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Kosher Slaughterhouse-Letter

Maria Matzir and Amival Toj leave the local food bank after picking up food and school supplies, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008, in Postville, Iowa. A May 12, 2008 raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at Agriprocessors, the world's largest kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, was the largest immigration raid in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Maria Matzir and Amival Toj leave the local food bank after picking up food and school supplies, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008, in Postville, Iowa. A May 12, 2008 raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at Agriprocessors, the world's largest kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, was the largest immigration raid in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Representatives of 20 Iowa churches say
the immigration raid that closed a kosher slaughterhouse in
Postville has created a humanitarian crisis.

They've sent a letter urging the state's political leaders to offer government help.

The churches say volunteers have assisted hundreds of workers and their families affected by problems at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant, where nearly 400 workers were arrested in an immigration raid May 12. Financial problems recently forced the company to close the plant.

The churches say there now are as many as 500 people "hungry, jobless and homeless."

The Reverend Paul Ouderkirk, pastor of St. Bridget's Catholic Church, says the church dispensary fed 120 people Tuesday, but the need is too great to handle without government help.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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