resources to provide fresh produce, meats, breads and dry goods to the community at large. During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we provided nine times as much food, ~3,000 pounds weekly, and served eight times as many people, 9,700/year. The KFP moved to a much larger room, then in early 2021 to modular POD storage units that housed the food in the parking lot of the JF&CS offices until recently.

Even as the pandemic waned, other economic factors drove the need for food to even greater heights. At the height of the demand, the KFP was distributing between 5,000 and 7,000 pounds of food per week, or more than 300,000 pounds per year!

Of course, we didn’t work alone during this time. Approximately 45 novel volunteers a month were dedicated to the cause and helped sort and distribute food. We are extremely grateful for all the volunteers who helped us get through these difficult years. Without them, we could not have continued meeting the need.

Additionally, we were supported by partner organizations including Atlanta Community Food Bank, Second Helpings Atlanta, CAC Community Assistance Center, Solidarity of Sandy Springs, Bagel Rescue, Goodr, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, the Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta, Hunger Walk/Run, and Atlanta Hunger Relief Fund.

We are proud that we were able to grow so quickly to address the needs of the community during COVID-19 and after. Unfortunately, we can no longer sustain the current level of service, and have made the difficult decision to return the food pantry to its pre-COVID state. As of March 27th, 2024, food distribution is returning to its initial focus on those who are clients of JF&CS, require kosher food for religious reasons, or are currently receiving food delivery.

We are overwhelmed by the gratitude we’ve received from those who received help since 2020. We are glad to be able to direct those in need to a number of wonderful resources for continued support:

  • Community Assistance Center: 8607 Roswell Rd, Sandy Springs, GA 30350, 770-552-4889
  • Malachi's Storehouse: 4755 N Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30338, 770-455-6523
  • Atlanta Community Food Bank: 3400 N Desert Dr, East Point, GA 30344, 404-892-9822
  • Atlanta Temple Corps: 2090 North Druid Hills Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30329, 404-486-2900
  • Friends of St. Martin DePorres Food Pantry, 3773 Chamblee Tucker Rd, Atlanta, GA 30341
  • The Grocery Spot: 777 Charlotte Place NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, 404-585-1450
  • I Care Atlanta, Inc: 5879 New Peachtree Rd, Doraville, GA 30340, 678-615-3341
  • The Pelagi Foundation: 2310 Parklake Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30345, 470-356-6285
  • Solidarity Sandy Springs: Currently utilizing pop-up locations, 470-387-0551

The Kosher Food Pantry is proud to continue helping Holocaust survivors and clients working toward self-sufficiency, and we are still in need of support: purchase pantry staples through our Amazon Wishlist, click here to make a monetary donation, or reach out here to volunteer.