Unique food pantry offers kosher food for those in need - KCTV5

Unique food pantry offers kosher food for those in need

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Sherry Gispan says new food pantry offering Kosher food is "beyond belief". She has never needed help until now.   Rob Rhodes/KCTV Sherry Gispan says new food pantry offering Kosher food is "beyond belief". She has never needed help until now. Rob Rhodes/KCTV
OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

Thousands of people in the metro are struggling to find enough food for their families, but now a new food pantry is offering them help they can't find anywhere else.

Families are finding that, when there isn't enough money to go around, groceries are sometimes left out. A pantry that also stocks Kosher foods is a rarity.

Sherry Gispan, a grandmother and a diabetic, discovered her fixed income didn't always pay for groceries.

"I had medication last month that cost me $100. Now you can imagine what that did to my budget. It destroyed it," Gispan said.

She turned to Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City for help. Not only did she find groceries for herself and the three relatives living with her, but she found kosher items on the pantry shelves.

"I need to have food, but the availability of kosher food allowing me to comply with the law that I follow as a modern orthodox woman makes all the difference. It makes me feel like my soul isn't damaged," Gispan said.

The food pantry in the Jewish Family Services Community Center in Overland Park, KS, is the only one of its kind in the metro. It provides both free kosher and non-kosher items and a person doesn't have to be Jewish to utilize it said director and CEO Don Goldman.

"We come from the Jewish community, but are goal is to serve everyone we can," Goldman said.

In Johnson County, Goldman said there is a growing number of families who are food insecure.

"We're seeing a lot of people struggling, especially in this economy who have never needed assistance before," he said.

"I've always had a job doing accounting I just have never been in this position before and it's a very helpless feeling and I pray to God that I'm going to be able to return the favor someday and give back," Gispan said.

That's why volunteers like Bob Blander help.

"We're shooting for 200 families and so on, to where ever it takes us," Blander said.

Right now the pantry needs more baby items, like baby food and diapers.

Helping families like Gispan's is the purpose of the pantry and it gives her a purpose as well. She calls it Mitzvah.

"Regardless of how much or how little food I have, I always invite someone for Sabbath because there's always enough for one more. There has to be," she said.

If anyone would like to donate kosher foods, they should look for foods that are Vaad - the Committee to Preserve the Jewish Character - approved with a U circled or a K circles symbol. Those who need food assistance can call the Jewish Family Services at 913-327-8262. They also deliver groceries to residents.

To volunteer for the organization, e-mail akizer@jfskc.org or call 913-327-8257.

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