Q: Is it safe to volunteer? 

A: In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented a number of safety measures to reduce the risk to both our recipients and our volunteers. Please refer to the homepage for safety information. If you have further questions about safety, please email jra@jewishrelief.org

Q: How does the distribution work?
A: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have modified our monthly Food Distribution program and schedule. Please refer to the homepage or the Food Distribution page for information regarding volunteering. Volunteers who are interested in delivering to recipients should read the safety information and choose a route or delivery area through our online RSVP form. All interested volunteers MUST receive confirmation from a JRA staff member either via email or phone prior to arriving at the warehouse.
Q: What’s the time commitment?
A: You can volunteer as much or as little as you like, depending on your time constraint.  Depending on the route you choose, delivery time can differ, but the average delivery time is about 1 hour.

Q: What if I decide to volunteer last minute?

A: Routes can become available at any time. Please call the warehouse (610 - 660 - 0190 ext. 106) during the posted schedule to ask about available routes. 

Q: Do I have to deliver my route as soon as I leave the JRA warehouse? 

A: You can pick-up your route during the times outlined on the Food Distributions page and deliver at a later time. We ask that you deliver to recipient homes while it is light outside. If you must deliver route during a date that is not outline on our pick-up schedule, please relay that information to a JRA staff member via phone or at volunteering@jewishrelief.org
Q: Where are the deliveries made?
A: Deliveries are made throughout the entire greater Philadelphia area.  We will work with you to find a delivery route that best meets your needs, availability, and size of your vehicle.
Q: I am not familiar with the area. Can I still deliver?
A: Yes, we provide a map with driving directions to enable volunteers to deliver packages throughout our delivery area.
Q: I have a very small car. Can I still deliver?
A: Yes, some of our delivery routes contain only a few packages.
Q: What do I do if I already signed up for a distribution and I can’t make it?
A: If you are unable to come to a distribution that you have already signed up for and were planning to deliver a route, please contact us at volunteering@jewishrelief.org or 610-660-0190 as soon as possible. If it is during the week of the scheduled distribution and you are unable to come, please call the warehouse and let us know so that we can release your route to another volunteer. The warehouse phone number is 610-660-0190, x106 or 215-281-1101. You may also send an email to volunteering@jewishrelief.org.


Q: Where does the food come from?
A: JRA obtains food through a variety of sources. Most of the food is purchased through wholesalers and distributors, as well as our local food banks. We receive some funding from the State Food Purchase Program. JRA also receives periodic food donations from manufacturers and local grocery stores. JRA funds food purchases through grants from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, along with contributions from foundations, businesses and individuals.
Q: Can I donate food to JRA?
A:  JRA encourages anyone who is interested in running a food drive to select a single food item, such as canned tuna, and ask participants to donate only that item. JRA does not generally accept mixed food donations in small quantities, such as items collected through school and community food drives. All donated items must be kosher. For a list of acceptable kosher certifications and items, contact Julie at julie@jewishrelief.org or 610-660-0190, x102.
Q: Are there specific kashrut requirements for the food distributed by JRA?
A: Yes, JRA requires that all food meet strict guidelines. For a list of acceptable kashrut certifications, please contact Julie at 610-660-0190, ext 102 or julie@jewishrelief.org.


Q: What is food insecurity?

A: ​The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. It is important to know that although hunger and food insecurity are closely related, they are distinct concepts. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the household level. ( Feeding America). 

Q: How do individuals and/or families become JRA recipients?
A: A person in need of food assistance can call our recipient phone line at 610-660-0190, x103 (for help in Russian, dial extension 107) and leave their name, address, and phone number. Someone from the agency will call the person back within 72 hours. Prospective recipient must reside in the JRA delivery area. Please note that we are unable to provide emergency assistance, but have resources available on our Get Help page.

JRA Frequently Asked Questions