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Masbia Soup Kitchens Come To Aid Of Needy Families Marking Rosh Hashanah

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- Rosh Hashanah began at sundown -- marking the start of the Jewish High Holy Days.

The ten-day period of reflection is traditionally a time to review the mistakes of the past year and resolve to make improvements in the next.

CBS 2's Cindy Hsu headed to to Brooklyn on Wednesday, where the economy has some turning for help.

The Masbia Soup Kitchen in Flatbush is buzzing as families who have hit hard times pick up free holiday groceries.

"I'm jobless, I'm on unemployment right now looking for a job and it's very hard for me right now raising my children," Agnes Gruenbaum told Hsu.

Gruenbaum is divorced with 6 children and says the food she and countless other families receive at the soup kitchen keeps them going.

There are 4 Masbia Soup Kitchens in Queens and Brooklyn and the need is skyrocketing. Already this year, they have served more than 200,000 meals -- that's 300 percent more than last year.

Back in the kitchen, holiday meals were being prepared with traditional food such as carrots and pomegranates that symbolize abundance. High school students made up goody bags with honey, candles and cards from the heart.

"A lot of people who come here are like single moms so they wanted them to get a real, cozy holiday feeling, so they personalize Shana Tova cards -- happy New Year cards," said Alexander Rapaport, of the soup kitchen.

You'll find volunteers everywhere, like Laila Mashiachi, who is just 11 years old.

"So many people are out there struggling, I just feel like they really need it so I'm trying to help," she said.

Joyce Wexler volunteers 4 times a week and says everyone is welcome.

"I see all nationalities, all ages, elderly, young," she said.

Wexler said that she "tries to do good and it comes back to you and that's what we all want to do."

While all volunteers give from the heart, their hope is that the hard times will turnaround and their services won't be needed.

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