For Jewish Volunteer Connection’s first community-wide “Bunches of Lunches Challenge” on Monday, Apr. 27, approximately 140 volunteers made 1,877 meals to help support the needy during the coronavirus pandemic.

JVC, an agency of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, and its partner organizations asked community members to prepare and provide lunches for individuals and families who are living in poverty and in shelters, as well for seven organizations who help the needy around the Baltimore metropolitan area.

The bagged meals were donated to the Weinberg Housing & Resource Center, the Baltimore Rescue Mission and Manna House, among others.

The “Bunches of Lunches Challenge” began as a partnership between JVC and Krieger Schechter Day School, with families assembling bagged meals to be donated to local shelters and organizations.

More than 1,800 lunches were prepared, bagged and delivered. (Photo Facebook)

Organizers of Monday’s challenge asked volunteers to wear gloves at all times while preparing meals, and to participate only if no one in their household was feeling ill or exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19.

“This initiative comes at an important time because we know that with many people having lost jobs and other income, and with it becoming more difficult to access food as stores are chronically under-stocked, the need for food is becoming increasingly critical,” said JVC Executive Director Ashley Pressman. 

She said the program will become an ongoing JVC initiative.

“Our goal is to meet a critical need in the community and to raise awareness about food insecurity as an additional threat during this pandemic,” Pressman said. “We also want to give people a way to volunteer and help others that can be done from home while we are all abiding by the stay-at-home order.”

Pressman added, “In addition, we want to raise awareness about the additional risks that are present for low-income communities who are being hit disproportionately by this pandemic, both in terms of infections and severity of outcome. To keep people safe, we have provided strict guidance to volunteers about cleaning surfaces, and wearing gloves and masks while preparing food.”

The drop-off sites for the lunches were Beth El Congregation, 8101 Park Heights Ave. in Pikesville; the Weinberg Housing & Resource Center, 620 Fallsway in Baltimore; Manna House, 435 E. 25th St. in Baltimore; and Krieger Schechter Day School, 8100 Stevenson Rd. in Pikesville.

To register or for information, visit https://jvcbaltimore.org/bunches-of-lunches-covid-19-response/?fbclid=IwAR3jHVHB9iemBO2KJDD-5OXuIPaXtVDS2h8OqCky6xJs8JdX1zDeiObxqcY.