I’m Kayla, the new JOIN intern (Jeanette & Oscar Cook Jewish Occupational Intern Program) at Yad Ezra. This past week, I worked in the warehouse with clients for 4 days, as well as worked to create advocacy projects, sat in on different meetings, updated and edited documents, and began preparing for the 2015 Yom Kippur food drive. The part that stood out to me the most this week was working with the clients during client hours in the warehouse.
In 2014, Yad Ezra distributed over a million pounds of food to more than 1,300 families, totaling 3,000 individuals. However, these numbers are evenmore impressive once you see them in action. Once a month, families come to Yad Ezra with their shopping list. The list allows them to choose what items they want from the warehouse; each type of food is assigned a numerical point value and recipients receive points based on their family size. Not only do clients get to choose what foods they want, but they also can pick specific types; for example, there are currently six different types of cold cereal for clients to choose from. These choices help ensure that families receive the food they enjoy and not waste food.
In order to learn how to take clients through the warehouse, I shadowed two volunteers before helping people by myself. As we helped the clients, I was amazed at how much food was available. Furthermore, there are a lot of zero-point “bonus” items available. People are generally excited to see all the extra food they can choose from, as well as the ability to create a variety in their diets. Everyone who came received at least one full shopping cart of groceries, as well as household supplies. Looking around, it is clear to see that the items being given out really make a difference in someone’s life, ensuring that they have delicious food to eat.