“One of the main focal points of the traditional Passover seder is the maggid, the telling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt,” according to the website reformjudaism.or/jewish-holidays/passover/four-questions. “This story begins with the youngest person at the seder asking the Four Questions (Mah Nishtanah). These questions provide the impetus for telling why this night is different from all other nights.”
In 2021, a very different four questions:
The Question: Why is this Spring different from all other Springs?
The Answer: This Spring is different because at the time of this writing we are marking One Year since COVID-19 changed our lives.
There was and continues to be so much loss.
Loss of life, loss of health (mental and/or physical), loss of work.
Teachers, students and parents are forced to figure out different ways of teaching and learning, and lost time with those we love.
As a result of this perfect storm of events, there are more food insecure families than ever, here, and in towns all over the country.
The Question: What does Food Insecurity look like?
The Answer: There is no “look” to Food Insecurity.
Many years ago, after one of Monroe Temple’s many ongoing Food Drives, someone working for my haircutter came over to thank me/us for doing this.
She shared that she herself, is a single mom, divorced with 2 children, and an ex that did not always provide.
She went on to explain that even though she works, on her salary there are weeks where she just can’t make ends meet.
Those weeks she goes to the Local Food Pantry to fill the gaps.
The Question: Tell me again what this has to do with anything?
The Answer: One year later, early blossoms let us know sunnier days are on the way, but we all know it could still snow.
Spring is a time of hope and renewal. It is a time when many of us like to treat ourselves to an uplifting indulgence as we look forward to the beauty of the season.
The Question: What is the point of all of this?
The Answer: There are ways we can help our local restaurant owners and the food insecure.
Many of you already donate food and much needed funds to our Local Food Pantries. They are so grateful for the much needed support. Your ongoing donations put food on the table of so many yet it is still hard to keep up with the demand.
One More Question: What can I do?
Buy gift certificates from our local restaurants and donate them to the local food pantries. I have been assured by those who run the food pantries a gesture such as a hot meal from a restaurant will provide a touch of the hope that comes with Spring, that things will get better.
The only preference is that establishment offer hot breakfast and lunch as this is where the need is greatest.
Donations from any Monroe-Woodbury restaurant is greatly appreciated.
How to help: The gift of a meal
Step 1: Buy a gift certificate from any restaurant in the Monroe-Woodbury area, this is a must for our local Monroe-Woodbury Food banks to be permitted to distribute the gift of a meal.
Step 2: Bring gift certificate to the local food pantries located at the Grace Presbyterian Church, Monroe United Methodist Church or Our Father’s Kitchen.
If you are unable to get there in person, an alternative drop off for gift certificates is the Monroe Temple of Liberal Judaism and Plaza Optical of Monroe.
Step 3: Look in the mirror and smile. You just helped a restaurant owner stay in business and brightened the day of someone in need with a random act of kindness.
Step 4: If you do live outside Monroe and Woodbury, please share idea in your hometown.
Betsy Utnick is the Social Action chair for the Monroe Temple.