Met Council on Jewish Poverty to distribute $1M worth of halal food during Ramadan

Met Council Food Ramadan
Met Council

The Met Council on Jewish Poverty, America’s largest Jewish charity dedicated to fighting poverty, announced Tuesday that it will distribute $1 million worth of halal food to pantries across the city during Ramadan this year.

The charity is expecting to provide extra sustenance to approximately 8,500 families throughout the holy month for Muslims, with deliveries to food pantries starting this week ahead of the beginning of Ramadan on March 10.

Rice, lentils, and walnuts, as well as special holiday items, including halal chicken and dates, will be among the food items being delivered to some 25 food pantries in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island and Queens.

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims do not consume any food or drink between sunrise and sunset, so they hold large, joyous feasts known as iftar dinners at sundown to break the fast each day. The Met Council said its preparations for Ramadan have been ongoing for months, with the charity’s full time halal food coordinator overseeing the purchase of appropriate goods for consumption when fast is broken.

More than half of New York City are now living at or near the poverty line, growing from 1.5 million to 2 million between 2021 and 2022, according to a report released last month by Robin Hood, a nonprofit that fights poverty, and Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy.

Met Council CEO David Greenfield told Brooklyn Paper that worrying trend is reflected in the “tremendous” demand that the charity has seen for its many services, which he says is all the more reason to help out the city’s food pantries during this important time of year for New York’s muslim population. 

“I think the most important message is that we’re neighbors and we’re New Yorkers, and we’re brothers and sisters; that comes first,” Greenfield said when asked about the current political climate that has seen hate crimes against Jews and Muslims rise since the Israel-Hamas war began in October. “Regardless of the politics, we may have occasional disagreements but at the end of the day, we are bound to each other as New Yorkers, as neighbors and as people. That to us is certainly more important than anything else.”

“Muslim New Yorkers should know that their Jewish neighbors are looking out for them,” he added.

Participating pantries in Brooklyn throughout the month include: Al-Madinah School; Arab-American Family Support Center; Bay Ridge Community Development Center; MUNA; Brooklyn Islamic Center; Muslim American Society Youth Center; PASWO; APNA Brighton Beach; ICNA; MUNA; Baitul Mamur; APNA Bensonhurst; Masjid At Taqwa; Muslims Giving Back.