Pandemic has changed Passover food drive


There are hundreds of people in the Milwaukee Area Jewish Community who rely on the goodwill of others. A decadeslong tradition, the Ma’ot Chittim Community-Wide Passover Food Drive has been providing those in need with a Kosher for Passover seder meal. 

This year with the effects of the pandemic hurting families, the need for help is even greater. 

“The overall goal of the food drive is to get food for a Passover Seder to those in need, a showing of community collaboration for this important holiday,” said Sami Stein Avner, executive director of Tikkun HaIr of Milwaukee and food drive organizer. “Bags include kosher chicken, grape juice, gefilte fish, matzah ball soup mix, matzah, horseradish and Shabbat candles.” 

In the past, the drive was an in-person event where anyone who needed food could come and receive it. However, because of the pandemic, organizers have had to adapt how the food drive is run and how food gets to family seders. 

“Because of COVID-19, we have moved toward a delivery and curbside pick-up system,” Stein Avner said. “This way we can safely get food in the hands of those who need it while being safe and adhering to safety precautions. We have online sign-up forms that allow us to coordinate drop-offs and curbside pick-ups to avoid any crowding.” 

The Rabbi Scheinfeld Maos Chitim Fund and the Salinsky Program to Feed the Hungry are assisted by Jewish Family Services, Ovation Communities, Tikkun HaIr of Milwaukee, the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, Jewish Community Pantry, Wisconsin Council of Rabbis, Coalition for Jewish Learning & Jewish Community Relations Council and Hillel Milwaukee in the effort. The Ma’ot Chittim Community-Wide Passover Food Drive provides about 400 families annually with a Kosher for Passover seder meal.  

“This is a truly collaborative process,” Stein Avner said. “Many local synagogues and Jewish organizations have always been supportive and promote the community food drive. This year, we know the collection of food looks different. However, we still need everyone’s support just as much as ever. 

“Volunteers and drivers are needed to help deliver a Passover seder meal to those in need.” 

The Ma’ot Chittim Community-Wide Passover Food Drive will take place on Sunday, March 21 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Visit to volunteer, schedule a delivery or curbside pick-up. 

The Ma’ot Chittim Community-Wide Passover Food Drive is partially funded by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s The Fund for Jewish Milwaukee: