Q: How does the distribution work?
A: Volunteers arrive at the warehouse the morning of the distribution (usually around 10:00 AM) and sign in at the check-in counter. Those volunteers who did not register in advance may choose a delivery route at this time. They may then head into the warehouse to begin packing of the food boxes or grab a bite to eat in our break room. When volunteers are done packing, they pull their cars around to the loading dock to pick up their assigned food boxes.
Q: What’s the time commitment?
A: You can volunteer as much or as little as you like, depending on your time constraint.  Box packing runs from 10:00 AM to about 11:30 AM. If you are an early riser and would like to help with our fresh produce packing and box making, you can arrive at the warehouse as early as 8:30 AM and begin working. Timing is flexible. Food boxes can be picked up anywhere from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM for delivery.
Q: Is this an appropriate activity for my kids?
A: Absolutely. We welcome all volunteers, from age 2 to 92 and up.
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 few packages. You can also team up with another volunteer and work together to deliver a larger route.
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 jra@jewishrelief.org or 610-660-0190, x104 as soon as possible. If it is the morning of the 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 jra@jewishrelief.org.
Q: Can I bring friends? Does it matter if they are not signed up beforehand?
A: Absolutely!  You may bring anyone who is interested in volunteering. While we would like as many people as possible to sign up beforehand (it helps us administratively), we welcome anyone who wants to help.
Q: I have a group that may be interested in coming. Who do I contact?
A: Simply call the JRA office at 610-660-0190, x104 or email jra@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. We receive some funding from the State Food Purchase Program, which is administered by SHARE. 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 and United Way, 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 do people have to do to get on the food distribution list?
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.

JRA Philly Frequently Asked Questions