Posted by Bernice Behar

One of the most innovative developments at Family Table in the past year has been the growth of the Family Table "Marketplace." The Marketplace offers clients the opportunity to pack their own groceries, choosing products as they wish. Our clients tell us how much they appreciate the opportunity to make their own choices of item, brand, and hechsher. Imagine this scene:

The sun is setting and Family Table Marketplace is winding down after a busy afternoon. As she does each month, Susan* arrives and begins working her way around the room. She works deliberately, examining each label and consulting on the phone before she adds each item to her bag. I approach her to inquire if there are special things that she is looking for. Susan explains that she's shopping for her mother, who has diabetes, and that she must be very careful about her choices. Knowing that, we work together to find exactly what she wants. As she leaves with bags of fresh produce and a new recipe to try, Susan squeezes my hand and tells me how much it means to her and her mother that she can choose exactly what she needs.

At Family Table Marketplace, every family brings their own "story." It is gratifying to know that with the Marketplace we have a new way to meet the unique needs of everyone who comes through our door.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Bernice Behar is the Program Manager for Family Table, the largest kosher food pantry serving Greater Boston and the North Shore. She joined JF&CS in 2010 having spent many years working in the financial industry as a chartered financial analyst and investment manager. Bernice brings to Family Table a passion for helping people access nutritious food and a dedication to working in the Jewish community. She is an active board member at her synagogue and holds a BA from the University of California Berkeley.