Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

More money needed for kosher and halal food, says Jewish anti-poverty agency

Met Council

Image by Jacob Kornbluh

The nation’s largest Jewish anti-poverty charity is warning that more government funding is needed to provide meals to struggling New Yorkers who keep kosher or eat only halal foods.

“The sad reality is that kosher and halal emergency food is underfunded in New York,” said David Greenfield, CEO of the Met Council. “Simply put that means that many Jewish and Muslim New Yorkers have to choose between their faith and putting desperately needed food on their tables.”

A new report issued Tuesday by the organization found a significant increase in demand for kosher and halal meals from the city’s food distribution program launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data compiled by the Met Council, as many as 27 million meals — comprising 21% of the 128.7 million meals distributed by the GetFoodNYC program since March 2020 — were either kosher or halal.

But the Council cautioned that demand could be higher than estimated, given that many Jewish and Muslim families opt out of the program because it hasn’t met halal or kosher certification specifications, or delivery dates were not compatible with the Sabbath and other holidays. A 2011 survey showed that an overwhelming majority of Orthodox households in Brooklyn had incomes under $50,000.

The Met Council also noted that the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) has a very limited number of providers with the expertise to provide food based on religious dietary requirements.

The report recommends that local and federal lawmakers amend food-related laws to make it easier to pay for food that meets the needs of religiously observant people, and to earmark funds to match the actual demand for emergency kosher and halal food across the state.

“We know demand is only going up for kosher and halal and now is the time to prepare,” Greenfield said.

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.