As the High Holidays approach, Masbia Soup Kitchen Network is bracing for an increase in demand. The general clientele for emergency food is the old, frail, sick, mentally ill, poor, and homeless. But, you also have the working poor - those who are in and out of need. Typically, people who are in the gig economy are more prone to finding themselves in need of emergency food than people with salary-based jobs. For example, when one is ill and unable to work, or one has a gap in demand for their work. Due to the holiday observance, this season has the potential to push many of them into such a situation, causing a huge strain on their income.
Handymen, electricians, plumbers, graphic artists, photographers, IT techs, cab drivers, and housekeepers, are all part of the gig economy, which means they only get paid for the hours they actually perform. If you are a religious Jew holding one of these types of jobs, you have very limited workdays to operate in the four weeks of the upcoming High Holiday season. This phenomenon happens when the High Holidays happen in the middle of the week, which leaves very few business days to work for an observant Jew.
This also wreaks havoc on those who are in the online ordering/Amazon business, when the whole business depends on their ability for quick fulfillment and delivery. There are many small and large businesses of such nature in the religious Jewish communities. According to some estimates, about 20% of the workforce is employed by an Amazon-related business.
For families with children in school, having so many days off means extra meals at home for the children, since they will not be eating school meals provided by the government.
As the holiday season progresses, the strain on these families will increase, making things rather tight for them and resulting in needing charity food.
In addition to the greater need, which will require more resources, having the Masbia facilities only able to receive deliveries a few days a week is going to be a daunting task for our staff and volunteers. Likewise, the clients will have fewer days available for emergency food pick-up. Therefore Masbia will be open more hours on the days they can be open to accommodate some of that. This includes opening on Sundays and having the recently inaugurated Masbia Food Reserve as extra space will help with the logistics.
This year’s fundraising goal for the High Holiday needs is $1,447,200. Masbia relies heavily on the generosity of donors to keep the shelves fully stocked with food. Masbia has put out sponsorship opportunities in an attempt to get support from philanthropic individuals in order to reach the goal. For more information, visit masbia.org/hh22.
By Laura Allen