by Shiela Steinman Wallace, Editor
For those who choose to keep kosher or who prefer kosher products, living in Kentucky can be a challenge. The only kosher butcher works at Kroger in McMahan Plaza. The store offers a reasonable selection of meat and kosher products, but its offerings are at premium pricing.
That makes it difficult for people with limited resources who want to keep kosher. Also, the supply of basic items area stores stock is limited, and those who keep kosher can’t always find what they need when they need it.
Judy Wallace, a member of the local Orthodox community, recognized those issues and decided to do something about it.
In February 2013, she founded Yad Moshe of Kentucky, a food-share program that serves as a combination food pantry and kosher food-purchasing consortium. The program has been so successful that Wallace is expanding it into a small store with limited inventory and hours.
Originally, Wallace said, “people in the neighborhood would provide for their own families and we didn’t share. I did this to start a conversation, to begin working together to procure kosher food, and to engender more ‘groupness’ among people who use kosher food.”
At first, Wallace offered freezer space to her neighbors. Later, the group started buying food together and sharing it. As interest grew, they began purchasing basic items in bulk and by Shavuot were dividing it into shares and offering the service twice a month. The food shares, valued at about $100 each, include kosher chicken, beef roast, cholent cubes, bulk mozzarella and cheddar cheese, hard-to-find pareve chocolate chips, and more. They often include Jewish lifestyle items, like Shabbat tablecloths.
Yad Moshe is also a food pantry, Wallace explained. Anyone who needs kosher food can get what they need. She asks for a minimum donation of $18. Some people pay the full value for the food and some pay more, but if someone can’t afford it, even the $18 minimum, he or she will not be turned away.
Unlike farm coops, people who use Yad Moshe can take the products they want and need – from just one item to a full share, Wallace said.
On August 1, Yad Moshe will enter a new phase. The Yad Moshe Service Team is opening the Food Share Store at 1626 Almara Cr. It will be open Thursdays, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Fridays, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
“The free will donation method has worked very well in the past,” Wallace said, “therefore we will continue to make the items at the Food Share Store available to households who desire to shop there for no cost. Whatever dollar amount the household members feel is appropriate for them at that time, if they choose to give, is their choice.”
The store is also planning “to become a zone for a free coffee (fairly traded, of course!) and healthy baked goods, an internet hotspot and perhaps have a pickle barrel,” Wallace added.
To keep the project going, Yad Moshe offers an ongoing “Deli Tray Fundraiser.” “Other fundraisers are on the horizon,” she said, “which will make more products available at the Food Share Store, such as fairly traded coffee from Equal Exchange, fairly traded handicrafts from Trades of Hope, and editions of Joanne Caras’ Holocaust Survivor Cookbook.”
Yad Moshe gets its food from Restaurant Depot, Kinneret Café in Cincinnati, and Hungarian Kosher and Romanian Butcher in Chicago.
For more information, contact Wallace at 233-8235.