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Brooklyn, NY - Tables Repurposed Into Card Holders To Give The Hungry A Place At The Table

Published on: August 20, 2013 10:08 AM
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Chef Ruben Diaz preparing the tables to be carved upBrooklyn, NY - Worn out and scarred from use, the tables that fed hundreds of thousands of meals to the hungry at Masbia soup kitchen over the last eight years have been repurposed into business card holders to be given to donors as a sentimental token for feeding people in need.

Chef Ruben Diaz, who places an emphasis on not letting anything go to waste, from gathering leftover produce at farmers markets to composting and recycling, decided to take it to the next level.

With a donation from cookbook writer Susie Fishbein, Masbia was finally able to replace their old, decrepit tables and chairs just in time for the Jewish New Year. But when the time came to make the switch, the soup kitchen staff, who spend their days squeezing every last bit from their resources, saw the old tables as an opportunity to create something new and potentially profitable. Rather than just tossing the old, wooden tables, Masbia’s Chef Ruben Diaz started sawing, sanding, buffing, and painting the wood of the old tables, turning them into beautiful wooden business card holders.


Now, donors, who are the foundation of Masbia, giving so many in need a place at the table, will receive “a piece of the table” with donations of $360 or more.

“We thought the tables held sentimental value, after serving so many people all these years,” said Alexander Rapaport, Masbia’s Executive Director. “The tables actually even have a holy aspect to them, as there’s a Talmudic comparison of a table that feeds the poor to the altar in the Temple.”

“The high holiday of Rosh Hashanah is approaching closely, which is a time when we hope a lot of donations come through to Masbia,” Rapaport added. “We are entering this new year with new tables, and we hope our donors will help provide a place at the table for all of New York’s hungry.”

Masbia is a soup kitchen network launched in 2005. With a current budget of $2 million provided mainly by private donations, the soup kitchen served almost 450,000 meals during the fiscal year of 2012 to 2013. Masbia is set up like a high-end restaurant, where waiters serve nutritious farm-to-table style food to patrons at private tables with an emphasis on treating people with dignity and respect.

This year during the High Holiday season, which falls during the month of September, Masbia will hold four special holiday food distributions at each of their three sites. Every Tuesday during the month of September, Masbia will provide special holiday food packages to alleviate the extra burden that poor people feel during the holidays. Fliers in many languages will be distributed in the relevant neighborhoods notifying the public of these distributions.

Chef Ruben Diaz hand crafting the card holders

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