Project H.O.P.E. Tackles Hunger at Passover

"There are quite a few people in the Jewish community that live at, or below, the poverty level," explained Samuel Domsky, who didn't think that was a good reason for them to go without a Passover meal. So he decided to do something about it.

"It's our most important holiday that we observe," he affirmed.

That was the situation nearly a decade ago, when the Dresher resident teamed up with Allan Stock of Elkins Park to found Helping Our People Everywhere, or Project H.O.P.E., to make sure that every Jewish family has food for Passover. Unfortunately, the mission has continued, said Domsky, as "a lot of people can't afford to feed themselves."

The group has long moved past its humble beginnings in Domsky's garage. During Passover this year, volunteers worked to feed nearly 250 families living in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. Needy, elderly and isolated Jews got two or three bags of food for the holiday, depending on their individual circumstances and requirements.

Many of the deliveries went to the Northeast, where there's a large contingent of elderly Jews; the oldest recipient of food this year was 103. With the help of organizations like the Jewish Family and Children's Service and the Jewish Community Centers' Klein Branch, Project H.O.P.E. has been able to identify people in need during the holiday.

More than 150 volunteers spent April 1 filling grocery bags at a warehouse location — donated by HR Productions — and dropping off holiday staples throughout the area.

Domsky and Stock spend three months before gathering donations to buy the food. From the start of the year until the holiday, they raised nearly $10,000 from personal, corporate and organizational donations.

Domsky is a member of Temple Sinai in Dresher, as well as B'nai B'rith, which formed the core group of volunteers at the program's beginning. Each year, Domsky noted, to Philadelphia's credit, the volunteer base has grown. 



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