Under normal circumstances, at this time of year we would be running around putting together creative Passover menus and looking for the hottest new flourless dessert recipe. But these aren’t normal circumstances.

With the tip of the COVID-19 iceberg just beginning to reveal itself, a lot of us don’t even know what the next few days will look like, let alone Passover. Will we be able to travel to see family? Will kids be home from school for weeks? Will there even be basic supplies in the stores?

As Jews, we’re known to turn to food during trying times, and coronavirus times are no different.

Here are some ways to load up on nourishment these days:

Cook at home.
Feeling anxious? Peeling and chopping can be pretty cathartic, and there’s nothing quite as comforting as the aroma of homemade bread or cookies or the sound of soup bubbling away on the stove. (There’s a reason we call chicken soup Jewish penicillin…) Cooking is a great way to pass time (for just a few ideas, check out this post), keep homebound kids busy and transport you to faraway places when traveling is a no-go. I should know—my husband was supposed to be snowboarding in the French Alps this week; instead, we had a ski chalet-themed Shabbat dinner with friends.

What are you cooking up? Have ideas for cooking projects with kids? Share them in the comments! 

Reach out to friends and neighbors.
Check in on loved ones, especially the elderly, people who live alone and single or overburdened parents, to make sure that they’re feeling okay and taking care of themselves. Social distancing will help “flatten the curve” and prevent over-burdening our healthcare systems, but can be very lonely. Call (either phone or video), and if you’re healthy, drop off meals or order food delivery for those who are at risk or may not have the ability to care for themselves.

What are you cooking for friends and neighbors? How are you reaching out? 

Support local restaurants and shops.
Small businesses are already starting to feel the impact of cancellations and people staying home. Restaurants worth their salt are investing huge resources in sanitizing and making every effort to keep patrons safe (and ensuring, in turn, that employees can continue to feed and support their own families and that ingredients aren’t being tossed en masse). If you don’t feel comfortable eating out, order delivery, pick up takeout or buy a gift card to use later.

Share links to restaurants and stores in the comments below so that others can order delivery and/or buy gift cards, too! 

Donate to food banks and other organizations that feed people.
A lot of people have lost jobs, and many more probably will. Many children rely on schools for lunch. If you can afford to stock up, consider those who can’t and donate food or money to support fellow members of the community.

Tell us which organizations you’re supporting so we can pitch in, too. 

Order products from Israel.
Israel was one of the first countries to impose sweeping measures in response to COVID-19, and as of early March, anyone arriving in Israel from anywhere in the world must go into quarantine for 14 days. The impact on the tourism industry is already devastating. Consider ordering things like spices, tahini, halva, silan (date syrup), soap, souvenirs and other gifts from Israeli artisans.

Have more ideas of how we can support each other and our communities at this time? Share them in the comments!

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash