Masbia opened their first kosher soup kitchen in 2005 in Boro Park, a project envisioned by Mordechai Mandelbaum and Alexander Rapaport. The first and only kosher soup kitchen in Brooklyn recently announced that they served 30% more meals in the past fiscal year, ended June 30, with the number of meals served soaring to 2.2 million.
The record meals served for the non-profit were reached despite the Boro Park location waiting to be reopened.
Financial difficulties have caused Masbia to be forced to turn away patrons that used to go to the Boro Park location to eat, oftentimes, their only meal of the day.
Rapaport’s reopening of the Boro Park location seemed imminent in July. The location, one of three, offers free meals to the needy in a restaurant-like atmosphere. Patrons are fed hot meals from 3pm – 7:30pm Sunday – Thursday, and the organization also runs a free food pantry.
The original Boro Park location closed in the Spring of 2015 as the non-profit’s lease was not able to be renewed.
Masbia has been paying $5,000 a month to rent a new location near a major thoroughfare.
The location has been a victim of the food kitchen’s success. An increased number of meals served has caused the kitchen’s resources to fall. The New York City Council, which provides 10% of Masbia’s budget, has been held up.
The backlogged funds of over $200,000 from the city will be distributed to the kitchen, but the question is “when?” Masbia needs an additional $20,000 to be able to reopen in Boro Park. The much-needed funds will go towards an air conditioning system, a dishwasher and countertops to allow the kitchen to operate properly.
The organization was able to operate on just $2 million in donations in 2014.
— Masbia Soup Kitchens (@masbiask) September 11, 2016
YOU can volunteer too, go to the website of the Masbia soup kitchen network and food pantry.
Donations from city farmers’ markets are provided to help cover some of the kitchen’s costs. Meals are cooked based on the food that was donated the night before.
Masbia relies heavily on private donations to keep their lights on and feed those in need. Anyone is allowed to eat at Masbia, and patrons often volunteer to help cook and serve the food.
Rapaport’s vision of “a restaurant with no cash register” is in jeopardy.