Press Release - Masbia and Met Council Open New Kosher Soup Kitchen in Queens

March 17, 2010 (New York, NY) – Yesterday, local elected officials, philanthropist Henry Orenstein and community leaders joined Masbia and Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) in opening the first kosher soup kitchen in Queens, the fourth in New York City.
 
The Orenstein-Met Council Masbia Community Kitchen, located in Rego Park, will meet the needs of all hungry individuals and will serve 100% Glatt Kosher food, helping especially those who keep kosher and aren’t served by other soup kitchens. 
 
Present at the opening were Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, who welcomed the Community Kitchen to Queens, as well as many local Rabbis and agency directors, including Cynthia Zalisky of the Queens Jewish Community Council, a local social services agency and Met Council affiliate that is working to publicize the Community Kitchen to local families.  Also present were representatives for Assemblyman David Weprin and Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn, and board members of the Queens site: Irving Laub, Helen Schmutter and Claire Feigenbaum, along with their families.     
 
Henry Orenstein, the donor for which the kitchen is named, said in his remarks, "There are two types of people who go to soup kitchens - one type is too hungry and too down to care about where they are, and the second type still has dignity and embarrassment. That's the difference about this soup kitchen - it allows people to retain their dignity." 
 
Besides its kosher status, the kitchen is unique for its fine décor and dignified atmosphere – more similar to a restaurant than a soup kitchen, and critical to help maintain the privacy and dignity of guests. The site, which can seat 40 people at once, will be open Sunday-Thursday from 4pm to 9pm, and will provide a freshly cooked meal served by volunteer waiters to all who are hungry.  Mr. Rapaport, executive director of Masbia, says that they can serve up to ten shifts a night, and that waiting guests can stand in a specially outfitted foyer, intended to protect people from having to stand in an embarrassing bread line on the street.
 
“During these difficult economic times, we are especially grateful to those who came forward to make this happen,” remarked Alexander Rapaport, executive director of Masbia. “Opening this kitchen in Queens is building on our track record of making a real difference in people’s lives.”
 
“This is an amazing opportunity to help us serve needy New Yorkers in Queens,” said William Rapfogel, CEO and executive director of Met Council. “With the generous leadership of Henry Orenstein and community collaboration, we will help hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hungry Queens’ individuals to get a warm, nourishing meal.”
 
The renovation of the site was provided by a local family who wishes to remain anonymous, and operational costs of the soup kitchen will be covered by Henry Orenstein, longtime supporter and friend of Met Council. 
 
The Queens Community Kitchen is the fourth kitchen in the Masbia network and the third collaborative effort with Met Council.  Existing Community Kitchens are in Boro Park, Flatbush and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  The location of the Queens site in Rego Park was chosen based on Met Council's demographic data on where the neediest communities live.

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