Cherry Hill Gourmet Market and the Russian-American Be Proud Foundation gave away 100 bags of kosher food for Rosh Hashanah on Aug. 28 — including one package to Jeffrey Babbitt, who died just days later as a result of a racially motivated assault in Union Square.
Be Proud Foundation leaders said that Babbitt came to pick up food to celebrate the Jewish New Year with his ailing 94-year-old mother.
“It’s very sad, very, very sad,” said Be Proud Foundation director Raisa Chernina.
Chernina said they decided to open up the giveaway — which launched in 2012 — this year to American-born Jews like Babbitt, as well as to the Russian-speaking community her group and Cherry Hill usually serve.
“Hunger doesn’t have any language,” said Chernina.
According to Chernina, most of the people who picked up parcels of traditional challah bread, juice, honey, and fish were elderly or ill. They also included more than a dozen Holocaust survivors and veterans of World War II.
“There are many people who are poor. There are people who need something warm in their heart, someone to help them, to hold them,” Chernina said.