Updates, Video, Photos: Health Department Shuts Down Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood Warehouse in Middle of Pesach Distribution


tomchei-shutdown[Updates, Video and Photo links below/Link below to assist Tomchei Shabbos.] The Monmouth County Health Department shut down the main warehouse of Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood this afternoon, in the middle of the busiest time of the year for the organization – its Pesach distribution. The warehouse is located off of Squankum Road and Randolph Road in Howell Township, right out of Lakewood. The officials who shut down the warehouse claimed that the location is not approved to be used as a food distribution center, but at the same time admitted that they were aware of the warehouse for the past three years. This has left the askanim of Tomchei Shabbos bewildered as to why the Health Department chose today – the busiest day of the year for the organization – to close down the warehouse. The Health Department contacted the Howell Police Department to carry out the shutdown.

The officials confiscated about $10,000 worth of food – including eggs and apples – until their investigation is completed. That food, even if eventually returned, will unfortunately not be included in this year’s Pesach distribution.

Local askanim, including Committeemen Reb Meir Lichtenstein and Reb Menashe Miller, as well as Rabbi Aaron Kotler, CEO of Beth Medrash Govoha, assisted in arranging for the Health Department to allow Tomchei Shabbos to transfer the hundreds of boxes of food at the warehouse to a different location. Committeemen Lichteinstein and Miller were joined by Rabbi Yisroel Schenkolewski at the scene.

Howell, where the warehouse is located, is in Monmouth County, while Lakewood is in Ocean County.

Tomchei Shabbos was halfway through their distribution when the warehouse was shut down. About 250 cases of chicken, 250 cases of meat, over 200 cases of potatoes and boxes upon boxes of other foodstuffs have been moved from the location.

Rabbi Yonoson Sanders of Bais Tova Elementary School in Lakewood was gracious enough to allow for all the boxes of food to be moved to the parking lot of his school campus off of Oak Street.

In this year’s Kimcha D’Pischa campaign of Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood, over 400 families were to be receiving a delivery of 16-18 cases of food, including chicken, meat, wine, fish, fruits, vegetables, paper goods, and 20-25 pounds of shemurah matzoh.

In an amazing display of chesed, tens of volunteers arrived at the Tomchei Shabbos warehouse to assist in transferring the boxes of food. Trucks were quickly rented and the volunteers – bochurim and yungeleit – got to work loading the pallets of boxes onto the trucks.

Transferring the food alone has cost Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood approximately $10,000.

At the scene today was Rav Yehuda Moshe Slomiuc, founder of Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood, as well as other members of Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood, including Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Trainer, the Director of Development; Rabbi Yossi Schreiber and Reb Binyomin Svarc, who negotiated with the officials; and Reb Yossi Hirsch and Rebbi Yossi Newhouse, who coordinated and directed the complex transfer of the food to Bais Tova.

Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood’s budget is now well over $2 million, yet the organization never turns anyone away.  Tomchei Shabbos askanim work with many suppliers to get the best deal on the foods purchased.

The Kimcha D’Pischa campaign of Tomchei Shabbos involves literally tens of thousands of cases of food. The preparations began several weeks ago with cases of food arriving and a slew of volunteers organizing and arranging the orders to facilitate a smooth distribution. The distributing of the food is an all-day affair – and will now be even longer because of today’s events.

The Kimcha D’Pischa campaign in Lakewood – for one day of Pesach deliveries – costs a whopping $400,000, which has to be raised by the Tomchei Shabbos volunteers.

 Update, 8:15 p.m.: Rabbi Yossi Schreiber of Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood has informed us that the transfer of food has been completed.

 Update: 10:30 p.m. After reevaluating what occurred and additional negotiations, Tomchei Shabbos has stated that the cost of the confiscated food is approximately $3,000, less than what was originally thought.

 The total value of the food that was transferred, we were told, is $400,000.

 “We thank Rabbi and Mrs. Sanders of Bais Tovah for allowing the use of their campus,” said Rabbi Schreiber, “and we are amazed by the hundreds of volunteers who came today to help.”

Literally hundreds of volunteers arrived at the Tomchei Shabbos warehouse over the course of several hours to assist in the transferring of food, to shuttle bochurim between the warehouse and Bais Tovah, and to do whatever they could to help.

 “We saw today what is so special about this town of Lakewood,” said one volunteer at the scene. “There was such unity, such achdus, as everyone worked together to make sure that the distribution could resume as soon as possible.”

And resume it did. Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Trainer related that once the food had been transferred, the operation was up and running and the Pesach deliveries and pickups were being made.

A crisis that could have resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars was averted due to the efforts of the special Tomchei Shabbos volunteers, the dedication of local askanim, and the care and selflessness of numerous Lakewood residents.

 For photos of today’s activities, click here.

To contribute to Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood and to assist in covering the costs of today’s transfer and the mosad‘s general budget, click here. Contributions can also be sent to Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood, 212 2nd Street #403, Lakewood, N.J. 08701.

{Source: Yated Ne’eman}


  1. As usual, Matzav gives us the whole story! rumors were flying around. someone said that they made Tomchei shabbos throw out all the food. boruch hashem that they let them transfer it.
    and shkoyach to rabbi sanders for letting them use Bais Tova.

  2. i was there. it was unblievable. Mi ke’amcha Yisroel. What an organization! What chesed in this wonderful town of Lakewood. Ashreichem!

  3. why didn’t tomchei shabbos first check if it was permitted to opperate a distribution center??If they didn’t why blame the Health Dept. or the cops?????

  4. I’m not certain the heroic Howell police officer is an anti-semite, though it was a little disconcerting hearing him scream “RAUS JUDEN,RAUS-SHNELL!!!”

  5. Howell at its best. All over NY and NJ food is given out for pesach only in howell do they feel the need to inspect the food that was delivered today to ensure freshness.

  6. it should be an embarrasing headline of how the Howell police shut down a food bank for needy people, let them feel embarresed and shamed for what they did!!
    Enough covering up and protecting from our local askanim and poloticians its time for accountability same goes for the lakewood police force there were instances recently of police abuse and not a word no public outcry!
    and worse the cops know they can get away because these askanim tell them they are representing our interests and threy feel they can do no harm and always protected!!!
    its time for these politicians to be held accountable whats it going to take for the police department to be accountable for tjeir actions???