The father of Amy Winehouse has been helping Jewish Care’s meals on wheels service as it prepares to continue to help those in need across Essex celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

Thanks to an army of volunteers, the charity has provided more than 16,500 meals to older and vulnerable people at home across the county since lockdown again.

In the run up to this weekend’s Jewish New Year, volunteers will deliver the meals along with traditional treats to mark Rosh Hashanah, such as honey, apple and honey cakes.

Jewish Care Community Centre members will also receive parcels of honey for New Year when it is traditional to enjoy these treats and ask for a year full of sweetness, goodness and kindness.

Mitch Winehouse, whose daughter recorded hits including Rehab and Back to Black prior to her death in 2011, has been volunteering for Jewish Care.

He said: “I’ve been delivering Meals on Wheels since the start of lockdown most days. I love delivering as it’s a vital lifeline to the elderly and vulnerable in our area. It’s great to build up a rapport with these lovely people.”

Betty Pam, one of the clients Mitch delivers to, said: “The meals are everything to me. I can easily pop the meal into the oven and enjoy a nutritious meal. I look forward to my delivery."

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Simone Silver delivering to Sheila Penfold

Simone Silver, who is a student and graduated through Jewish Care’s youth leadership programme, has also been volunteering since the start of lockdown.

She said: “I am happy to be helping out before university starts. I love having a chat to the clients and checking on them.”

She has been delivering meals to Sheila Penfield, who said: “The meals are truly a lifesaver. I don’t know what I would do without them. With all my heart, I thank Jewish Care for everything".

Jewish Care has been supporting care home residents, community centre members and supportive communities clients, to prepare and look forward to celebrating the High Holy Days, enabling them to connect with their Judaism and the wider community, physically, spiritually and digitally.

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Jewish Care chefs preparing honey cakes to send out to the community

Jewish Care’s spiritual and pastoral lead Rabbi Junik said: “Rosh Hashanah is a new beginning for us and also gives us a chance to reflect. For many, it’s a time to spend in prayer as we ask for health and that this should be a sweeter, better year for us.

“Whilst we can’t blow the shofar in the homes this year, there will be a film available for all to see on the Jewish Care website to prepare for the new year.

“For many people living in our care homes, especially those living with dementia, hearing the sound of the Shofar blast is the most significant sign that Rosh Hashanah is here.

“We know that the sounds and tastes of the festivals are sensory reminders help to connect people with their Jewish life.

“Tasting apple and honey and honey cake again also helps us to observe our traditions and trigger very happy memories of Rosh Hashanah’s gone by with our families.”