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Petaluma's Inclusive Center for Jewish Life

Petaluma Food Pantry

B'nai Israel participates as part of an interfaith network in Petaluma that volunteers at the Petaluma Food Pantry. Each week, a different church or synagogue takes responsibility for setup, distribution and cleanup of food items that are delivered to the church. B'nai Israel takes the fourth Thursday of each month. We gather at 4:30 p.m. at Elim Lutheran Church, located at 504 Baker St., to set up the tables and place the food to be distributed. The doors open at 5:30 pm.

We usually have between 35 and 70 people who line up to take food items, which they take home to cook. We give out lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, canned goods and bread. People who come for food are Petaluma residents from all walks of life. Often they come with their children.

The total time commitment is one voluntary hour per month. It is a pleasure to participate in this act of kindness and the recipients are very grateful for what is given.

Join Us!

We are a small group of volunteers, and we really need your help!

Please consider coming to volunteer with us. You do not have to lift anything heavy. It is a small amount of time for a huge reward and it costs you nothing.

If you have any questions about volunteering, please contact Lani at


We gratefully accept monetary donations. The B'nai Israel Jewish Center's participation in the Food Pantry depends on community support. We purchase food from Redwood Food Bank every month to give those who pass through the food line. We also provide a hot meal before the pantry on those nights.

A $10 monthly donation ($120 a year) would go a long way to assist our efforts. If that is too much, we will be happy to accept any amount you can spare. The happy faces of our customers make this all worth while. Checks can be made out to BIJC and marked "food pantry" in the memo line. Click here to donate online. Thank you in advance.

A Message from Ilene Mattison-Shupnick
For the past five years, I have managed the BIJC portion of the Westside Food Pantry. Last year I asked Chata Barajas to become the onsite manager and I stepped back into the role of offsite manager. Four years ago, I heard from a member of the Islamic Center of Petaluma that they were trying to be more visible in the community. So I approached them about partnering with us for the 4th Thursday pantries. They accepted and our partnership began. They have been active members of our team every month when it is our pantry night. They never hesitated to lend a hand when asked. Our two communities have worked beautifully together and I have said countless times that I wish we could send that out into the world as a model.

Now, the Islamic Center must step back as our formal partner. Their community is very small and many of their congregants are elderly and unable to be at the pantries to help. A few people from there will continue to work as individual volunteers.

I would like to recognize the Islamic Center of Petaluma and to say thank you for your partnership for the past four years. I honor you for your participation with us.

I have made the decision to step down as the offsite manager because I will be doing the distance learning instruction for our three Petaluma grandkids, Jaxson, Alaska and Zoey. Lani Slonim has graciously accepted the job. Lani is already bringing new energy to her new role. Lani and her husband, Martin, are new members of BIJC and already jumping in. A hearty thank you to Lani!

Wed, December 2 2020 16 Kislev 5781