Degel Menashe Food Relief Campaign Continues
(August 27) As rigorous Covid19 lockdown restrictions in Manipur and Mizoram have been relaxed only slightly despite a significant decrease in daily cases of the illness in late August, Degel Menashe has launched a new round of food relief this week for the B’nei Menashe communities of both states. The food comes just in time for Rosh Hashana and Sukkot.
Our correspondent in Manipur writes:
“There has been great anticipation of the aid arriving right before the High Holidays. There couldn’t have been a better time for it. Moreover, compared with Degel Menashe’s previous food campaign in Manipur in the summer of the 2020, the aid money will go further this time. Then, the market was in chaos, with prices of essentials shooting up in the panic that followed the first lockdown, and the blackmarketeers were having a field day and overcharging for everything. Now, the government has taken measures to control prices and we expect the cost of rice, our daily staple, to drop by as much as a third.”
The food relief campaign in Manipur will be administered by the B’nei Menashe Council, whose executive board met recently to plan the operation. As opposed to last year, when food was distributed at central depots, generally local synagogues, a voucher system will be used. Local suppliers, our correspondent reports, will be designated in each area, and families will pick up their allotments from them directly and have their purchases charged to the BMC. A BMC team will make the rounds of the suppliers to make sure the system is functioning smoothly.
In Mizoram, where a similar system was employed earlier this summer, it is being resorted to again. This time, our Mizoram correspondent writes, a greater effort has been made to expand the operation beyond the capital of Aizawl, located in the north-central part of the state, where most of its B’nei Menashe reside. Food aid will be available as far south as the town of Pukpui in the Lunglei district, whose B’nei Menashe community has been isolated from such campaigns in the past.
“It’s hard for me to express my feelings,” Pukpui resident Merabi Khupchawng told our correspondent. “This is the first time that we’re receiving any outside attention or assistance from anyone.” To which her fellow townsman, Benjamin Fanai, added: “May the aid organized by Degel Menashe for Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot be to the eternal merit of all those who are making it possible. May we all be sealed in the Book of Life!”