Free school meals: Jewish community steps in to support families in need
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Wednesday 4th November 2020

Bushey United Synagogue and the United Synagogue’s Chesed department helped many dozens of families in need of food over half term. With school closed, and some children on Free School Meals likely to go without a hot meal or enough food, the Jewish community stepped in to offer support.

Last week Bushey United Synagogue offered freshly cooked kosher meals in partnership with local outfit Kelman’s Deli for any child who receives free school meals. Since announcing on social media that the community was making meals available, the community was contacted by both Jewish and non-Jewish families to supply meals.

The United Synagogue’s Chesed department also prepared food for families entitled to free school meals at Barnet United Synagogue. The Barnet Cooking Group made child-friendly meals which were sent out with packs containing essential food items, an initiative the United Synagogue has been providing for its vulnerable members since lockdown in March.

Rabbi Feldman, Senior Rabbi at Bushey United Synagogue, said: “We have had people from across Hertfordshire and beyond contact us for the support. The number of people who have come forward from within and outside our community to support and fund this project is just amazing. There is a real feeling that no children should go without. I’d like to thank Kelman’s for their partnership and generous sponsorship. We will be looking to broaden this scheme for the Winter break if the Government doesn’t extend the Free School Meal scheme. We will try to make sure no-one goes hungry. I am so proud of our community and how much we care for those in need.”

David Collins, the United Synagogue’s Chief Programmes Officer, said: “Since lockdown in March our Chesed team and dedicated community volunteers have worked tirelessly to prepare boxes filled with essential items for those in need. We wanted to extend this support during half term and were in touch with United Synagogue community care coordinators and United Synagogue schools to ensure that families who needed extra help over half term received one of our packages."