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JFCS Matza & More sees local needs increase

Volunteers unload groceries for Jewish Family & Children’s Services’s 2018 Matza & More campaign. (Jewish Family & Children's Services)

For more than 40 years, Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona’s Matza & More project has packed and delivered Passover bags to Tucson area families who otherwise could not afford food and items for a Seder. Volunteers and staff fill the bags with fresh vegetables, gefilte fish, horseradish, walnuts, grape juice, matzah ball soup mix, food gift cards, holiday candles, and, of course, matza. Each year donations from synagogues, organizations, and individuals help make the project possible.

“Matza & More would not be possible without the many volunteers who give their time, and without donations,” says Susan Kasle, vice president of community services for JFCS. “Due to increasing need, we need more of both each year.”

Matza & More is part of the Jewish Emergency Financial Services program at JFCS. Because kosher food is more expensive and anything extra is unaffordable, food for a Seder is out of reach for many JEFA families.

“There remains a great need for affordable food in the broader Jewish community where low-income households struggle to make ends meet, particularly during holiday periods,” says Kasle. “Matza & More provides these households with essential ingredients for a traditional Seder meal with family or friends. Moreover, the program reminds those in need that they are not alone on Passover.”

Throughout the year, JEFA offers help to Jewish families and individuals facing eviction, utility shut-off, food shortage, and safety-related home repair needs. JEFA also oversees Mitzvah Magic, a program that provides Jewish families in need with baskets filled with basic necessities and holiday gifts. JEFA is funded by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and by individual donors.

Passover bags will be packed on Thursday and Friday, April 11-12, and delivered to families on Sunday, April 14. Drivers must be 18 or older; families with children are welcome to participate. The program also seeks members for its planning committee.

To volunteer, contact Kasle at 795-0300, ext. 2201. To make a donation, visit www.jfcstucson.org/donate/matza-more.