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New York apple donation to help 1,000 families celebrate Passover

New York apple growers are helping to ensure that 1,000 local families facing hunger have apples to make charoset for Passover Seder this year.

Growers of the New York Apple Association, Inc. donated 4,000 pounds of apples for distribution through Masbia, a New York-based nonprofit kosher soup kitchen and food pantry. Masbia staff picked up the apples from D'Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc. at the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx. Staff and volunteers then parceled the applesnyaamasbiadonation pic3Students from Rockaway Collegiate High School, volunteering with New York Cares, parcel donated New York state apples into family packages. (Photo courtesy of Masbia) with other charoset ingredients into take-home kits at Masbia's central kitchen on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn.

The apples are being provided to Masbia clients to make charoset, a traditional food served during Seder, the evening ritual that observes the beginning of Passover. Charoset is a paste made of sweetened fruits, nuts and spices. Symbolically, it represents the mud that the ancient Israelites used to make bricks while enslaved in Egypt.

"New York's apple growers are honored that our fruits are going to be part of such a hallowed celebration in all these local homes," NYAA President Jim Allen said in a press release. "So many of these families are still suffering after Hurricane Sandy, we are glad to help them out in this small way."

Donating New York apples to relief operations is not new for NYAA. Immediately following Hurricane Sandy, NYAA donated over 70,000 pounds of fresh apples to Feeding America, which provided food to storm victims. Mr. Allen noted that the association considers such donations as a way to convey thanks and give back to the community that purchases homegrown New York apples throughout the year.

"Fresh apples and nuts might sound like basic food to many of us, but for people on a tight budget these items are considered a luxury," Masbia Executive Director Alexander Rapaport added in the press release. "With this donation to our Charoset Drive, a mother will be able to nourish her child with fresh fruit and a protein-filled snack through the eight days of Passover."

In all, Masbia hopes to give 1,000 families charoset ingredients totaling 20 pounds of apples, 10 pounds of nuts and eight bottles of grape juice. The Charoset Drive follows on Masbia's recent work to serve more than 20,000 meals to Hurricane Sandy victims. Masbia rushed to reopen its own doors after the storm in response to local officials' pleas to aid evacuated seniors, many with special dietary needs.