December 18, 2014 · 26 Kislev

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Program Ideas for Congregations and Youth

Visit the RAC's Social Action Program Bank Hunger Page for a list of dozens of congregation, youth group and religious school programs related to hunger. Or, check out some of these great ideas:

  • Temple Shalom, Succasunna, NJ creates a "Can-Struction" display prior to Rosh Hashanah using donated food. Sculptures in the past have included a house, an airplane flying Ethiopian Jews to Israel and Noah's Ark, which creates wonderful memories and increases participation.

  • Woodlands Community Temple, White Plains, NY attaches a shopping wish list from a local food pantry to a brown sandwich-size bag, symbolic of the larger bag that people will fill. This ensures the food pantry will receive food that it specifically needs. The goal is to address the specific needs of the community and encourage congregants to be more mindful of expiration dates.

  • Temple Sinai, Roslyn Heights, NY runs “Coupon Clip” to help the hungry and homeless. Congregants save the manufacturing coupons that they are not using and bring them to the synagogue office for collection. The synagogue then donates the coupons to an agency that purchases food for the needy. This program can run throughout the year.

  • Temple Sholom, Chicago, IL participates in the "Cans for Kiev" project organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Chicago that assists many of the 100,000 Jews in Kiev, Ukraine who are in dire need of food. The collection includes non-perishable food (including powdered milk and baby formula). The JCRC picks up, sorts and sends donations to Kiev.

  • Temple Beth Ami, Rockville, MD delivers pre-packaged baskets of Rosh HaShanah goodies (honey cake, apples, jar of honey, challah) to needy Jewish families in the local area using a list of families provided by the local Jewish social service agency.

  • Congregation Beth Tikvah, Worthington, OH holds an Alphabetical Food Drive. Congregants are encouraged to contribute non-perishable food items that match the first letter of their last name.

  • MAZON’s The Corners of Our Fields campaign raises money for MAZON’s work and collects food for local charities. MAZON provides synagogues with a camera-ready ad for placement in a synagogue bulletin, sermon notes and “The Corners of Our Fields” contribution envelopes, which can be stapled to grocery bags distributed to congregants or placed on sanctuary seats . Materials are available as downloads two months prior to the High Holidays.

  • Hold a Hunger Banquet during the Ten Days of Repentance, which is a combination fundraiser and consciousness-raiser. Guests buy tickets to attend the program. Attendees are divided randomly into groups representing high, middle and low-income countries. The participants eat a meal based on the income bracket of their assigned country. After the meal and educational component, the participants are encouraged to make donations to organizations combating hunger. Oxfam America’s Hunger Banquet publishes materials to help run the event.

  • Participate in The Great American Bake Sale presented by PARADE Magazine and Share Our Strength. This program looks to end childhood hunger in America by encouraging individuals and groups to host a bake sale in their community. All funds raised are donated to Share Our Strength, which grants to innovative nonprofits fighting childhood hunger in the United States.

  • Host Operation Frontline, promotes a long-term solution to hunger by providing low income parents with the cooking, nutrition and food budgeting skills needed to make healthy and economical food choices. The Share Our Strength program unites chefs, nutritionists, and other community leaders to volunteer and teach classes in their communities.

  • Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger is a global education initiative to encourage teachers and young people to become actively involved in helping create a world free from hunger and malnutrition. Launched on World Food Day 2000, Feeding Minds is spearheaded by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the U.S. National Committee for World Food Day. Additional information and lesson plans are available online.

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