WELCOME TO THIS WEEK'S MISSION MONDAY!
SHARE Detroit is happy to provide our community with the chance to learn more about Yad Ezra, an organization with a compelling mission. We are honored to have Yad Ezra on our platform. In Hebrew the words “Yad Ezra” means “helping hand” and since opening its doors in 1990, they have stayed true to their name and become a valued resource in the Jewish Community.
Yad Ezra began with a mission of providing supplemental kosher groceries to low-income Jewish families in the metro Detroit area. Their client families vary from unemployed and underemployed individuals to elderly people, single parents, new Americans and those in emergency situations.
In the early years, Yad Ezra provided non-perishable food which lasted 7-10 days to families once a month. As awareness of Yad Ezra grew and they were able to expand their reach and provide a larger amount of food to even more families. Over time, their mission expanded to include distribution of groceries enabling families to celebrate the Jewish and non-Jewish holidays, and creation of the Simcha Fund, which provides mini grants to help cover food related costs to client families celebrating life cycle events. A Lunch Assistance Program was developed to help pay for school lunches for day school students whose families were on tuition assistance and the Healthy Snack Program provides children of client families with their own bag of snacks. YE also provides and emergency support for Chanukah gifts, healthcare/hygiene items and other necessities to its families.
In 2016, Yad Ezra opened their Giving Gardens which now allows the organization to grow and harvest thousands of pounds of healthy produce each year. They also established the “Giving Gardens Club” which provides the opportunity for clients, volunteers, neighbors and donors to learn how to grow and harvest produce. By being a member of the Club, members have access to a tool sharing program, free seeds and plants, and education for gardeners, helping with guide, answer questions or concerns.
In 2020, Yad Ezra successfully adjusted their services and remained a beacon of support for their client families during the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of clients, volunteers and staff, Yad Ezra transitioned to a grocery delivery system. When the amount of produce and other groceries that are typically donated declined, YE relied on their Giving Gardens to help supplement the produce that their clients would have otherwise not received. Looking ahead, Yad Ezra hopes to return to regular operations by the end of this year and give their clients the chance to return to the “store” and shop for groceries.
Currently, Yad Ezra serves over 1,100 client families each month. No one who seeks assistance ever goes without food. Yad Ezra’s leadership prides itself in finding ways to be more than a Band-aid in the fight against food insecurity. With partnerships, advocacy, dynamic ideas, support and staying laser-focused, they remain committed to addressing the needs of those who worry about their next meal.