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Orthodox Union initiates pivotal partnership to enhance access to kosher chicken in New York

Collaborative effort with Gemiluth Chessed of Greater New York, City Harvest, and Empire Chicken ensures vital nutrition for the community.

Chicken. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Chicken. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The Orthodox Union, in collaboration with Gemiluth Chessed, City Harvest and Empire Chicken, has launched an important initiative to provide kosher chicken to New Yorkers facing difficulties in affording kosher dietary options. This initiative is set to distribute 12,000 pounds of Empire chicken at a subsidized cost, thanks to the generous contributions from Gemiluth Chessed and the logistical support of City Harvest, New York’s first and largest food rescue organization. The program will reach numerous kosher-food pantries across the city’s five boroughs, significantly broadening the food choices for those observing kosher dietary laws.

The cost of kosher meat often limits dietary options for the Jewish community to less varied alternatives. This partnership aims to address this gap, offering a more diverse range of food to those who maintain a kosher diet.

“Through our collective efforts with Gemiluth Chessed, City Harvest, and Empire Chicken, we’re forging a path to support a community in need,” stated Rabbi Simon Taylor, national director at OU’s Community Projects and Partnerships. “This initiative is a testament to what can be achieved with shared goals and concerted effort.”

In addition to providing food, Gemiluth Chessed is investing in research to identify the areas of greatest need, ensuring targeted assistance. “Tackling food insecurity, especially among older adults and those with specific dietary observances, is crucial,” noted Peter Kahn, president of Gemiluth Chessed. “We’re proud to be part of a coalition that’s not just supplying food but also understanding and addressing the root of the need.”

Empire Chicken has committed to providing chicken at significantly reduced costs, with City Harvest orchestrating the distribution. Max Hoffman, associate director of supply chain, procurement and logistics at City Harvest, added: “We are so grateful to Orthodox Union, Gemiluth Chessed, and Empire Chicken for their partnership. Right now, the need for food in New York City is nearly as high as it was at any point during the pandemic. Together, we are committed to ensuring our kosher-observant neighbors have access to the nutritious foods they need to thrive.”

“This initiative is hopefully the beginning of a significant change,” Kahn remarked. “With the support of the Orthodox Union, City Harvest, and Empire Chicken, we aim to create a sustainable impact on food security in our community.”

###

CONTACT:

Paul Kaplan

Associate Director, Institutional Advancement at the Orthodox Union

kaplanp@ou.org

Cheryl Noll

Director of Operations, Gemiluth Chessed of Greater New York

cnoll@gemiluthchessed.org

About the Orthodox Union

Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union (OU), or Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.

About City Harvest

City Harvest is New York’s first and largest food rescue organization, collecting perfectly good food that would otherwise go to waste to help feed the millions of New Yorkers who struggle to put meals on their tables. In over 40 years serving New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity, we have rescued more than one billion pounds of fresh, nutritious food and delivered it—free of charge—to hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens, community partners, and our own Mobile Markets® across the five boroughs. This year, we will rescue and distribute more than 77 million pounds of nutritious food to our neighbors in need. By redirecting that food to families, we will also prevent the equivalent of more than 20 million kilograms of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Named one of America’s Top 100 Charities by Forbes, City Harvest also works alongside our community partners to build their capacity, expand nutrition education, and advocate for systems change through effective public policy. Since our founding in 1982, City Harvest has always been there to feed our city—one day, one meal, one New Yorker at a time. To learn more, please visit cityharvest.org.

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Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union (OU), or Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.
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