Volunteers Work Hard to Keep the Kosher Food Pantry Stocked Among Rising Needs

August 27, 2020

Volunteers Work Hard to Keep the Kosher Food Pantry Stocked Among Rising Needs

Keeping the Kosher Food Pantry Stocked

“It continues to be difficult to find sources to purchase food in usable sizes, in great quantity” says Jean Millkey, Office and Transportation Manager at JF&CS Atlanta. According to Ms. Millkey, “There are no easy ways to stock the Food Pantry,” and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 has not made it any easier.

Before the pandemic, the JF&CS Atlanta Kosher Food Pantry received many donations, and volunteers were able to shop for about $50 worth of food while they were already at the grocery store. Since March, however, food support has decreased and, for safety reasons, it no longer makes sense to accept smaller amounts of food from a large number of volunteers. The Kosher Food Pantry has therefore changed to meet the need by forming a small group of about ten trained volunteers who efficiently shop three times a week at many different locations for large amounts of food in order to keep the Food Pantry adequately stocked. The Kosher Food Pantry, funded by grants and individual donors, now provides volunteers with a budget of $800-$1,000 for each shopping trip.

These incredible volunteers have braved long days of shopping, creatively bypassed grocery store limitations on the amount of food purchased at one time, and played Tetris when packing their cars full of boxes of food. According to volunteer Tara Kornblum, she and her husband, Josh Kornblum, shopped for 8 hours in one day to purchase all the food they needed for the Food Pantry. Luckily, that was only at the beginning of the pandemic. Since then, volunteers have transformed what once was a commitment of three or more hours into a one-hour commitment thanks to bulk online ordering at stores such as Kroger, Target, and Sam’s Club.

One JF&CS Kosher Food Pantry volunteer shared that she places five separate online orders at one store for pick up at the same time in order to circumvent item limits. While volunteers are finding creative ways to get all the food they need for the Pantry, Jean Millkey has been behind the scenes keeping detailed accounts of which food items are needed each day. “The creativity of the volunteers in partnership with Jean Millkey’s direction and organization has made this so much easier and so much more successful,” says Tara Kornblum. Due to the diligence of those who work at the Kosher Food Pantry, over 77,000 pounds of food were distributed to over 1,446 households between March 2020 and July 2020. As the need increasingly grows, The Kosher Food Pantry will continue to prioritize supporting the local community.

An enormous thank you to Ms. Millkey and all of the volunteer shoppers* for the time they have dedicated to keeping JF&CS Atlanta’s Kosher Food Pantry stocked and ready to help others.

*Thank you to Rachel Berenthal, Denise and Jolie Deitchman, Leslie Frohman, Sharon Hochdorf, Josh and Tara Kornblum, Amy Nichols, Helene Popowski, and Katie Simmons for volunteering at the JF&CS Atlanta Kosher Food Pantry.