Mazel meal project feeds body and soul

The kitchen was abuzz as volunteers of all ages got to work on Jan. 29, washing, chopping and stirring fresh ingredients to prepare a classic Shabbat-style chicken dinner from scratch. 

The chicken, green beans, potatoes, carrots and apple crisps would be packaged along with donations from synagogues and agencies across the Lehigh Valley to feed 30 Jewish older adults that afternoon.

“It’s about reaching out and engaging people and building community,” said Beth Kushnick, chair of the mazel meals project on Super Sunday. “The best part is coming together to make someone’s day.”

Jewish Family Service was proud to offer this mitzvah opportunity for a second year in coordination with the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.

“This is a true community partnership,” said Carol Wilson, clinical coordinator of older adult services for JFS, who planned the menu and coordinated the cooking and delivery. “From the soup prepared by the Jewish Day School to challah donated by Congregation Keneseth Israel, it’s wonderful to see the whole community coming together.”

The food packages also featured spinach noodle kugel from the Temple Beth El Sisterhood, vegetable soufflé from Chabad, pastries from Congregation Sons of Israel and hand-drawn cards from JCC students. 

Another bag accompanied the packages, filled with toiletries donated by BBYO.

With the cooking and packaging complete, volunteers set out to Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton to deliver the meals.

All of the recipients were delighted to receive not only the delicious homemade meal, but also a visit from friendly faces. One Easton resident made a special point to call JFS later that week and say how thrilled she was to receive the meal.

The day was such a success that more  mazel meal projects are planned for the future. In the spirit of Purim, volunteers from the Jewish Federation’s Young Adult Division will prepare a dairy meal and hamentaschen for older adults on March 18. JFS looks forward to partnering with more community organizations and bringing in more volunteers for this ongoing project.