Arizona Kosher Pantry’s Mazon Tov on Wheels by Sergio Carmona

For the past few years, Arizonians needing food assistance have come to the Arizona Kosher Pantry in Phoenix to pick up necessary items.

AKP, which has been in operation since 2018, helps  thousands of Arizonans each month, according to The site also mentioned that  the pantry provides more than 200,000 pounds of food each year. It is stocked with donated or surplus vegetables, fruits, canned goods, milk and kosher fish and meat. The pantry also runs a kosher kitchen that prepares meals for everyone in need.

Despite being a kosher pantry, Yecheskel Friedman – the pantry’s director – said anyone needing food assistance, both Jews and non-Jews, is welcome to come.

The pantry is also the recipient of a $40,000 grant from the Arizona Food Bank Network. As a result of the grant, AKP is bringing kosher food out to the Greater Phoenix community  with a blue food truck complete with a kitchen called Mazon Tov on Wheels. The truck provides  American favorites as well as Mexican and Chinese food.

Friedman calls the truck a “billboard on wheels,” and is using it to deliver warm, kosher food daily to  people who need it, including homeless people.

Friedman explained what the kosher food truck will mean for the pantry.

“We don’t just wait for the  people to come to us; we actually go out to the people,” he said.

Friedman continued, “There’s a difference between charity and kindness.”

“With charity, the people come to you, and with kindness, you go to the people, as there are people who can’t come to you,” he said. “They don’t have a car, or they’re homebound, or they just can’t come to us, so we come to them.”

All profits from the truck support the pantry and one of its programs, Home N’ Ess. Among the pantry’s other programs include Ezras Cholim of Arizona, which provides emergency support services to sick Jews and those who seek help, and Tomchei Shabbos of Arizona, which helps the sick and needy in difficult times to enjoy the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.

Friedman noted, “There are a lot of homeless people who come here to the pantry, and we provide them with warm meals and they are very happy for that.”

“We also provide meals for people who are disabled  or sick  because they have no use for raw materials because they can’t cook it, so we cook it for them according to their needs, and we deliver it to them. We deliver all over the state of Arizona.”

Friedman said the people who come to the pantry have different kinds of struggles.

“It used to be mostly poor people who came as well as people who are disabled, but now there are people who have regular jobs who come because the cost of food is so expensive that they just can’t afford the food. We give out milk, eggs, cereal, water, fruits and vegetables and groceries, all for free,” he continued.

A beneficiary of the pantry named Leah, who did not want to reveal her last name, commended Friedman for the pantry and the food truck.

“This is his passion,” she said. “He’s always thinking of new ideas, and he’s always thinking of how he could do more. That’s what kind of person he is. This is his whole life. This is who he is.”

Leah said she has tremendous gratitude toward the pantry.

“They are caring and nice,” she said.  “While you’re struggling through a certain situation,  there’s a certain comfort to  know that you’re getting food, especially when they’re ready-made meals from the pantry. You don’t have to stress out about food.”

The pantry is located at 7118 N 7th St. in Phoenix. Visit, call 602-492-4989 or email [email protected] for more information.

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