Project Machal, the flagship program of the JCC of Marine Park, helps families with their most basic physical need, food, while preserving their most basic emotional need — their dignity.
Whether they are employed or unemployed, many members of our community simply cannot make ends meet in today’s economy. While they focus first on paying their mortgage or electric bills, often food is the item they forgo the most. Although numerous organizations distribute food packages on a weekly basis, many members of the community would rather suffer in silence than receive a food package at their door. Others simply need items that the food packages do not contain, like diapers or formula for their children.
As a result, the JCC of Marine Park created Project Machal, an innovative program in which families who cannot afford groceries receive a weekly credit towards purchases at their local grocery store. Families who wish to receive Project Machal contact one of the 14 local Rabbanim who certifies their eligibility, and sets up the account with one of the local grocery stores using only their phone number (not their name). Each week, $50 is credited to their account and they can prioritize their shopping lists and buy what their family needs most.
The program takes every measure to protect the recipients’ privacy. Only the recipient and their Rav are aware of their participation in the program. Neither the grocery stores, nor any volunteers of the JCCMP or Project Machal know who the recipients are. Every six months, each family in the program must be recertified by their Rav who will assess individual circumstances.
Project Machal gives close to $100,000 each year to families in need. Funding for the program is received from generous donors who allow their credit cards to be charged a minimum of $5 weekly. It takes ten people giving $5 a week to help one family. For less than a $1 a day, one can make the difference in providing a family with the basic foods they need. For less than $1 a day, a family can remain intact until they are able to become self-sufficient.
To learn more about Project Machal or to contribute to families in need, please contact Project Machal at 718-407-1832 or at www.projectmachal.org.