Alphabetical Food Drive

Congregation re-envisioned its food drive by requesting non-perishables by assigned first letter.

Community Contact Information: 
Beth Tikvah 
Worthington, OH 


  • Engage the congregation in actively combating local hunger.
  • Provide a variety of canned goods to local food banks.
  • Think creatively – turn a typical food drive into a new experience.


High Holidays are often the time of congregation-wide food drives. To “spice up” this tzedakah project, congregants were encouraged to contribute to this food drive by bringing non-perishables (pasta, rice, canned vegetables and fruit, tuna, juice, baby food, soup, etc.) according to the first letter of their last name.


Members of the social action committee contacted local grocers to get brown paper bags donated. They also designed a sheet of paper where congregants could fill out their family name and list the items they provided. They stapled a copy of this sheet to each bag.

Project Implementation:

Members of the social action committee stood at the synagogue’s main entrances before Rosh Hashanah morning services, handing out brown bags to entering congregants. During announcements at each high holy day service, a member of the social action committee announced the project and gave examples using their own names (for example, the Goldman family could give Goldfish crackers, Green beans, Ginger snaps, Garbanzo beans, and Gemelli pasta) Congregants were encouraged to not only provide foods which fit alphabetically, but which could also work together as a tasty and filling meal. Congregants brought the bags home with them and filled them with appropriate canned goods and non-perishables, bringing the full bags to the synagogue with them on Yom Kippur. Volunteers helped transport goods after Yom Kippur morning services.


Congregants provided many bags of food to the local food banks. Families who received these bags, in many cases, received new and interesting ingredients for creating full, tasty, nutritious meals.