Jewish agencies delivering thousands of Passover food boxes to Canada’s needy amid rising inflation

Passover food boxes
Volunteers load Passover food boxes for delivery to needy Toronto residents at the 40th annual National Council of Jewish Women of Canada Toronto branch's Passover food drive on Sunday March 26, 2023. (Ellin Bessner photo)

Jewish social services agencies across the country say their Passover food boxes are going out to more needy clients this holiday season than ever before—and they’re pointing a finger at inflation. From Ottawa to Toronto to Calgary and beyond, volunteers are seeing significant increases in demand over last year.

On March 26, the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada’s Toronto branch marked the 40th anniversary of its annual Passover food drive by delivering 3,000 food hampers. That’s in contrast to 2,300 last year—a 30 percent spike. In Ottawa, the kosher food bank began assembling Passover boxes, also on Sunday, at Kehillat Beth Israel synagogue for 131 clients—another increase over the 124 people who received boxes in 2022.

And in Calgary, the increase was 35 percent this year, preparing 74 boxes to families in need versus 55 last year. Officials there say it’s due to an influx of Ukrainian refugees, increased rents and high unemployment in the Western city.

On today’s The CJN Daily, we visit the massive packing operation with organizers Shelly Feldman and Gail Crystal from the Toronto National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, and we also speak to Linda Schwartz Prizant from the Ottawa Kosher Food Bank, with a front-line report.

What we talked about

  • Read our story about the need rising by 20 per cent last year in The CJN
  • Hear volunteers packing at the UJA Global Seder event in Toronto in 2022 on The CJN Daily
  • Why is Kosher for Passover Coca Cola different? Read about it in The CJN


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.