The Mission of Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago is to provide meaningful opportunities, through the delivery of food and other necessities, to help those in need celebrate Jewish life with dignity and joy.Since 1908, the Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago has enabled thousands of Jewish needy people to experience the Passover holiday in a traditional and dignified manner, and more recently Rosh Hashanah.In the beginnning-Rabbis used to set up tables in front of the Synagogues about two weeks before Passover and distribute money to the needy to help. Chicago’s Jewish poor would then use this money to buy matzohs and prepare for the holiday.
Food was purchased wholesale, thereby allowing the money to go rather and serve more people. Food boxes began to be packed according to the number of family members rather than by name. Deliveries began to increase from 150- 400 families.
Economic condition and increases in the elderly population and the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union caused the number of recipient families to dramatically increase in the early 1980’s.By 1994—3500 packages were being delivered for Pesach.
Maot Chitim was given a grant to include Rosh Hashanah deliveries to 1/3 of our recipients. At that time, we delivered Passover Food to approximately 4,800 families. The increasing need continued with families needing food for both holidays.
We expanded our Rosh Hashanah deliveries to include the same number of recipients for both holidays. We also support the Chabads and Hillels throughout the state, residents of shelter houses, halfway houses, and institutions, and provide bulk shipments of food to food pantries for the needy.
We now provide enough food each holiday to meet the needs of over 16,000 individuals for both Passover and Rosh Hashanah. We do so with the help of over 1,500 volunteers who work to pack and deliver boxes.