Herman Berman - Bagel Brigade's Founder 

The B’nai B’rith Bagel Brigade was started by the late Herman Berman in 1993.  Keenly aware of and sensitive to the increasing number of hungry seniors, disabled persons and children trying to make it through the day at school or home with empty stomachs, Herman approached several local supermarkets in the San Fernando Valley about setting up baskets at the checkout stands where patrons could donate non-perishable items.  Herman was able to convince his B’nai B’rith lodge to sponsor the effort. Two days later he returned; the results were beyond expectation.  The baskets were full and additional baskets were needed!

Wearing his B'nai B'rith volunteer badge, Herman stopped at a local bagel shop one morning to buy a bagel for his wife, Annie.  The manager asked about his badge.  He explained, and then asked what the shop did with "leftover" bagels at the end of the day.  When he realized the bagels would be tossed in the trash, Herman had a “better idea.”. Thus was born the B’nai B’rith Bagel Brigade. 

Herman’s efforts did not stop with bagel stores. He convinced bakeries and supermarkets to donate breads, bagels and pastries.  He easily found many grateful recipients very much in need of food, at shelters, senior centers and many valley schools.

As the endeavor grew, Herman's B'nai B'rith lodge, the Greater San Fernando Unit of B'nai B'rith, decided to sponsor the Bagel Brigade as a separate division run by Herman and a group of volunteers, dedicating their time to collecting and distributing food in and around the valley.

Today, the volunteer base is made up of 70 percent retirees, 20 percent working professionals and 10 percent high school and college students from Hillel chapters, as well as many others.

The B’nai B’rith Bagel Brigade meets for organization and distribution seven days a week, rain or shine.  from the Van Nuys Costco parking lot, on Sepulveda Blvd, from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

Herman Berman passed away in November 2010, but his dedication and memory lives on in his volunteers, as well as the scores of people whose stomachs were filled because of his tireless labors of love.

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